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Volume 69, Issue 135, Friday, April 23, 2004

Arts & Entertainment

Divide to conquer weekend's shows

Two concerts offer fans a difficult choice between new wave punk and metalcore

by Jason Gagnon
The Daily Cougar

The multitude of choices we have is one of the greatest things about being an American. However, at times it can be a real drag. Such is the situation on Friday, when those with taste will have to choose between two equally impressive and guaranteed-to-please shows. The risk takers who have money to burn can catch parts of both shows because, geographically speaking, it's feasible.

In the Heights at Fitzgerald's, you can see the best punk rock show to come to town since Throw Rag earlier in the month. Fans of the Dropkick Murphys will definitely want to catch Scotsmen in kilts, the Real McKenzies. The band will you leave you in a state of punch-drunk euphoria with its wonderfully riotous rock 'n' roll. But the best reason to check out this show is because of Seattle's The Briefs. 

With two albums and a slew of singles, these Buzzcocks-inspired, new wave weirdos are on the road again after signing with BYO Records. It's taken folks in Houston a few years to catch on to this punk rock sensation -- anyone who claims they saw them the first time they came to town is a liar -- and now people can't get enough of them. Maybe part of it is the skinny ties and 1980s shades, or hilarious autobiographical tunes about sexually transmitted diseases ("New Case"), but their crazy, energetic live show is definitely the main reason. 

The Briefs have a new album coming out in June, so those who attend are sure to hear some new songs. Plus, on this tour, they will be selling a CD-only compilation of their vinyl singles and probably the last copies of their latest release, a limited EP of covers called The Joy of Killing. Local rockers the Down 'n' Dirties and The Delayed will kick things off. The latter features some of our fellow Cougars who play catchy, melodic punk in the vein of Social Distortion. They just released their first CD so you should pick it up at the show. If you are obliged to respect the rock, this is where to do it.

A stones throw away off Washington Avenue, Hatetank Productions brings you another great hardcore show at Fat Cat's that is sure to sell out. Walls of Jericho headline and boast a female singer with a ferocious growl who likes to floor punch while performing. They don't disappoint live. 

There are only a handful of metalcore bands today that are actually worth listening to, and Martyr AD not only qualifies here, but is also one of the best. Featuring former members of Disembodied, the group exploded onto the hardcore scene with their debut album, The Human Condition in Twelve Fractions. 

They first played to Houston fans in a tiny media room at the University with then-unknown-to-the-mainstream Poison the Well. With a new singer (courtesy of Bleeding Through) Martyr AD has just released its second album, On Earth as it is in Hell, on Victory Records. Fast and brutally intense metalcore with some of the best guitar riffs and breakdowns around are what you can expect. If you caught Every Time I Die a few weeks ago, you won't want to miss this band.

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