Wasted Words 33

So here we are, a day after the election. The results are in and Bush will serve another four years as the President of the United States of America. Today was a somber day for me to say the least, and I really didn’t get much accomplished on my day off of work. I did watch Kerry’s concession speech as well as the Bush victory speech. I thought both were good, though I seriously wish Kerry would’ve went the opposite direction with his. He talked of unity, when what he really should’ve talked about was how screwed in the head the majority of American voters are. Do the American people enjoy knowing that we’re the most hated country in the world? People from other countries used to love us because we stood for freedom. Now they hate us because we’re a nation full of assholes, the biggest of which is sitting in the white house as I type this.

I really expected the results to be different from how they turned out, and I truly believed there was no possible way Bush could win. I had put my faith in the American people and assumed they’d had enough bullshit for the past four years. I assumed wrong. Gluttons for punishment, I suppose. It’s safe to say that I’m not exactly happy about the results, but what more can we do at this point. Most people I’ve talked to, ones that were strongly against Bush, seem to have an “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em” attitude about the whole thing. Everyone is talking about uniting as a country and working together. I’m sorry, but I just can’t feel that way. Obviously, anything to change the election results is out of the question. But side with the enemy? Never. Issues such as war, gay marriage, and abortion will continue to separate us. Our country has been divided in half and I don’t see anything United about our States of America. I doubt any of us will for a long time.

For now, I suppose we’ll sit back for a bit and see what Bush does next. Maybe he’ll do a bit better this time around, though I have my doubts. He doesn’t seem to care much for what the people want, rather what Bush wants. That’s not how a President is supposed to think, and shame on Americans for not realizing that.

While you’re here, you should also give Bryans article a read. It’s a great article and brings up a great issue. Enjoy.

Somewhere a Home

Thank you for reading. Until next time, I’m out.

Guns N Roses Tribute: Bring You to Your Knees

Guns N Roses Tribute: Bring You to Your Knees
2004 Law of Inertia Records

Being a fan of both hardcore and Guns N Roses, I was excited when I heard there was going to be a tribute to G’N’R by hardcore bands. I was even more excited when I saw the lineup of bands who were taking part in the tribute. Bleeding Through, Every Time I Die, Unearth…this can’t be bad. Hardcore bands covering Guns N Roses songs? Can’t get much better than that, right? Wrong.

Zombie Apocalypse leads off the album with their version of Welcome to the Jungle. When the guitar intro to the song started playing, I had memories of junior high. They pulled it off really well. Unfortunately, once past the intro they completely butcher the song. “Do you know where you are,” the vocalist rings out. “You’re in the graveyard, you’re dead!” No, but any hope of the rest of this compilation being any good probably is. Skipping past You’re Crazy by Haste brings us to the third track on the album, which is Vaux covering 14 Years. This track was actually pulled off well, mostly because they stuck somewhat to the sound of the original song. Vaux isn’t an extremely heavy band, so this song suits them well. Unearth cover It’s So Easy, which isn’t very good either. I like Unearth, but this song just isn’t very good. In fact, the only shining moment is when the vocalist screams out, “Hey Axl, fuck off!” Odd that he would say that while paying a tribute to the band, but whatever. If you want a good laugh, skip to track number seven and listen to Most Precious Bloods version of Sweet Child O Mine. This album isn’t a complete loss really, as there are a few good songs on here. The Vaux track I mentioned, as well as the superb cover of Nighttrain by Break the Silence, Every Time I Die going acoustic on I Used to Love Her, and November Rain by Time in Malta are all really great tracks. However, five or six good songs out of fourteen just doesn’t feel like money well spent. Good thing I downloaded it.

As I said, the album does have some good tracks that make it worth listening to. Not counting the ones I mentioned, The Beautiful Mistake and Bleeding Through pull out some decent tracks as well. I wouldn’t recommend paying full price for it though. Download it like I did and if you like it, drop five bucks on it in the used bin. Otherwise, skip it.

Recommended tracks: Time in Malta November Rain, The Beautiful Mistake Estranged, Bleeding Through Rocket Queen

Wasted Words 32

It’s hard to believe it’s been three years already. It seems like yesterday we were bringing her home from the hospital. Yet, that’s not the case. She’ll turn three years old on Thursday, September 9. As wonderful as this experience is, her turning a year older, it’s a sad experience as well. It nearly brings me to tears to look at her baby pictures and realize how much she’s grown already and how fast she’s growing. I remember first finding out that her mother was pregnant. I was so scared! I was only 21 years old and surely didn’t feel that I was ready to be a father. But, ready or not, she was coming.

September 9, 2001, was the day she was born. I was extremely nervous about being in the delivery room. Watching over dramatic births on television shows will do that to a person I suppose. It’s not quite as dramatic as they make it out to be, but it’s the greatest experience I’ve ever taken part in. You hear of a lot of guys fainting, and I have a bit of a weak stomach as well. I did well though, and really only felt light on my feet after the actual birth. I think it was more the fact of being overcome by the joy of watching my daughter being brought into the world. Yes, I cried too. It’s such an overwhelming experience to look at a human life and know that is something that you created. Ashley being born changed my life in so many ways. She has been my inspiration for all I have done in the past three years. I’ve quit smoking cigarettes. I’ve quit drinking alcohol. I look at life in a more positive light and I’m not the bitter, hate-filled person I once was. It’s all because of her. I try every day to be a better person so that I can be a good role model for my children. Something that all fathers should do.

I’ve watched her go through so many stages in life. I’ve watched her graduate from bottles of milk to eating the same food that we eat. I’ve watched her learn to crawl, walk, and talk. We’re in the process of potty training, which is a fun experience. She’s almost there! Each day brings something new for all of us and it’s the best thing in the world.

