Nitad, Canadian Rifle, Fine Lines @ the Corpse Fortress, 6/18/2009

It was a dark and stormy night and Brian Lam (no relation to the C-SPAN anchor of the same name) and Maurice Alvarado set this show up. In accordance with the dictates of fashion, I arrived late and consequently missed performances by PC D.C.’s own Deathrats (Lam’s band) and the Daylight Robbery.

After exchanging pleasantries with David Combs, I entered the basement to the scruffy sounds of Canadian Rifle, from Chicago. This trio is on the indie, poppy side of punk and had some noise-jam action going on.  I thought it was good. B.

Nitad, from Sweden, played mostly straight-ahead hardcore punk with occasional rock flourishes, reminding me of Dead Kennedys, ’80s hardcore punk generally and Sick of it All at various points during their set; and, yes, I know such references largely serve to reveal my woeful lack of knowledge and creativity.
‘Tad’s vocalist solely screamed and was reasonably entertaining; Nitad’s bassist is a definite highlight, making tuneful, hyperactive use the fretboard. Every time the hardcore assault became too uniform of a choice for me they switched it up as if on cue, adding some fresh flavors to a tried and true stew. It’s a great genre. A.

Fine Lines played last, ending their set around midnight for a crowd that had severely dwindled.  I think half of this quartet played in Black Powder Fuzzbox, including singer / guitarist Alex Attas, who has managed to reproduce.
Fine Lines are similar to Black Powder, but lack BP’s vocal hooks and underlying pop sensibility, which is not to say that FL isn’t melodic – parts of their set were melodic, on a cosmic scale – but as we all know all too well, that ain’t the same thing as a pop song.  Fine Lines is extremely loud and scream-oriented, at times sounding something like Hum, at times sounding something like Fugazi, and generally offering a take on progressive hardcore that strikes me as reasonably fresh (shows what I know). I’m a fan of this genre and don’t see it too often at punk shows, particularly at the Corpse Fortress, so: A.

Was Pat Vogel at this show?  Yes.
Did Pat Vogel have a fresh haircut? Yes
Seen on the Scene: David Combs (the Max Levine Ensemble), Alex Martin (Pentagon), Simon Cohen (The Coits), Justin Malone (Time to Escape)
Crowd size: On the smaller size; the basement was about half full. I’d guess that about 30 people who weren’t in bands that played showed up.
Was Loren drunk? Yes.
Overall show grade: Excellent bands, interminable intermissions between them. B+

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