Learning Curve Records X-Mas Showcase thrives on aural assault

Categories: Concert Review
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Photos by Warren Wills
My first visit ever to the Triple Rock and it's for an all-out, punk stained, ear drum scorching collection of fresh young talent and wily veterans. It was chock full of technically amazing drummers, baseball bat-wheeling front men, bad jokes, and dramatic poses. It was the most exhilarating evening of rock I've seen around these parts in a while I loved every minute of it. There's nothing like a punk show to kick off Christmas right...

The first act of the evening was venerable trio the Deaf. While they haven't been playing live as much lately, you wouldn't have known it by their solid set Saturday night -- they immediately set the standard for all who followed with drummer Jack Kalyuhzny's fast, hypnotic delivery and David Safar's reverberated screams. They were a technically clean and especially tough act to follow.

Yet in their wake came the thrashing, spastic, and especially intense stage presence of Ben Crew and the indefatigable In Defence. When he is assuming his favorite place on the stage (the center monitor), one never quite knows what will come out of Crew's mouth: a dead baby joke, recently sipped water, blood curdling screams, any variety of obscenities, spittle. It was all on display for those who sang along in the front row and watched with wary eyes as he swung his bat they "use in their softball league." It was a surreal, raging delight of hardcore punk, old school thrash with excellent scaling riffs, unexpected time signature changes and evidently excellent eyes for detail amidst the onslaught brought by Crew.

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To take a break and take out my ear plugs for a second (which actually helped me understand In Defence's lyrics better), I stayed put in the main event arena, thus missing the brief set put on by the traveling troupe of musicians know as Seawhores. I regretted missing their set, which they played jammed tight in front of the old corner bar.

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