Lost City Angels – Worcester – Worcester Palladium, MA – 2002-02-23

Lost City Angels
Where: Worcester – Worcester Palladium, MA.

When: 2002-02-23

Okay, so we missed Lost City Angels, but does that make us bad people? Well, maybe it does. To be honest, I had never heard of the band before, so I wasn’t exactly heartbroken when I found out I missed their set, but for all I know they could have been amazing, so check them out and don’t take my lack of attendance as any indication of the band’s talent, not that you would have anyway. And with that out of the way…

We entered the club and were glancing at the merch table just as Fairweather began what would turn out to be a brief set, lasting well under half an hour and consisting of only five or six songs, all of which came from the band’s only release thus far, 2000’s If They Move … Kill Them. Jay, the band’s lead singer, commented on how this was one of the largest crowds the band had ever played to, and explained that the group was currently writing songs for a second album and planning a tour to support it that would consist of solely house shows, telling everyone to let the band know if they had a space big enough for a performance. Those fans close to the stage took advantage of the laid back security and climbed onto the stage for a platform from which to jump back into the crowd. For a third-bill band, the guys were a little preachy, taking time in between songs to hype up Equal Vision and how it is “the greatest label around,” as well as to tell the crowd how appreciative it should be of the local music scene. Musically Fairweather was tight though, with the exception of “Whatever It Takes,” which closed out the set, and which had to be stopped midway through and picked up a moment later after an adjustment or two had been made. “Professionalism at its finest,” they joked.

Then came Thursday. Hell yeah. The crowd was moving before the first note was even played, and so when the band opened with the brief and eerie instrumental “AOOO1” and then ripped into “Understanding in a Car Crash,” things got really intense, or “crazy go nuts” as my pal Bucko described it. Songs were taken largely from the band’s excellent and most recent effort, Full Collapse, but the set also included two numbers (“Porcelain,” “This Side of Brightness”) from the band’s debut, Waiting. Members of the crowd were surfing on each other, pumping their fists in the air, and screaming along. Lead singer Geoff Rickly played to the crowd nicely, entangling himself in his microphone cord, flailing wildly about, and holding the microphone out for the crowd to scream the layered backup vocals. Objects flew through the air, and stage diving remained popular, but things got truly chaotic for the closer, “Cross out the Eyes.” It ended up being the first live performance I have seen in a while that actually sent shivers down my spine. It could have been fear for my safety from the raw intensity that was in the air, or it could have been just plain musical enjoyment, but I think it was a little bit of both.

After an introduction that consisted of Queen’s “We Will Rock You,” during which singer and guitarist Travis Shettel ran onto the stage with a miniature guitar to pretend to play the solo, Piebald took the stage as part of a string of shows to celebrate the release of their brand spankin’ new album, We are the Only Friends We Have. It was during that opening faux Queen guitar solo that Travis ripped his pants, explaining that he had to leave for a tour in a couple of days, so if anyone in the crowd wanted to donate some pants for him to bring with him, it would be greatly appreciated. Since they were celebrating the new album, the band played a large chunk of new material, opening the set with the new re-working of “American Hearts” and branching out from there. Other new songs included “Just a Simple Plan,” “Rich People Can Breed,” “The King of the Road,” “Look, I Just Don’t Like You” and “Karate Chops for Everyone but Us.” They also tossed in some older songs, from “We Believe in Karma” to “Grace Kelley with Wings” to “Rock Revolution” to “Still We Let it Choke Us.” The guys showed their goofy side from time to time, bringing out friends in assorted fuzzy animal costumes, blasting confetti guns during “Just a Simple Plan” and a few other tunes, and bobbing their heads and strumming their guitars in unison in geeky rock star fashion.

All in all it was a fun night, with everything from emo-punk to screamo to nerd rock. Well worth the trip to Worcester.