The following is a guest post by Jordan J. Michael.
Punk rock comes in many different forms, and more than a few were on display at Valentineâ€™s on Friday evening. In fact, all the acts pushed boundaries.
It was a special night for Albanyâ€™s Aficionado, whose seven members were celebrating the release of their first full-length album on No Sleep Records. It had been a long time coming for a band that has toured and self-released music since 2004.
â€œWeâ€™ve gotten a lot of support from this city,â€ Aficionado front man Nick Warchol said after a rousing headlining set. â€œWeâ€™re not rock stars. We just like to hang out with our friends and play music.â€
The downstairs stage of Valentineâ€™s couldnâ€™t even hold the entire band. Craig Dutra had his keyboard setup on the floor while Warchol sang directly to the eager audience. Laura Carrozza stretched Aficionadoâ€™s sound even further with sweet harmonies, while also being strapped with a flute.
Guitars intertwined, drums galloped and an overall feeling of enjoyment filled the room. Nothing was left undone.
Aficionado signed to No Sleep last fall for When It Comes to Creation, itâ€™s first â€œofficialâ€ release. The new self-titled record was recorded in Omaha, NE with A.J. Mogis at ARC, which is owned by Conor Oberst. Mogis has recorded the likes of Bright Eyes, Cursive, and M. Ward, and Aficionado will find itself touring with Cursiveâ€™s Tim Kasher in August and September.
Self Defense Family (formerly End of a Year) took the stage before Aficionado and continued to display its post-everything sound in front of the attentive listeners.
Outspoken vocalist Patrick Kindlon started the set by saying that the band wouldnâ€™t work the crowd, instead deciding to keep things â€œpro.â€ Kindlon went on a (hilarious) rant of sorts about hating fans, Blink-182 being â€œtrolls,â€ and whatever else was on his mind at the time. Then, the band broke into the slow and heavy dirge of â€œIâ€™m Going Through Some Shitâ€ from its recent Island Series Vol. 1: Jamaica7″ on Deathwish Inc.
This song had everyoneâ€™s attention from the first to last note because it was a very moving, lengthy song. Self Defense Familyâ€™s complete set was a beautiful thing to watch and hear. The emotion released from Kindlon and the four other members was immeasurable.
Self Defense Family has seen 20 different members over eight years, three albums and 15 EPs, splits or 7â€™s. However, Kindlon has been here for the whole process, which included touring relentlessly throughout the globe. â€œWeâ€™re punk rock for adults,â€ Kindlon said.
All of Self Defense Familyâ€™s releases, except for Jamaica, have come under the name End of a Year, but the band decided to go with the new name from now on because â€œthe old name sounds like a metal band,â€ Kindlon said. â€œWe hate the old name. Fuck it â€“â€“ new name.â€
Kindlon said that his band has a goal of recording one release a year on a different island in the world because â€œitâ€™s an excuse to do something interesting.â€ Island Series Vol. 1 was recorded in Kingston, Jamaica in February at Tuff Gun, which was where Bob Marley started his career.
â€œThe place had all this beautiful tropical wood everywhere,â€ said Kindlon of the studio. â€œIt had real personality. With this series, weâ€™re trying to shoot for haunted places and atmosphere.â€
For one Self Defense song, Kindlon stepped into the crowd and watched as Caroline Corrigan took over vocal duties. Her voice was serenading in nature, which contrasted Kindlonâ€™s atonal shrill. â€œWe want to make the music all about the sound, not the way itâ€™s sung,â€ Kindlon said.
Self Defense is structured in rock, punk, and hardcore, but is too varied to be labeled. People just got to go see it to believe it.
Deep Pockets, a four piece from Hicksville, Long Island, made it to Valentineâ€™s in time to play their set after having their van break down on the way. Vocalist Matt Brennan spent the quick set shuffling on the floor, which left some people amused.
The band sounded like jangly indie rock, circa 1994. Deep Pockets dropped a fun set straight out of left field and definitely made a mark on the majority of people who had not the slightest idea. Plus, the band was selling a neat four-song demo on cassette tape.
Brennan said that heâ€™s been â€œobsessedâ€ with the band Silkworm for at least 10 years, saying, â€œI think it comes out a little bit.â€ Brennan also mentioned the Melvins and Bad Brains as influences. If a band listens to great music, chances are its product will be pretty good, too.
Fridayâ€™s punk show wasnâ€™t just a punk show. It was emotion, passion and overall love for music. One of the most impressive things of the evening was seeing Warchol at the front of the stage for each band that played before Aficionado. He truly cared for the other acts.
Sadly, we donâ€™t see that enough in music anymore.