So here we are, three years later. Ashley has a new baby brother, Matthew, who she loves and takes care of as a big sister should. I look back on everything, from the time I first found out about the pregnancy, and everything that has happened up to this point. Some of it makes me happy, some of it makes me sad. Regardless, I would do it all over again in a heartbeat and I wouldn’t change a thing.

Thank you for reading. Until next time, I’m out.

Wasted Words 31

Hey everyone. It’s been a while since my last column. A little more than a month actually, which is unusual. I kind of hit a brick wall on what to write about, and just had a complete case of writers block. That and I’ve been kind of busy. I went to Ozzfest, I turned 25, and I took my family to the zoo. That’s kind of become “our thing” to do in the summer, because my daughter has always loved the animals. We had a great time. Ozzfest went really well, aside from the rain in the evening. While the main stage was certainly lacking this year, the second stage was the best in Ozzfest history in my opinion. Throwdown, Every Time I Die, Unearth, God Forbid, Bleeding Through, and Hatebreed all delivered explosive sets. Even Slipknot, who I’m not usually crazy about, was great on stage. With the exception of a few songs I don’t care for much of their music, but their live show is excellent and full of energy. The main stage was pretty weak though. I didn’t watch Black Label Society, I slept through Super Joint Ritual, and I got up and walked around when Dimmu Borgir came on. I’ve never been a Slayer fan, so I didn’t watch them either though I could hear their entire show. They sounded really good. We sat through Judas Priest because the skies opened up and decided to drop a rain storm in our laps. Luckily we had pavilion seats. Judas Priest put on a decent live show, I just don’t like their music. Black Sabbath was amazing though. This years Ozzfest definitely overshadowed last years by the second stage acts alone. But anyway, enough about that, back to my case of writers block. I purchased an album the other day that finally inspired me to write something. Here it is, enjoy.

Rise Against Siren Song Of The Counter Culture
2004 Geffen Records

Chicago’s Rise Against return to us in the form of their major label debut, Siren Song Of The Counter Culture. The band underwent two significant changes since their last album, 2003’s Fat Wreck Chords release Revolutions Per Minute. They enlisted a new guitarist as well as jumped from inde label, Fat Wreck, over to major label, Geffen Records. For a punk band like Rise Against, normally the major label jump would be career suicide. In this case, they haven’t lost an ounce of their integrity and still manage to deliver the goods like they always have. Of course, true Rise Against fans knew they wouldn’t let us down.

The album starts out on a high note with the politically motivated track (as many on the album are), State of the Union. This is a very angry track, and has quickly become one of my favorites on the album. Going off of the title, it’s obvious that this song is a commentary on the current condition of our country, but the lyrics really say it all. If we’re the flagship of peace and prosperity, we’re taking on water and about to fucking sink. I couldn’t have said it better myself. Along with their politically motivated tracks, the band drop a couple unusual tracks on the album and take the listener by surprise. The first is Blood To Bleed, which is a tale of a failed relationship. Though it’s an odd track to hear from Rise Against, it’s still a great song and the lyrics are so emotional you’d swear they stole them from Chris Caraba. The other track is an acoustic track titled Swing Life Away, which was first featured on the Punk Goes Acoustic compilation. When I first heard this track on that compilation, I didn’t care for it. Not that it was a bad song, but it was too different from their previous material I was used to. However, after giving it a second chance, I really enjoy the track and think it compliments the album nicely. Tim really has a good singing voice which isn’t always given the chance to shine in most of their tracks, so it’s nice to hear it once in a while.

This album features everything a fan could ask for in a Rise Against album; powerful, thought-provoking lyrics mixed with melodic, hardcore punk rock. There is no filler on this album, and that’s how music should be. Fuck one good song on an album. Fuck albums driven by the success of a single which gets tons of airplay on the radio and MTV, only to have ten or eleven other songs that are complete shit. The shit is getting tiring and it’s bands like Rise Against who are going to come along and change that. We need more bands like these guys with major label backing so that they can get their music and their message out there. Think about that next time you cry “sellout” when an underground band goes major. My conclusion on this album, buy it. You won’t be sorry. Pick up Revolutions Per Minute and The Unraveling too.
Recommended tracks: State of the Union, Anywhere But Here, Tip the Scales

Recommended if you like:
Bad Religion

Thanks for reading. Until next time, I’m out.

Review: Warped Tour 2004(Indianapolis)

So I pull into the parking lot around 10:50, and the gates open at 11:00. I make my way to the back of the line and proceed to stand in the 88 degree weather for the next thirty minutes before entering the gates. Last year, sealed bottles of water were allowed into the venue. This year, they made us take the caps off and throw them in the trash so we couldn’t refill and reseal them later. Looks like I’m drinking straight from the fountain today, or paying $3.50 for a bottle of Dasani. So after having my bottle cap confiscated and being frisked by the security guard, I make my way into the gates and head out in search of the Alternative Press tent. Once I found it, I wrote down the schedule of the bands I wanted to see. First conflict I see is Anti-Flag playing at 1:00 on the Teal stage, and Avenged Sevenfold playing at 12:50 on the Maurice stage. I had never seen either band play, so it was a tough decision, but I opted for Avenged Sevenfold. That gave me a little over an hour to find each stage and check out some of the merch tents. I seek out the Avenged Sevenfold tent and check out what they have. I pick up a Death Bat logo belt buckle for $12 and move along, picking up various free stickers from each booth. I don’t know about any of you, but if it’s free, I’m picking it up regardless of what it is. Everyone can afford free. It seemed like less people had free stuff at their tents this year though. I checked out the Punk Voter tent and grabbed some anti-bush stickers. They had one that said “American Errorist” with a picture of Bush on it, as well as one with the well known “Not My President” logo. I find the Rise Against tent where Tim, their singer, was working the merch. I tell him I really like his band and that I’m looking forward to seeing them play later. He thanks me with a hand shake and I pick up a sticker and a promo disc with two songs from their upcoming album, Siren Song of the Counter Culture. After that, it was time to head over and get a decent spot for Avenged Sevenfold.

