Let me start off this review by saying that I live at this venue, so take that into account regarding any perceived bias you may encounter. This would be a small show at any other venue but was probably an average show at Wasted Dream, with about 20 people in attendance. However, the basement here is well-suited for small shows, due to its limited capacity, so a show that may seem empty at the Corpse Fortress will look relatively full here.
Wasted Dream has been called the “worst venue in DC” by Day After Day DC’s own Seth “FTW” Feinbergoldmanbagelstein. I can understand some reasons why it is not an amazing venue (it is extremely small, very hot, shows can’t go late), but I think there are a few positive attributes: a good location in the city, the aforementioned “coziness,” a nice backyard, and two dogs who love attention.
Bitter American was the first band that played, and truth be told, I did not actually watch their performance. I believe this is the latest band to feature DC hardcore all-stars B-Lam and B-Nap, and apparently a member or two from the poorly named Lions and Tigers and Whales. However, I heard some of their set from upstairs and it sounded alright. I believe this is the same band that practiced at the house earlier and they sounded like catchy mid-tempo hardcore, although I heard some faster parts tonight. Their set seemed very brief and from what I could tell only lasted about five minutes, though I’m not sure because I didn’t look at my watch when they started.
The next band was the City of Brotherly Love’s own Sickoids. This was one of the best bands I’ve seen in a while. Sickoids features the guitar player from Government Warning on bass, so I knew that they would be a tight band. They played a mix of mid-tempo and fast hardcore that was clearly influenced by the bands of the early 1980s.
I was struck and very impressed that they didn’t rely on generic chord progressions as well as by the facts that their songs had lots of syncopated rhythms and lots of different parts. I especially liked their fast songs, since it’s very hard to write good catchy fast riffs that haven’t been done before, but they pulled it off. There were a few noisy lulls where the guitar player used a delay pedal and did some scratching to create a trippy sound, but they fit within the songs and were not overdone. All in all, their music was extremely original for a “retro-80s” band.
I’d heard that they are influenced by the classic Midwest hardcore band Die Kreuzen, and since I hadn’t listened to Die Kreuzen in a few years I am listening to the “Cows and Beer” EP as I write. Perhaps there are some similarities, but all in all Sickoids was excellent and extremely original.
The next and last band was called Stockpile. I believe they are also from Philthadelphia. They were a fast band influenced by d-beat hardcore. The riffs were pretty simple, but not bad. All of their songs were fast and “raging,” although I can’t say anything was particularly memorable. The singer mentioned that he was heartened by seeing older people still involved in the hardcore scene, a sentiment I’m sure many people share, although I am somewhat ambivalent on the issue.
I am a big fan of shows with three bands at my house, and in general. They go by quickly and ensure that things don’t go too late.
Was Pat Vogel there? Yes.