Indiscretion opened the show, with their odd combination of early punk and girl-group stylings. The basics of their sound aren’t much different than four-decade-old pop rock: most songs three minutes or shorter, careening from one catchy tune to the next. Sort of what would have happened if Bill Graham and Iggy Pop had managed the girl groups of the 1960s instead of Phil Spector.
Thrash rockers Subfiction delivered the best performance of the night. Their thundering sound comes from the heady days of the late 1980s and early 1990s, when heavy metal was giving way to a more melodic approach and alternative was just on the rise. Musically they’re airtight: heavy-duty rock combined with a more subtle artistry.
Unreel followed up Subfiction’s showstopper with some traditional no-frills rock ’n’ roll. Their willingness to experiment added a needed air of grittiness to their set. Some of the songs they performed were unfinished pieces, but they held together with an unpolished but compelling tone.
For sheer mad stage presence, Odynia were the night’s real winners, wrapping up the show in spectacular thrashpunk fashion. They presented a nonstop speed metal bonanza with dueling lead singers from completely different schools: one a mohawked dynamo of pure uncontrolled energy as he spilled off stage and careened about the crowd, the other a tightly coiled spring of rage and anger. Dueling vocals between Sid Vicious and Phil Anselmo, equal parts duet and shouting match.
The night’s best moment? No doubt the loving couple who had it in them to slow-dance to all of Subfiction’s set and some of Odynia’s, even the heaviest thrashing ones. You take your beauty where you can find it.