I found the Maurice stage, and it wasn’t like last years. For some reason, they decided to make use of the Amphitheater this year and make two stages out of it. They divided the stage in half, with one half being the Maurice stage, and the other half the Volcom. This meant there were seats! You can’t have seats while Avenged Sevenfold is playing. Luckily, there’s a rather large pit area down front with no seats. So I find my spot, and I’m standing right in front of the first row of seats, which will prove to be a bad idea when the music starts. The band ended up going on about five or ten minutes later than scheduled, so their set was going to be shortened. They played Chapter Four first, and as soon as it began, the crowd went nuts. It seemed like everyone in front charged the rear because I ended up laying across the first row of seats, with several other people on top of me. After I was able to get out from the pile, it was on. This band is pure energy on stage, and it transfers directly to their audience. They ran through a couple more songs, then finished up with my favorite song, Unholy Confessions. My only complaint is that a twenty to thirty minute set is too short for a metal band like Avenged. I’d really like to see them on a show of their own.

Up next it was either Underoath at 1:45 on the Smartpunk.com stage or Taking Back Sunday at 2:00 on the Teal stage. I first decided to watch fifteen minutes of Underoath, then head over to catch the last half of TBS. I changed my mind and decided to get a good spot for Taking Back Sunday. While waiting for the band to play, there was a girl near me who kept talking about how many times she had been to Warped, and blah blah blah. Another girl stated that it was her first concert, to which she replied “You shouldn’t came to Warped Tour for your first concert. You should’ve went to see some Emo band.” I tried so hard not to laugh right in her face. What does she think Taking Back Sunday is, a hardcore band? So anyway, on to the show. They started out with Bike Scene and the crowd was really into it, with a lot of people singing along. They also performed Great Romances Of the 20th Century, You’re So Last Summer, as well as two of their new tracks, Bonus Mosh II and another one that I can’t remember the name of. They finished up with Cute Without the ‘E’, which was a real crowd pleaser. I really got into their show and enjoyed them playing, but I was left wishing I had watched Underoath perform instead. I don’t know, they just sound better on disc I suppose.

After Taking Back Sunday, I had about an hour to kill until Rise Against played on the Maurice stage. So I wandered around looking at the merch tents for a bit, when I came upon the Epitaph tent. There was a guy on a megaphone telling all of the girls “if you want to get moist, go watch Atmosphere performing right now on the Maurice stage.” Wow, I’m not a girl but I want to get moist too. So I went over and checked out Atmosphere, who is also the only hip hop act on the tour (I believe). Even though I arrived a bit late, I was able to get right up front by the railing. I had heard several tracks by Atmosphere, but that was about as far as my experience had been with them. After seeing their show, I was really glad I had decided to check them out. they started out with a song that I was familiar with, Trying to Find a Balance. They asked for a lot of crowd participation; waving your hands, making a gun out of your fingers and shooting at the sky, etc. They also ran through Always Come Back To You, Bird Sings Why The Caged I Know, and God Loves Ugly. Of course, there were many more that I don’t know the names of, but it was a great show. On my way out of the amphitheater, I stopped by the Atmosphere/Rhymesayers tent and picked up the Atmosphere album Seven’s Travels as well as a tour only disc, Thirty-seven Random Volume 3. It features some live tracks and some mixing on one disc, and on the second disc there’s thirty-two remixed and rare Atmosphere tracks.

Rise Against was performing next on the Maurice stage. I saw them play at Warped Tour last year and was really looking forward to seeing them again. So I find my spot, again right up against the railing in front of the stage. The band performing on the Volcom stage next to them got done early, so Tim came out and said they were going to go ahead and play because he didn’t want us to wait any longer and they could play more songs. I thought that was really cool of him, because they didn’t have to actually go on for another ten to fifteen minutes. They ran through all of the crowd favorites, such as Like The Angel, Blood-Red, White, and Blue, and Broken English. The band was full of energy and the crowd was feeding off of it very well, replying back with sing-a-longs, fist pumping, and crowd surfing. Tim paused for a minute to speak. He said that the Warped tour wasn’t about “Dodge cars, Samsung cell phone ring-tones, or Army recruitment tents. It’s about punk rock.” The crowd cheered him on, and he then dedicated the next song to all of the people who were there for “the right reasons.” They performed some of their older songs from The Unraveling, Anywhere But Here, which is a song from their upcoming album. They also performed Give It All, which is from the Rock Against Bush compilation.

After they played, it was supposed to be Bad Religion on the Brian stage at 4:30. So I headed straight over to the stage, only to see that Flogging Molly was playing. I was confused, because they weren’t supposed to play until 6:30. So I headed over to the Vans tent to check out the schedule. Apparently the Alternative Press tent had the wrong times for some of the bands. So I corrected the times on my paper, accepted the fact that I had missed Flogging Molly, and headed out to catch From Autumn To Ashes on the Maurice stage. The songs I remember them playing were Milligram Smile, Lilacs and Lolita and they finished up with The After Dinner Payback. They’re another band who puts forth a lot of energy on stage, and in turn, their audiences puts forth a lot of energy in the pit. After FATA was done playing, I quickly made my way over to the Teal stage to catch the end of Alkaline Trio, who had started playing at 5:00. I caught their last song, which was a This Could Be Love/White Wedding(Billy Idol) medley. New Found Glory was playing on the same stage at 6:00, so after Alk3 I headed up front to get a good spot for their set.

