After waiting in the most ridiculous line the Bay Area has seen since the re-opening of the Academy of Sciences, I was not incredibly impressed by Thorns of Life. Waiting through the two bands before them didn’t help my patience either, and ultimately, I ended up leaving before the end of their set.
Off With Their Heads was mid-set when we squeezed our way into Gilman. We snagged spots at a table by the sound booth — Rare posterior real estate, which I guarded like my firstborn for the remainder of the show. OWTH sounded like Rancid, for the most part, with slightly less interesting vocals. The Minneapolis quartet were obviously having a great time, though, and managed to elicit some semi-enthusiastic fist throwing from the crowd, which is more than can be said for the Re-Volts, who followed. Contrary to the passable, yet uninspiring front provided by their Myspace Music page, the Re-Volts created such horrendous noises as I cannot fully describe. If you would like to feel their vengeful sonic wrath for yourself, they will be playing at Sub-Mission (formerly Balazo) on 18th and Mission at the end of the month, although I don’t recommend it.
By the time Blake Schwarzenbach, Aaron Cometbus, and Daniela Sea took the stage, the atmosphere was discernibly a-buzz with the collective expectation of hundreds of sweaty music nerds. After opening with an amusing little ditty about the adolescent rite of deflowering, Thorns of Life pretty much failed to impress for as long as I stayed. I was mainly reminded of how much I would have rather been seeing one of Schwarzenbach’s previous incarnations (I found parts of ToL’s”Oh Deadly Death” strikingly reminiscent of JTB’s “King Medicine”). On the whole, Thorns of Life’s performance was dominated by Schwarzenbach’s uniquely beautiful brand of howling, overshadowing the band’s lackluster instrumentation and fledgling desires to “bring back punk”.
Still, it’s not everday a singer like Schwarzenbach appears. I think an LP would definitely be worth listening to — that is, if ToL makes it that far. As of yet, the band has no official website or Myspace page; however, I feel some kudos are in order to the trio for touring beyond the confines of hipper-than-thou Brooklyn house parties.