Although the Opera House hasn’t really been my thing in years, there was definitely a time when a good weekend to me would’ve been moshing out in this palace of hardcore delights. Welcome to being a teenager again.
The line-up for the night features is some metal, some emo, and one genre that I’ve never heard of before- synthcore. Synthcore is the genre where screamo and synthesized music meet. The synth element can be techno, electro – or in the case of self-proclaimed “guidos” Abandon All Ships, gino beats.
The first set that we watch (although there were others before hand) is On Burning Shores – an act that tries to bridge the gap between metal and hardcore. Nevermind that they’re wearing shirts that ask Bukake? Or that they’re on stage spurring the crowd on with yells of “Let’s put someone in the hospital tonight!” when almost every hardcore act I’ve ever seen has asked people to mosh, but play nicely. On their MySpace they sound a bit generic but competent, but live they sound like a different band- lacking the tightness and virtuosity that makes listening to heavy music (at least for me) listenable.
Go Time are another act that are guilty of sounding quite better on their MySpace than they are in real life. Granted, their schtick of mixing a little bit of emo with a little bit of hip hop and the occasional screaming vocals could stand to produce an original sound if they hone it. But the band is going to need a hell of a lot more practice (and both of their vocalists, singing lessons) if they’re ever going to impress anyone, even as a fad band.
Finally the headlining act comes on, and the crowd is really pumped. They’re singing the hook to AAS’s “Maria” while they wait for the band to come on- and when they do the crowd (which at this point has swelled to fill the Opera House almost to capacity) lets out a collective roar. Let me spoil this now, the band does not disappoint.
Unlike the earlier acts this evening, Abandon All Ships can play their instruments. Like the 2 acts I saw earlier in the evening, this band mixes genres together that aren’t usually mixed- but they actually rock their sound (think Dance Mix 95 meets Fischer Spooner meets hardcore). They have stage presence, synchronized dancing, and even birthday cake because as it turns out, its lead singer Angelo’s birthday.
But every rose has its thorns, and I think the biggest and most obvious flaw is that AAS would be hard-pressed to appeal to many (any?) adults. Which brings me to flaw number 2 – fad. There’s some music you grow up with that sticks with you forever. Others fade away, and its hard to know what’s a fad and what’s not until some time has passed. The thing is, if an act wants to grow with their audience, they have to have some substance to them.
The suburban guido culture that this band promotes is about partying, and ultimately that’s pretty one dimensional. Just like the ginos, I think this too will fizzle out before being repackaged for another decade of teenagers with control over their parents’ credit cards.
Art music this is not. Still, this would get the crowd moving at any PCP (pop, chips, and pizza) party.
© Natascha Malta, Music Vice
Pictures of Abandon All Ships at The Opera House; credit and high-fives to Caroline Aksich for providing the wicked shots:
Related internet links:
Abandon All Ships