The Coits at the Corpse Fortress – September 10, 2011

I got to this show really late and caught the last few songs of Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb, who were playing sans bassist. They sounded alright but you could tell something was missing. Actually, I thought they played pretty well, and the sound quality seemed better than at the other two shows I have seen of theirs. Love the Bomb play garage punk that is pretty straightforward.

I saw a little of the next band, I think they were called At the Graves. They played really slow metal, super down-tuned. I think the drummer was wearing drum gloves. They brought colored lights and one of the lights was facing the audience so that the singer/guitarist was just a silhouette in green light. It made him look super metal; he had long curly hair and I couldn’t see his face at all.

The Coits played last, and took forever to set up. They finally started around 1:15 and ended at about 2:05.

The Coits play mid-to-fast-tempo punk with familiar chord progressions. Tonight they played with three guitarists. Their songs are all about five minutes long; they would do well to trim the length of their songs. They also played a cover of the Stooges’ “I Wanna Be Your Dog.”

Their singer, Seth, has a certain humorous demeanor and it works well on stage, especially for this band. He wore sunglasses, but I would guess he wore them ironically. He has a good voice, he totally sings in these songs and does not yell that much. Sometimes it may be slightly off-pitch, but in general I like it and it suits the band well. The PA was really loud so you could clearly hear every word he said, which was great because the lyrics are the Coits’ strongest attribute.

Seth’s lyrics are clever in the funny, sarcastic, punk-as-fuck way. I kind of hate to make this comparison, but they sometimes remind me of NOFX’s lyrics for being witty and funny and serious simultaneously.

What characterizes the Coits’ live show isn’t really the music. To get a full Coits experience, you have to see them at the Corpse Fortress or a similarly anarchic venue, where you will find that the Coits are known for encouraging and facilitating the wanton destruction of objects – mainly electronics, but most anything will do.

Tonight the sacrifices were one or two desktop computers, a trio of laptops, a computer monitor, a printer or two, lots of stereos and speakers, a floor and rack tom, a watermelon, etc.

As soon as they started playing the smashing began. People picked up equipment and slammed it on the floor, kicked it, hit it with a metal pole, etc. Later on, Seth started dropping a cinderblock on nearly annihilated objects, completing the process.

All of this creates a huge mess of plastic, metal, and glass all over the floor.

While this is occurring the band plays. They are the perfect soundtrack to demolition.

I’ve seen it so many times that I couldn’t imagine any other band being able to provide such a well-suited soundtrack for a joyride on the road to ruin via Perdition Alley.

It is a gimmick, but it’s a good one and is fun every time you see them.

There is something primal about smashing things, unleashing waves of violence on unsuspecting obsolete pieces of technology.

Everyone has times where they want to destroy the objects that supposedly make life easier, especially on the many days that they make life more difficult. Maybe it’s even a way of getting out aggression against other people. I overheard someone say that it is a good way of releasing anger without hurting anybody.

Whatever the reason, the smash pit gets the crowd moving (many parts of the crowd fearfully move out of the room). There are always a few kids who are stoked about breaking things and go crazy at the opportunity purveyed by the Coits, though it’s a shame that some of them don’t particularly pay attention to the music, because the Coits are a legitimate band deserving of attention based on their music alone.

The problem for the Coits is similar to those which face actors who become typecast (or the Casualties who always have to have spiked hair). The Coits are now expected to provide annihilation at every gig. I know they have played other venues without much damage, but I’m guessing something was missing from their performance at those places.

About halfway through their set there was a bit of a lull when they temporarily ran out of things to destroy. This was a problem of pacing that Seth acknowledged after they played.

To rile the smash pit correctly one must release objects gradually throughout a set so that there is a continuous flow of fresh goods.

I think part of the solution is to play shorter sets. Breaking the 30 minute mark is something that I discourage punk bands from doing except in very rare circumstances. People tire out and there is only so much you can take, no matter how much you like the band in question.

In order to play shorter sets, writing shorter songs would help. When every song is five minutes long it gets to be too much, especially when most of the songs only have two or three different parts, and sometimes those parts aren’t even very different from each other.

Despite all my criticism the Coits had me smiling almost the whole time they played. I got a shout-out, which is always a plus. It will be a shame to never see this band at this house again.

– James Doubek

Vidz from the show shot by John of Today FTW:


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