There were a lot of people lining up to watch NFG, quite a few of them were younger girls. So I stood there in the sweltering heat for a half hour, surrounded by prepubescent future groupies. Yay for me. But I wanted to see New Found Glory, so I dealt. The band came onstage, and my ears were shattered by girlie screams from all around. They went directly into the fan favorite Hit Or Miss. I really don’t know who was singing more, Jordan or the audience. The crowd was really into it, and the crowd surfers…God damn the crowd surfers. I was sick and tired of being kicked in the head all day, and I really wanted to just let one of these kids fall on their head. But yeah, they played Understatement and then went into Bruised and Broken, in which Jordan encouraged people to crowd surf and to “keep ’em coming.” Thanks Jordan. The crowd surfers were coming, one by one, sometimes two by two. It was difficult to keep up with them, and I’m really surprised none of them were dropped on the concrete. Nope, but one was dropped on my head. After Bruised and Broken, I headed over to the Brian stage to get a good spot for Bad Religion. I’ve see NFG before anyway.

Bad Religion comes on and the crowd goes crazy. They first perform Oveture, which is the intro to their latest album The Empire Strikes First. They then go into Sinister Rouge, which is quite possibly one of the best songs they’ve ever made. Definitely one of my favorites. Watching lead singer Greg Graffin perform onstage, it’s almost as if he’s giving a lecture. Makes sense I suppose, considering he does have a Ph.D. and has previously been a teacher at Cornell University. They performed tracks from their new album, such as Atheist Peace and Gods Love. They also performed some older fan favorites, such as American Jesus, Recipe For Hate, 21st Century Digital Boy, and No Control. Other songs performed were Epiphany and Supersonic. I left their set a few minutes early so that I could get a good spot for NOFX on the Teal stage. When I was walking out of the Bad Religion crowd, I spotted some of the guys from Avenged Sevenfold enjoying the show. I would’ve loved to have them sign my program, but didn’t want to interrupt the show for them. Instead, I settled for just a hello and telling them I enjoyed their show earlier.

Lots of people already waiting for NOFX, but I still managed to get a good spot close to the front. The first song they played was Murder the Government, which Fat Mike adapted the beginning verse to be more current. I don’t recall exactly what he said, but it started out “I wanna see Dick Cheney have a heart attack. I wanna see us get the fuck out of Iraq.” They made jokes and poked fun at people between their songs. Fat Mike said he hurt is neck, so he walked around like a robot most of the time and couldn’t move his head. Hefe said he was full of shit and didn’t hurt his neck, but if that’s true, he did a damn convincing job of playing it off. It was funny to watch, but I kind of felt bad for the guy. If he honestly hurt his neck, then I’m glad to see they still played. They performed Kill the White Man, which is a slower, reggae styled track. They played a lot of older material, such as Bob, Bottles To The Ground, Drugs Are Good and Fuck The Kids, which was requested by someone in the audience. They only played a couple of songs from their latest album, which were Franco Un-American and Oops, I OD’d.” They finished off their set with the unrecorded crowd pleaser of a tribute to Mr. George Bush himself, Idiot Son Of An Asshole. Excellent way to end an excellent performance.

Up next on the Brian stage was Yellowcard at 7:30. This is why I love Warped Tour. You can see a metal band at one point during the day, then a hip hop act, and later a pop-punk band all in the same day. I love the variety. So I get over to the stage and Yellowcard is already playing. I don’t plan on watching their entire set, so I don’t worry about making my way through the crowd and instead just stand near the back. The songs I saw them play were all from their latest album, Ocean Avenue. They performed Believe, Way Away, and Only One. After that, I was off to the Teal stage to catch the last band of the day, Story Of The Year, who was playing at 8:00.

I get over to the Teal stage and get close to the front just in time to see the band walking out to play. They started out by playing And The Hero Will Drown, which is the first track off of their album Page Avenue. These guys were full of energy from the start, and were jumping all over the place. The crowd was really into them as well. In order to beat the traffic, I had only planned to stay long enough to hear them play Until the Day I Die. But as they got further into their set, I realized they were probably saving it for last. I saw them perform Divide and Conquer and Anthem Of Our Dying Day as well as another song which escapes me at the moment. I then decided to call it a day and head out. As I was driving out of the parking lot, I could hear them playing Until the Day I Die.

Highlights of the day: Avenged Sevenfold, Bad Religion, From Autumn to Ashes, and NOFX

Disappointments of the day: Missing Anti-Flag, choosing Taking Back Sunday over Underoath, $3.50 bottle of Dasani water.

Wasted Words 30

Hello boys and girls. Yes, it’s me again. Thrilled, aren’t you? I thought so. As you know I went on vacation a couple weeks ago to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. We spent a week down there and had a great time. We rode go-carts, went to an amusement park, did some shopping, visited an aquarium, and went to Dolly Partons Dixie Stampede dinner show. Oh, and we went to the beach. It was the first time I had ever seen the ocean. I must say, I learned two things during my visit to the beach. The water tastes like crap and the sand gets everywhere. Yes, I do mean everywhere. Aside from sand in your crack and choking on salt water, the beach was pretty cool. This Thursday, I’m going to the Warped Tour in Indianapolis. Last year I wrote a review of the show, and I plan on it this time around as well. So look for that in the next week or two. Until then, enjoy this weeks column.

