Terminal 5, NYC
After a quick Chinatown Bus ride, and a long day of traversing Manhattan, we found our way to Terminal 5, an oversized, rather stupid venue on the west side of the island. We got there about 15 minutes after the doors opened, and the 3,000 capacity venue was nearly empty. The main floor had about 200 kids on it. I think the reasons for this were two-fold. First of all, it was still a little bit early. But, more importantly, there were four awesome shows all going on within blocks of each other. A few blocks south of this show, The F-Yeah Fest was playing, with the Circle Jerks and D4. Then, a bit beyond that, the Alkaline Trio were playing. And, to take away some of the hardcore kids, Cold World and Trash Talk were playing out in Brooklyn. Terrible tour routing.
Shortly after getting there, Heather, Adam and I decided to head up to the balcony and snag a spot giving us a bird's eye view of the stage. Normally, I try to avoid the balcony. As a matter of fact, this was the first show I've ever watched from a balcony/bar. However, my head was killing me from piss poor stage divers the night before, so I didn't mind the relaxed rail leaning that I would go for this night.
Right at 7:30, Paint it Black made their way to the stage with far less pomp and circumstance than they normally do in Philadelphia. Seeing them in this venue was strange. As Dan Yemin said, "This barrier makes me want to kill myself." I'd never seen them in a venue even close to this large, and it was only my second time seeing them with a barrier and bouncers (the first being with the Souls at the Troc a few years back). I feel like this definitely took a lot of the energy out of their performance, as hardcore isn't meant to be played or seen in an environment like that. They still played hard, and Yemin did his best to bridge the moat between them and the crowd, but it just had a very odd vibe. This could probably be attributed to only a handful of kids really being into their music, as the sing-a-longs were a lot smaller than I expected. The setlist was similar to the night before, but with enough differences to keep it interesting. They opened with "Past Tense, Future Perfect" and played a similarly solid mix of songs from all three albums, and again ended with "Memorial Day" and "Atticus Finch," and New York did do a solid job with the sing-a-long for the latter.
I'm not really even sure what to say about Thursday. It's been years since I've seen this band, and not much has changed with them. They played a handful of songs I knew from Full Collapse, like "Paris in Flames" and "Understanding in a Car Crash," as well as a handful I vaguely recognized from War All the Time such as "For the Workforce Drowning" and "Division Street." They sounded tight, and were energetic, but nothing really did it for me. It was all teh same stuff that I saw years ago, with nothing new or interesting. I guess I respect them for staying the same and not really changing to fit the trends that they really could have cashed in on. They did play one new song from their forthcoming split with Envy, and I was bored out of my mind. It was all instrumental, with lots of obnoxious sounding keyboard parts. Pass. They played about 13 or 14 songs and kids ate it up. We were surprised to see so many people that excited and interested, but hey, what do I know.
After a surprisingly short break, Hot Water Music came out and started on with "Remedy" straight into "Free Radio Gainesville" and then "Rooftops." At this point, I was pretty excited because I really like No Division and heard that this set was pretty full of "early material." Well, after a while it became obvious that this wasn't the case. They did do a good job of mixing up material, and it was a solid mix of songs from all of the albums, but not nearly as much from the early albums as I'd hoped. After looking back at the January setlist, I realized that there were a lot of similar songs played. Like I said then, I was happy with that list, but I would have loved to hear some more songs from Forever and Counting or Fuel For the Hate Game. The handful that they did play were songs that I've heard before. I also talked to some people about the Philadelphia set list, and I was bummed to learn that they got to hear "Alachua" and "God Deciding," two of my favorite Hot Water Music songs, and we got neither of them.
Throughout their entire set, much like their New Jersey reunion, it was obvious that they were having a blast. Despite being horribly drunk (shocking!), they sounded pretty tight (with a few missteps), and smiled throughout the entire thing. I know Chuck is busy with solo stuff, and the other three guys are busy with new bands (The Draft, Chris' solo stuff, Jason with Senses Fail), but they legitimately seem to have more fun with the Hot Water reunions than they do as the Draft. And there's no reason they can't do solo stuff and Hot Water Music a bit more regularly!
All in all, below is a list of what I can remember, although there may be some I missed.
Free Radio Gainesville
Its Hard to Know
At the End of a Gun
Moonpies for Misfits
A Flight and a Crash
I Was on a Mountain
+about 4 more that I can't remember
I'm glad that I made it up to New York for this. Despite the totally sterile environment in Terminal 5, it was great (but weird) to see Paint it Black out of Philadelphia, and to see Hot Water Music again. I can never really say how much this band meant to me and how glad I am to see them live again. Seeing Thursday was interesting and semi-nostalgic, and had it been a hell of a lot shorter, I may have even enjoyed it. Instead, it ended up being a bit too long and drawn out. I've heard this weekend of shows were the last Hot Water shows of 2008, at least in the States, so hopefully you made it out to see them!
All pictures courtesy of Heather and her fancy-pants new iPhone.