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A Guy on a Soap Box - Ligeia, Continent + Guests

Ben Krawec
February 15, 2011

A really good hardcore show is almost like a religious experience. I am strongly convinced that at a really good hardcore show you find the same psychological forces at play that cause the whirling dervishes of Mawlawi to spin ecstatically or that cause the initiates of the Brazillian Candomblé to become possessed by 'Orixás.' One of the main differences is that demonic possession and communicating with God have nothing to do with anything and that nobody gets ritualistically sacrificed. At least I hope not. But that's beside the point. You should almost be able to feel your heart rate sync up with the music. If they're playing really well you feel compelled to move a little, then you begin jumping around a little, and the next thing you know you've lost yourself in the thunder and you're moshing your f***ing face off. Drugs and alcohol have always been considered inseparable from music, but at a good hardcore show you don't need any intoxicants but the music. Most types of music are associated with a kind of feeling, which is often amplified by drugs and alcohol; like punk rock and beer, or rave music and ecstasy. Hardcore is different, it doesn't use anything but your own frustration to get your mojo going. Its about ramping up that pissed off thing inside you that wants to spend an extra few minutes punching the bag at the gym, or that wants to dropkick a particularly evil politician in his slimy face, or makes you reset your own broken ankle. Hardcore is about shaking the s*** out of that little spark of rage until it becomes a source of ecstasy. That said, hardcore can't be judged the same way a lot of other music is. Most people that don't like it are opposed to it because it sounds harsh and violent and the lyrics tend to say things you don't want to hear if you're determined to be a wuss. Which is funny, because most people that do listen to it like it for exactly those reasons. Anyway, overall, that's what this show did for me.

Hardships sounded great, I was a little annoyed to find out that it was their last show since I really enjoyed their pulsing, percussive sound. Continent, from Niagara Falls, was also great, but it was their singer's last show so I guess I'll find out whether or not I still like them next time I see them. I probably will since their drummer impressed the **** out of me. The mosh pit didn't get any good until near the end of Continent's set but I still caught a wicked elbow to the head that I wasn't too pleased about. Life goes on, its a hardcore show and I'd have been surprised if I left without bruises.

Grimsby's Right Before the Rise did not do it for me the way Continent did and it was apparent in the pit that I wasn't the only one feeling that way. Their sound was cluttered, they had two guitars going and neither one was playing much of a melody, the vocals were unimpressive and the drummer was way too cymbal happy. I know this is going to sound silly, considering the genre of music I'm covering right now, but they just sounded chaotic and there wasn't much recognizable music. When they pulled it together the two guitars had a really deep harmony and a great rhythm but it was like there were little nuggets of awesome strewn in a set of mediocrity.

A Sight for Sewn Eyes made me really really happy to have shown up. This band from Halifax was far more complex and melodic than you're used to getting at a hardcore show. The vocalists enunciated well, which is rare. What I definitely liked about them was the way they had two vocalists and two guitars, and rather than sounding all clusterf***ed and cluttered they pulled off a really rich sounding harmony. Stuff like this is why I go to hardcore shows. Right around this band is when people started to move around more and I got to mosh a bit.

Ligeia from Massachusetts made me a million different kinds of happy. Their lyrics are blunt and to the point with songs like, "You Suck At Life" and "I'm Sorry You're Ugly." If they come by again I'll probably crap my pants with glee. I'm not even at their show right now and I'm getting fired up just thinking about the set they played. It was like somebody put Jean-Claude Van Damme, and a kodiak bear into a juicer and extracted all the awesome and gave it to Ligeia in the form of a potion that causes you to make really badass music.

As a little aside, I'd like to make a comment about moshing. Throwing down, pushing, skanking, whatever you're doing, do it and do it as hard as you can. Its more fun that way. You can't properly enjoy a good show unless you let loose and do your thing like you just don't give a damn. What isn't cool is when people have no consideration for others at all and kick and thrash like retards and hit everybody around them. I understand that s*** happens and sometimes you catch an elbow to the side of the head but what some people were doing was just stupid. I'm glad that people stepped up and told those idiots to change up their style or stop altogether, a self-policing pit is a good pit. On the other side of things, if you get hit by accident remember where you are and don't get all pissy. Its a mosh pit, sometimes people get bruised up now and then. If you don't like it you can either quit being a big soggy vagina or get away from the action but don't try to start a fight over it. Personally, I don't think you get to call yourself a fan until you've spilled blood on the dance floor. Anyway, my point is, whatever you do, be smart about it. If you're throwing down find a wide open space where you can kick and thrash to your heart's content without accidentally giving someone a concussion. And stay in that wide open space, don't go into the crowd. If you're push moshing, remember that its PUSH moshing, not "punch everybody in the f***ing head" moshing. Don't hurt people intentionally and if you do get hurt assume that it was an accident because it probably was. The attitude and outlook of the audience plays an enormous factor in how much fun a show is, so remember that moshing is supposed to be fun and its supposed to be rough but that there's a line between rough and malicious.

As always, the bands are available for listening on the interwebs.

This article was brought you by Benjamin Krawec and a rather unhealthy amount of caffeine.