Unearth The Oncoming Storm
2004 Metal Blade Records

Have you turned on a “metal” radio station lately? If you haven’t, pat yourself on the back and know that you’re not missing anything. If you have, then you’re perfectly aware of the garbage that is being passed off as metal these days and it’s not pretty. Bands like Korn, who’ve never got over being picked on in middle school. Slipknot, whose members are so embarrassed about the music they play that they insist on wearing masks on stage. Even pop-rock/adult rock bands such as Nickelback and Creed get play on metal stations. Yeah, they’re about as metal as Dashboard Confessional is hardcore. If you’re one of those poor souls who have run into this issue, then fear not because there are still bands making great, ass kicking metal music. You just have to search past the radio airwaves to find them. Enter Unearth with their blend of metal and hardcore. This Massachusetts band has been unleashing head pounding metal to the masses since 1998, and they don’t show any signs of slowing down either. The recent release of their Metal Blade records debut is definite proof of this.

The album kicks off with the politically motivated track, The Great Dividers. Immediately, this song kicks you in the ass and lets you know you’re in for one hell of a ride. Opening tracks, I feel, are a very important part of setting the pace for a good album. Unearth made an excellent choice for that task with this song, which asks, “Does hate mean freedom?” The album manages to hold the pace set by this opener all the way until track nine, Aries, which is a slower song featuring some piano work and subtle, barely there vocals. Though it’s a big change from the rest of the album, this is a great song and greatly displays their versatility as a band. The album also features the song Endless, which was previously available on the four song EP of the same name, released in 2002. This is one of my favorite songs by the band, as well as the first song I had ever heard by them. The breakdown in this song is extremely addicting and should contain a Surgeon Generals warning. I hear it causes random windmills and floor punches, so consider yourself warned. Along with a perfect opening track, I believe the band chose an equally perfect closer in False Idols. Blazing guitars, lighting fast drums, and yet another great breakdown carry this song and round the album out quite nicely. As cliche as it might sound, this album features something for every heavy music fan. The hardcore kids will absolutely love the plethora of breakdowns, while the metal kids will worship the guitar work. Hell, soccer moms everywhere might even enjoy the piano work in Aries. Hey, it could happen. I’ve certainly seen stranger things. I personally love the entire album, and I’m glad to hear some socially consciouslyrics on a metal album. Unless I’m missing something, you don’t seem to hear that often. This album definitely ranks way up on my favorites list and will definitely be getting plenty of play time in my CD player. If you like what you hear on the album, be sure to go out this summer and support the band on the Ozzfest second stage. You can also catch them at Hellfest, as well as various shows with Lamb of God, Every Time I Die, and Atreyu.
Recommended tracks: Endless, Black Hearts Now Reign, This Lying World
Recommended if you like:
As I Lay Dying
Killswitch Engage
Avenged Sevenfold

They just won’t quit, will they? The Federal Marriage Amendment was voted down, but now they have another trick up their discriminatory sleeves. This week, the US House of Representatives will vote on the Marriage Protection Act (HR 3313). If passed, it will prevent the Supreme Court and all other federal courts from considering any challenges to the federal Defense of Marriage Act. To break it down, they weren’t able to change the Constitution so now they want to prevent the federal courts from protecting the constitutional rights of LGBT Americans. I strongly urge you to write your congressman or woman and let them know that you won’t tolerate this discrimination from our government. Head over to the Human Rights Campaign web site for more information.

Thank you for reading. Until next time, I’m out.

Wasted Words 29

Hey peoples. It’s me again. I’m gonna drop one last column on you before I head out to vacation this week. Friday afternoon, to be exact. By Saturday afternoon, I’ll be dipping my feet in the Atlantic Ocean in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. A couple quick notes before I move on. First off, the news came to us from John last week that Baloola Palooza.com was now legally licensed and all writings contained on the site are legally protected. They are for non-profit, public use as long as credit is given to us. That’s great news, if you ask me. It gives the site a bigger sense of professionalism, and it protects our hard work from being stolen from others and written off as their own. Also, I would like to welcome the people who read these columns week after week (I’ve seen the stats, I know you’re reading), and have yet to join the Baloola Palooza forums to do so now. We’ve got several different forums to chat in; music, politics, movies/television/sports, video games, and the newly added art forum. We’ve got all sorts of different people on the boards, different backgrounds, different interests, etc. Oh, and we’ve got Richard Kane. Feel free to harass him a bit when you get over there, he doesn’t mind. But seriously, head on over to the forums and sign up, introduce yourself, and have a hell of a time with us. Now on with the column….

Hawthorne HeightsThe Silence In Black And White
2004 Victory Records

Hawthorne Heights, could they be victims of their own hype? When your label promotes you as the next Thursday or Taking Back Sunday, they’re definitely giving you rather large shoes to fill. Did they succeed? Well, for starters, these guys definitely own a copy of “Screamo For Dummies” and they follow the guidelines well. Let’s go down the list, shall we? Singer with a voice just a few notches above whiny. Check. Guy who can scream like a banshee, yet still play an instrument. Check. Cliche emo lyrics such as “she cried all night, until the salt from her tears rusted shut her eyes.” Check. Don’t get me wrong, while it seems like most bands within this genre follow the same formula, I’m still a sucker for it and enjoy it very much.

This album is very much like an emotional roller coaster. Offering up softer, heartfelt vocals one second and brutal, anger-filled screams the next. While all of the songs have a sound and personality of their own, most tend to follow the same sing/scream formula. If that’s not what you’re into, then this album is definitely not for you. They do feature a good mix of tempos on the album. They have the heavier songs such as Silver Bullet, Life On Standby, and Speeding Up The Octaves to keep the kids in the mosh pits satisfied. Then they have softer songs like Niki FM, Dissolve and Decay, and Screenwriting An Apology, for the kids up front to sing along with. One thing that I was expecting to set this band apart from other bands within the genre is that they were billed as a “triple guitar attack.” Listening to the album though, it’s really hard to tell there are three guitars in there. One would expect the music to be much more powerful and guitar driven. This disappointed me a bit. Not that the guitar work isn’t good, but I feel they should’ve taken advantage of the three guitars and really make them stand out. Aside from that, this is a very solid debut from this Dayton, Ohio band. While I will admit they’re not exactly opening up any new doors in the world of screamo, they’ll definitely make a nice addition to it. Are they ready to step into the shoes of bands like Thursday and Taking Back Sunday? Maybe they should keep them in the box for a bit and eventually they’ll grow into them. You can catch the band on tour this summer with Silverstein and Alexisonfire, as well as at Hellfest.
Recommended tracks: Ohio Is For Lovers, Life On Standby, Niki FM
Recommended if you like:
Taking Back Sunday
Story Of The Year

According to the latest issue of Alternative Press, NOFX have another album on the way. Judging by the title, it sounds like a greatest hits album, but who knows with these guys. It’s called The Best Songs Ever Written(By Us) and is due out August 24 on Epitaph Records.

