Rehasher/Weak Knees/The Antidont’s
Friday, January 5th 2018
Lucky You Tattoo, St. Petersburg FL
Lucky me. As Ice Cube once said, today was a good day, including easily finding this parlour slash venue that’s been putting on regular punk gigs for a couple of years (extra bars from a remix). If I wasn’t in such a positive mood I’d punch myself in the face for not having come here sooner. Lucky You Tattoo has a similar aesthetic to the missed Odessa Goathouse, with its cosmic bright-on-black art, anti-oppression guidelines, and general implication of a friendship with the same interior designer (and exterior designer, being casually slotted into a typical strip mall). Even better, they and Robot House promotions round out my day with a brilliant and efficient gig, presumably due to the immediate lack of alcohol. It’s easy to be cynical, to consider whether our standards for a “good day” in this age are low, but I think we’re all due some arbitrary calendar optimism. Are we ready to stop harping on about how shit things are? It’s probably been healthy in moderation, but ‘16 and ‘17 had enough of that. Let’s actively construct that PMA, Bad Brains style.
Easier said than done, so for a start we have a societal antidote in The Antidon’ts. There aren’t enough instrumentals in punk, and there’s something welcoming and classy about the quick standalone intro here. Furious heavy skate punk is then punctuated with the occasional flash of guitar flair or impressive drum fill from Anthonydon’t (no real surnames are forthcoming, so what the hell), and topped off with the contrasting voices of bassist Mikey and guitarist Zac. To get a further picture, let’s go to our merchandise table correspondent for a word on their inspirations. The band, while in no way goofy onstage, seem quite fond of cartoon depictions of themselves, including a shirt where Zac’s face has been imposed on baby Milo’s body, given booze, and is remarking that he does not want to throw up. Shout out also to Mikey’s “If God hates fags, I hate God” attire. Not content with Descendents-admiration credentials these young blighters from Port Charlotte have actually gone and done a 7” split with MDC, after apparently impressing Dictor and co on tour. It’s soon to be repressed on black and white vinyl. The Antidont’s (ever consider losing the apostrophe, guys?) seem poised to get ahead of the evening by closing out with ‘Bro Hymn,’ but it’s just a naughty little tease before packaging up the set with another voiceless vignette.
With all the peer-reviewed backing of a viral health meme on Fedbook, I’d like to propose a theory: in certain subgenres such as emo, band names are getting longer. It’s not just the obvious examples like The World Is a Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid to Die; the general impression I get is one that suggests Western rock music is so passe and out of ideas that we’re running low on shorter potential names. Maybe the ability to search the title of any musician that ever existed is the problem, or maybe with social media we all just don’t know when to shut up anymore [is there a point here, you self-aware rambling asshole?]. This observation has little bearing except to note that if Weak Knees took their sound from a more recent interpretation of emo they’d probably be called something like Weak At The Knees or Kneeling Timidly In A Puddle Of Weak Urine, which would be, well, weaker choices. Your other option is to not obsess over originality, and not care that you share a name with indie bands in both Oklahoma and Oregon, and a supposedly “crap” act from Leeds. I’m getting strong tones of brevity dons Far and Braid from them tonight, powerful yet vulnerable, with Chuck Ragan guesting here and there on vocals. Quite a combo. If emo-rap is apparently a burgeoning scene confounding old heads on all sides, then why not? Throwing a spanner into my theory, the guitarist/singer is wearing a Flux of Pink Indians shirt, but you could get away with it back then (well… till they changed their name to Flux). The crowd is treated to another loud outstrumental that is more extended this time, but overall the set is tight and to the point, leaving me, uh, wishing it was longer.
If you’d have told the fifteen year old me that he’d be here tonight, he would have said “obviously.” He would wrongly imagine going to see a band of Roger Lima’s in your thirties to be as physically exuberant and mind blowing as he finds watching Less Than Jake, but he would still see the appeal. Rehasher play catchy-as-fuck skate-pop with all the vigour of a hornless LTJ. Their melodic bounce is fun on its own merits, but it’s hard to look at them outside the context of Lima’s more famous outfit. When he asks who is here without knowing a single song, about a third of the hands in the room go up, and the average age suggests that most were drawn by the same mixture of nostalgia and reliable expectation of a decent time as I was. And despite a hint of grumpiness on this front (“no, NOT ska dude. Wrong show…”), Lima seems to enjoy the role. He jokes repeatedly about this “really” being the best show of the tour (it’s day 2 of 3), and in general welcomely blathers between songs with bassist Tony, who does a fine job of holding his own. Besides, it could be worse: his legacy could be like Bodyjar, the Australians who never got big at all here because they “don’t speak good English” where they come from. Unfortunately, Rehasher’s cover of ‘Not the Same’ by the band is very much the same as their own sound, adding little diversity to the set, with ‘Hanging on the Telephone’ by Blondie/The Nerves being more useful in that regard. ‘Sinking’ and ‘Lift!,’ conversely, also get some of the crowd moving for at least 3 seconds. It was by no means a roof-shaking performance, but it was good. I’ll take what I can get for the time being. Here’s to 2018. We couldn’t possibly make that much of a hash of it.