Wednesday May 5th marked the end of my academic career. It was a busy day to say the least, but lacked the appropriate fanfare I felt it deserved. Where were the fireworks? The champagne? The cheering crowd to carry me on their shoulders?
I pretty much anticipated this though. My university is lamer than a duck with two broken legs, and so in anticiaption I snatched up two tickets to go and see Narrows, featuring Dave Verellen (ex-Botch) and Ryan Frederiksen (ex-These Arms Are Snakes) in order to celebrate properly.
The first support act came in the form of Holy State, who for me were unremarkable. They had a few good moments, but lacked that edge that makes an adequate live band essential. Most notably, they talked a little too much. This is a lesson a lot of small band could learn; more noise, less mouth. Like I say, not bad, but nothing spectacular.
Next up were Throats, a band that have been floating in my peripheral vision for a little while. I knew they were loud, but fuck me, I wasn’t ready for this. I didn’t even realise where the somewhat miniscule vocalist was until he was right up in my face on the main floor, mic cord whipping around frantically.
Unfortunately, the sound problems that seemed to plague the evening started here. Everything was just a tad too loud, in that the guitars lacked clarity, and you couldn’t hear the vocals at all. I’m not sure if this was the fault of the band or the venue, but it jaded an otherwise fantastic performance.
Finally we had the main act; Narrows. Despite only one album and one EP, the supergroup factor wa a big draw here. Botch, who you all should have heard of, were and remain one of the most intelligent hardcore bands ever in my opinion. They were a bit before my time, but seeing Verellen checked off the second member of Botch I’d seen; the first being bassist Brian Cook, who incidentally was in These Arms Are Snakes with Frederiksen (there’ll be a test at the end, fact fans). Those guys were phenomenal, and I urge you to look into them if you haven’t already.
As I could have predicted from such seasoned professionals, the night’s headlining act was flawless – almost. They ripped through most of their relatively small repetoire with abandon; songs like Chambered and Newly Restored going down a storm.
My main gripe, as ever, was the British crowd. People got into it a little, but I like me a little audience participation; a bit of movement. Maybe Narrows aren’t furious enough to get people motivated on a Wednesday night, but I think performance goes both ways.
Camden’s famous Underworld was on the glitch tonight too. A couple of sound problems plagued the night as I said, but the main one basically crushed any epic finale Narrows had planned. It started with one of the guitarists’ and the bassist’s rigs cutting out. They came back for a minute or two before all the strings were gone again.
A bit of on-stage banter (what’s that? Play Rock Lobster?!) saved the interlude, before Verellen and the drummer finished off the final song on their own. Nicely saved, given the circumstances. And it was the last date of their European tour; anti-climactic or what?
Still, a fine gig, and these guys are well worth catching.