Speaking of the latest issue of AP. It features two great interviews this month. One with Bad Religion and the other with Lars Frederiksen & The Bastards. Both make it worthwhile to pick up the magazine. I don’t know if it’s on news stands yet though, because mine magically appears in my mail box every month.

I downloaded a couple new tracks from Christian hardcore band, Zao. Truly, Truly, This Is The End and The Rising End(The Last Prophecy) are both from their new album, titled The Funeral Of God. The album will be released on July 13 on Ferret Records and is a concept record, which bases itself on “If God decided, based on the way humans react to him, to let himself die and not be a part of it anymore.” The concept sounds interesting, and the new songs sound great. Count me in.

Heard of the FMA, or Federal Marriage Amendment? If you haven’t, you must’ve been living in seclusion for the past few months. Basically, our “God appointed” President is a homophobic bigot who thinks he has the right to decide who people can and can’t marry. The bastard wants to change the Constitution to deny gays the right to marry! Now whether or not you agree with homosexuality isn’t the issue here. It’s not a gay issue, it’s not a straight issue and it’s not a religious beliefs issue. It’s a human rights issue! Don’t you find it odd that our country is bragged about for our freedoms, yet slowly and surly they’re taking that freedom away from us? So if you want to say YES to human rights and a big FUCK YOU to discrimination, head on over to the Human Rights Campaign site and let your senator know how you feel. It takes only a minute to fill out your info, and the rest is taken care of for you. The government has gotten away with a lot fucked up things here recently, don’t let them get away with this too!

Thank you for reading. Until next time, I’m out.

Wasted Words 28

What’s up everyone? I’ve got a short column this week, but a column nonetheless.

New music: I picked up the Warped Tour 2004 CD the other day, along with Bad Religion’s new album, The Empire Strikes First. The Warped compilation is pretty decent, and at only $4.99, it was well worth it. Most tracks have already been released before, but there are a few new songs from Taking Back Sunday, Flogging Molly, and Simple Plan.

The new Bad Religion album is freakin’ wonderful! I HIGHLY recommend picking it up, especially for you old school BR fans. Even if you’re not an old school BR fan, pick it up and enjoy. Great band, great album, great songs, and some great messages.

Today, I went and bought Underoath, They’re Only Chasing Safety. It’s a pretty damn good album. They’re a Christian hardcore/screamo band on Solid State Records.

New Found GloryCatalyst
2004 Drive-Thru Records

On their fourth full-length release, New Found Glory returns to their roots. Somewhat. While this album has a bit of a harder sound than their last album, Sticks and Stones, there still lurks a ballad here and there. While not necessarily a bad thing, most hardcore NFG fans long for the days of Nothing Gold Can Stay. It’s obvious that the band was attempting to make a statement with this album. With the cover art (cartoon drawings depicting an instant rock star in the making), the intro song (the lyrics, “it’s more than a T-shirt, it’s more than a tattoo”), and the overall feel to the album, they seem to be attempting to distance themselves from other pop-punk bands. They even said in an interview that they were tired of being compared to these other bands. I would like to point out, however, that if you don’t wish to be compared to another band, then going on tour with them probably isn’t the best way to go about it. Just a minor complaint that I have about the album and the statement the band is trying to make. But onto the album itself.

As I said, it definitely has a bit of a heavier sound to it than their previous album, something which should please most old school fans. The band said they wanted to try new things, different sounds, on this album and it shows. The Introduction to the album is a testament to this, as they blast out thirty-seven seconds of lightening fast music, something to which they’re not well-known for. I think they should play at this pace all the time, but that’s just me. The beginning of This Disaster is definitely a bit of metal, though I swear I’ve heard it before and At Least I’m Known For Something contains some hardcore-like breakdowns. They seem to be touching on different topics than the cliche “she left me and broke my heart” stuff they usually write about. No News Is Good News and I Don’t Wanna Know are two examples of this. No News… is a commentary on society in general, and the BS that the news channels constantly pump out while I Don’t Wanna Know appears to be a tale of a sexual encounter. Overall, this is definitely a good album and I feel it’s a step in the right direction for the band. From faster, more upbeat tracks to slower, ballad-like tracks, they have included something for all NFG fans.
Recommended tracks: Over the Head, Below the Knees, This Disaster, At Least I’m Known For Something

I would like to ask all of you to please keep Johny Ramone in your thoughts and prayers. As you may or may not know, he’s in a hospital in Los Angeles, currently battling prostate cancer. I’m not personally a fan of The Ramones music, but I respect what they’ve done for punk rock and music in general. It’s always a sad thing to hear about stuff like this.

Upcoming releases:

June 29
Alexisonfire Watch Out!
Unearth HThe Oncoming Storm
Atreyu The Curse

July 13
Funeral For A Friend Casually Dressed and Deep In Conversation
Zao Funeral For God
Sparta – Porcelain

July 20
Dillenger Escape Plan Miss Machine

Thank you for reading. Until next time, I’m out.

