There’s alot of perfectly normal reasons to go out on one of the coldest nights of winter. A date with a pretty girl, a provision run in order to survive the city’s transformation into the planet Hoth, a trip to the hospital due to an accidental stab wound you caused because you somehow lost a chromosome when making dinner… On January 7th, I made the trek over to Sala Rossa for none of the previously mentioned reasons. Hardcore lives in me, and it was time for Comeback Kid and Four Year Strong to pay the rent.
Opening up the night is my complete inability to get out of my day job, thus missing Heart to Heart, who were unfortunate enough to have had to climb to the north this time of year from beautiful Pismo Beach, CA. Even though I missed these cats, I still picked up a record. In short form, these dudes are pretty badass. I can’t comment worth a shit on their live performance, but their recorded content is chalked full of angst and punky soul and thus earned the Jason Greenberg “I like this shit” stamp of approval.
Following up were previous Bucketlist victims, Expire. To see all the gory details of my previous encouter with these Milwaukee cats, then check out my previous review of when they opened for Every Time I Die over at Club Soda back in September. Elaborating on that, these dudes are way tighter in a more closed enviroment, which just reminds me of the intimacy that is hardcore to begin with. That and it was wicked to hear some complete sentences in some of the songs.
Up next we’ve got Harrisburg, PA’s lightest of weight pop punkers in Handguns. DISCLAIMER: There’s unfortunately nothing about this set that I personally enjoyed. These kids have a lot of heart, and obviously a lot of balls coming up to the frozen waste land that is Canada in the middle of winter. That being said, I’m not particularly here to critique their testicular fortitude for hitting the road. As for the music, their sound lacks in originality as a whole. Ultimately speaking however, the sound of the band is together, it’s the vocal section that really had me cringing. Now, everything I’ve said is rather harsh but honestly, vocal lessons and some real heart in the writing would probably go long enough to give these dudes an honest chance at being something.
All the cold weather and all the cynicism came to a gergeous head as Winnipeg, MB’s greatest export hit the stage. BIAS ALERT: Comeback Kid has been a long time favorite of mine, dating back to my tweeny days. Personal feelings aside, however, this was possibly the only set this evening that was able to really break past the terrible sound quality that seemed to linger in La Sala Rossa. This being my many-ith time seeing Comeback Kid, I will say I was a wee bit surprised at some of the setlist choices. Surprised, however, does not mean I didn’t thoroughly enjoy it. The only thing that kind of had me confused was the fact that they put out an solid as hell music video that day for “Didn’t Even Mind”, off their latest record Die Knowing, yet they somehow didn’t even play it. Nonetheless, there’s never a time that I hear them play “Partners in Crime” and not start to tear up from nostalgia from my more angsty times with fellow Bucketlist writer and longtime friend Jacques “I need a fucking shower” Asselin. Let the shout out pong continue.
Last but far from least was our headliner, a little popcore group you might know as Four Year Strong, hailing from Worcester, MA. The one and only thing I can say without any doubt regarding this performace is that the crowd was just eating that shit up. That being said, it was really only the crowd that I could hear. I’m sure what they were attempting to play was great, but alas, we as musicians in all fronts are at the mercy of our soundpeople. Theres nothing easy about being a soundperson, but for fuck sake, if it’s a profession into which you’re going to submerse yourself, for the love of all things unholy and loud, can ya please just try and be good at it?
Written by Jason Greenberg
Photography by Eric Brisson Eric Brisson Photography