Monday, April 02, 2007

It Dies Today, Comeback Kid, This is Hell, & Endwell Show Review

Scheduling shows to start at 5:30 on a Monday is pretty damn stupid, but it’s what you have to do when the city of St. Paul, MN has a curfew of 9:30 pm for all the little kiddies. Maybe it isn’t that big of a deal for all of the kids who get out of school at 3:00 or whenever, but for anyone who has a day job, getting done before 5:00 is usually a rarity. Needless to say, I didn’t arrive at Station 4 before Parkway Drive had already finished playing. It would have been fun to see them play, but the bills needed to be paid, so I needed to stay at work.

Once I got into the venue, I noticed that there really weren’t all that many kids there, maybe about 100 or so tops. Considering that this venue usually ends up packed for most metalcore and hardcore shows, this was a little odd. It also didn’t help any that Endwell was the first band I saw when I got there. Talk about generi-core. These guys are young, true, but that really isn’t an excuse for being so bland. I had an impossible time counting the number of times the bassist just sat there with one hand behind his back with the other just pounding the top string of his bass. I could do that. Anyone could do that. A half-brained chimp could do that. The rest of the band was just as boring, unfortunately. There’s simply no substance to Endwell’s music and their stage presence doesn’t offset this fact at all. They need practice, lots of it, and they could also use a strong dose of talent.

Following that uninspiring performance was a rousing set by This is Hell. It was like night and day watching Endwell and This is Hell. Every member of This is Hell had phenomenal stage presence. Even fighting a cold, lead singer Travis Reilly was solid. The energy the band displayed was quite impressive, especially considering they didn’t do all of the dumbass antics that so many *core bands do nowadays, such as spinning their guitars around their bodies between riffs or doing synchronized head-banging or running around like monkeys on crack. Instead they simply played, quite aggressively mind you, and oozed energy out onto the crowd. So much so that a fight erupted in the pit, which caused the band to take a quick break near the end of their set. They chastised the meatheads, and rightfully so, but did it very lightheartedly instead of trying to be even more meatheaded as some hardcore bands are prone to do. After the fighting morons were broken up, This is Hell finished off their set with one last song. Unfortunately, having to pause the action like they did, you could tell they had a hard time kicking it down again for their last song. Barring that setback, This is Hell had a great set.

By the time This is Hell were in the middle of their set, the venue had filled out a little more, mostly in anticipation of the home area heroes Comeback Kid. As soon as they stepped on stage, the crowd swelled to the front and a solid core of about 25 kids were crawling all over themselves to get up to the top of the pile to sing along. Comeback Kid fed off of this energy and, in turn, used just as much to get the crowd churning even more. Playing a solid mix of older favorites and new material, the 40 minutes that Comeback Kid played was rock solid, well, except for a small break in the action to replace some broken guitar strings. It wasn’t too big of a deal as it gave the kids in the crowd some time to re-energize. Ending their set with “Wake the Dead”, the place went off and the concert hit the highest point of the night.

With Comeback Kid’s set done, the majority of the people at the show took off and left, leaving a tiny group of maybe 50 to 75 kids for headliners It Dies Today. The band just doesn’t have the draw they used to. A year ago when It Dies Today rolled through town, they filled out a 300+ sized venue. For this show they had a small fraction of that and this was not lost on the band. For their entire set, it was apparent that they were less than thrilled by most of the people having left, and I think they ended up cutting their set list short as they only played about 35-40 minutes and, for a headliner, that’s pretty short. The new vocalist was adequate, although it was easy to see that he was still getting acclimated. The rest of the band felt sloppier than the last time they came through, but at least the couple of songs from Sirens that they played sounded a ton better live than they do on disc. This band just isn’t the same as they were a year ago. Personally, I think they’ll be broken up within another year.

Maybe the pairing up of two metalcore bands in It Dies Today and Endwell with a couple of hardcore bands in This is Hell and Comeback Kid wasn’t the best idea in the world for a tour, maybe not, but this tour felt a little disjointed. Still, Comeback Kid and This is Hell played a couple of great sets and I would recommend seeing them if you get the chance, but I would wholeheartedly urge you to skip Endwell and avoid It Dies Today if you’ve ever seen them before. They’re nothing more than a shadow of the band they used to be.

Show photo coverage here

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