Show Review: No Doubt & Blink 182

The Living End/No Doubt/Blink 182
June 1, 2004
Verizon Wireless Music Center
Noblesville, Indiana

Okay, so I was only going to this show to see Blink 182 and didn’t care to see the other bands on the bill. I’ve been into them for a while now and have never seen them live. I’m not a fan of No Doubt, though I do like several of their songs. I still wasn’t much looking forward to seeing them. We arrived a bit early, and when we first got to our seats, The Living End was still playing. We managed to catch three or four of their songs before they ended their set. They weren’t too bad, though I doubt I’ll be buying any of their albums any time soon.

Before The Living End finished up their set, I went in search of the merchandise areas. I wanted to check out the T shirts as well as buy a disposable camera. See, at this venue, it varies from show to show if you’re allowed to bring cameras or not. The tickets might say no cameras on them, but at the door there’s a sign that tells you if you can bring them or not. If they don’t allow you to bring cameras in, they usually have disposable cameras for sale inside the venue. When they do allow cameras, it’s only the disposable kind. Problem is, you never know until you get there if they’ll allow them. I showed up with no camera, figuring either way I could buy one inside. Much to my surprise and disappointment, they were allowing disposable cameras to be brought in, but they were not selling them inside. Bastards. So we head back to our seats and No Doubt is getting ready to go on.

We Will Rock You by Queen began to blast over the sound system as the lights went out. Then Gwen’s voice blasted through the speakers as she did their own introduction. Something about “a long time ago in Anaheim, California” and a “long battle being fought over the airwaves.” Then “and their biggest weapon of all, was their fans,” and the curtain dropped revealing the band. Their backdrop was a large LED screen which displayed words and designs throughout the show, a banner on each side of the stage that read No Doubt in Old English lettering, and two silver crowns which stood on the stage itself. They went directly into I’m Just a Girl. Okay, a song by them that I know and like. I can get into this, I thought to myself as I danced (see: bobbed head). Then, one by one they blasted out their radio hits, all of which I had heard before and enjoyed. Don’t Speak, Underneath It All, It’s My Life, Ex-Girlfriend, Hella Good, and Hey Baby were all covered as well as several tunes that I hadn’t heard before, (hence, I don’t know their titles) but enjoyed nonetheless. Midway through the show, the curtains closed, only to reopen a few minutes later with some added stage props. The props included a couch, a bathtub, and a piano. The drummer was also moved closer to the front of the stage, right near the edge to be exact. Gwen was lying down in the tub and slowly, and sexily danced out of it while singing Bathwater (I think). The whole entire show, Gwen had excellent energy, worked the crowd well and made great use of the entire stage. She took the time out to thank her female fans for supporting her all these years, then went into an acoustic version of Simple Kind of Life with just her and the guitarist. Towards the end of the song, the rest of the band began playing as well, though they were still behind the curtain. To finish off their set, they played Spiderwebs and promptly left the stage without saying a word, which leads to the now overused encore. Encores don’t even mean a whole lot anymore. They used to be reserved for special nights, when the crowd was extra good or the band was feeling the show a bit more. These days, they’re expected at most shows. But anyway, after reappearing on stage and Gwen introducing each band member, they encored with a song called Sunday Morning. At least, that’s what I believe it was called. It was a good song, and a nice way to end their set.

Up next, obviously, was Blink 182. The lights went out and from behind the black curtain, a guy stepped out to the edge of the stage and began waving around a Blink 182 flag. Then the curtain dropped and revealed the band who went directly into Feeling This. It was a nice energetic way to start our their show. The backdrop was several screens hanging, which played different videos along with each song they performed, while Travis and his drum set were on a platform which was raised several feet up from the actual stage. I had heard many bad things about Blink’s live shows. Maybe it’s the new attitude and seriousness the band has taken on, but the live show was great in my opinion. The band was real energetic and seemed to work the crowd well. They interacted with the crowd between songs, and tossed in some humor for which they’re known for. Most of it was Tom and Mark ragging on each other, which was quite hilarious. Also, if you’ve ever seen or heard the band play live, you already know that they play most of the songs quite a bit faster than they sound on the albums. They covered a decent amount of their latest album with their opening song, combined with I Miss You, Down, Violence, and Obvious. Older material was represented quite well also. They performed First Date, which Tom said was Travis’s favorite song ever. Razzing him, I’m sure. Naturally, they tossed in their hits like All The Small Things and What’s My Age Again, much to the delight of the crowd. Partial way through the show, they said that the next song was a slow sad song. Since we’re in the “age of technology,” rather than holding their lighters in the air, to turn on their cell phones and hold them in the air. Holy shit, there was a lot of cell phones there that night. It was pretty cool actually, looking around and seeing all of these little blue and green lights all over the place. They then played Stay Together For The Kids. They then played Rock Show, Adams Song, and Reckless Abandon. Tom then asked the crowd if they were ready for some old shit, and they proceeded to play the first half of Dumpweed before going into a medley of several older tracks such as Josie and Man Overboard among others. They then finished out the rest of Dumpweed. About three-fourths way into the show, a wheel chair was pushed up a ramp to the side of Travis and he hopped in and was wheeled away as Tom & Mark both played softly on their respected instruments. The Fallen Interlude from their latest album began to play. A minute or so later, there was a commotion in the crowd near me. I look over, and what do I see? Travis sitting behind a set of drums, rising out of the ground on a platform ten feet from our seats. The crowd went nuts as he pounded away on the drums for a good five or six minutes, while the platform he was on spun around in a circle. I was really regretting not having a camera at this point. Soon, the platform was lowered again and he disappeared. The lights on stage went out with the exception of the screens in which a video was playing. Over the speakers, the introduction to The Stockholm Syndrome played. For those unfamiliar with the introduction, it’s someone reading letters that Marks Grandfather wrote to his wife (Marks Grandmother, duh) during World War Two, over a piano tune. It makes for an interesting introduction. Once the intro was done playing, they jammed out The Stockholm Syndrome, which is a real fast and energetic track. In closing their set, they played a song that I hoped they wouldn’t forget but was sure they would. They finished out their set with Damnit, a move which both surprised and delighted me. They then thanked the fans for coming and waved good-bye. A lot of fans began chanting “one more song,” but it was useless. The house lights came on and a great show had came to an end.

Overall, it was a great show by both bands and I’m really glad that I went. I had said before arriving that I hoped Blink played first so that I could skip out a bit early before No Doubt finished up and beat the traffic. I’m honestly glad that No Doubt played first, because I had no other choice but to watch them, and I enjoyed it quite well. They did tend to stick to mostly radio hits, which was good for me because that’s all I knew of them. But for the diehard fans, they might have wanted some more older material tossed in. Blink represented most of their albums decently, while they did seem to stick to the new album quite a bit and completely ignored Cheshire Cat. I do wish Dude Ranch was represented more, though they did do both of my favorite songs from that album, Josie and Damnit. They did a good job combining their radio hits as well as fan favorites, making sure they offered something for everyone.

Gwen Stefani, period.
Acoustic version of Simple Kind of Life
Travis Barkers drum solo in the middle of the crowd

No camera
Waiting 45 minutes to get out of the parking lot after the show

Wasted Words 27

Recommended download: MadballHold It Down

Hey there peoples. Welcome to another edition of Wasted Words. Thank you, as always, for checking in and giving it a read. I picked up the new Killswitch Engage album, The End of Heartache. Great album, nothing more can be said, other than go out and buy it. Now. This week I’m doing a preview of a few music fests and tours taking place this summer. Enjoy.

The Projekt Revolution Tour is looking really nice for this summer. Funeral For A Friend have just been added to the lineup, which now features Linkin Park, The Used, Snoop Dogg, Korn, and Less Than Jake. Certainly an odd mix of acts, but I’m sure it will be a great show. The only unfortunate thing is that I won’t be attending. For those of you who are, you can find tour dates here.

In other Funeral For A Friend news, they will be releasing their debut full-lenght album, Casually Dressed and Deep In Conversation, on July 13. If their EP, Seven Ways To Scream Your Name, is any indication, then this album promises to be great.

Congratulations to Numb for scoring an opening spot for Dope, in Davenport, IA on May 22. I’m really proud of these guys, and I’m glad they’re getting a bit of recognition. They definitely deserve it. If you’re in the area and would like to check out the show, head over to the Numb band web site for details.

The birds are singing, the sun is shining, the temperature is rising, and the girls are wearing considerably less clothing. That could only mean one thing, Summertime is upon us which also brings about the summer tours and festivals. A lot of people say there is a lot of sound lost in live outdoor shows. I don’t really notice that much of a difference. Or it could be that I’m preoccupied by the girls in the bikini tops, just hoping they will crowd surf and lose their top. Regardless, here’s a preview of some of the major tours and festivals occurring this summer.

Ozzfest 2004
I had the pleasure of attending last years Ozzfest. I had a good time, and saw some great bands. Seeing Ozzy was just awesome. Looking over the lineup of this years bands, I have decided not to attend. The main stage doesn’t even manage to catch my attention, with the exception of Ozzy and Black Label Society. But the second stage, holy shit! This is where the action is at. Not only are you not restricted to seats like at the main stage, but there’s some great bands! Hatebreed, Atreyu, Bleeding Through, Every Time I Die, Throwdown, Slipknot, and more! The second stage alone is worth the price of admission, but there is no way I would go to Ozzfest and not watch Ozzy perform at the end of the night. That said, there’s no way I would go to Ozzfest and sit through five other bands I couldn’t care less about just to see Ozzy perform. Maybe next year.

Warped Tour
This is one show I will not be missing this summer. I attended Warped Tour for the first time last year, and I had a hell of a time. I saw many great bands, chilled with some cool ass folks, and I met Lars from Rancid and got his autograph. I also got a hell of a sunburn on the top of my head, but it was well worth it. This years Warped Tour looks to have a great lineup as well. With bands like Avenged Sevenfold, Rise Against, Anti-Flag, Bad Religion, and many, many more, Warped cannot be beat. The price for tickets is damn cheap too, usually about $25.00. There’s always some great merchandise booths, as well as informative booths like PETA and Punk Voter.

I’ve never been to Lollapalooza, nor do I ever plan on attending. Usually out of every lineup, there’s maybe one band that interests me. This years lineup is no different, as the only band that would slightly keep me interested is Sparta. The rest I just don’t care for. Some of the bands who are on the tour this year include The Flaming Lips, Sonic Youth, Modest Mouse, and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. You can view a full list of bands on the tour web site.

I would love to go to this show, and someday I will make the trip. Unfortunately that won’t be this year. This is the ultimate show, and features many wonderful acts ranging in genres from punk, to emo, to hardcore. It features 135 total bands, including The Bled, The Ataris, Mest, Shadows Fall, Death By Stereo, and more, all divided between three stages. There will also be a body-art convention as well as two skateparks featuring pro skate demos. If you’re in the New Jersey area, you should do yourself a favor and check this show out. For those of us who can’t make the trip to the three day event, there will be a DVD released this fall.

If you do plan on attending any of these outdoor summer festivals, take my advice (I learned from personal experience) and remember three things. Wear lots of sunscreen. Drink LOTS of water. Have a hell of a lot of fun.

Thanks for reading. Until next time, I’m out.