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the pathetic caverns - music by artist - A Hero Next Door

eclectic reviews and opinions

A Hero Next Door (with Time After Time, Heather Hates You, Never-Ending Tragedy)

18 Jun 2004

All Asia Café (Cambridge, Massachusetts)

Never-Ending Tragedy opened with a very short set of 3 (longish) midtempo emo tunes. They were promising (especially the last song with the overlapping vocal parts) but they should definitely invest in another stage tuner and watch out for chord progressions that are comfortable because they're so familiar.

I've written about Heather Hates You before and I don't want to swell their heads too much, but both the new song and the Circle Jerks cover sounded swell (despite the "la la la/I forget the words" verse in the former.)

Cincinatti's Time After Time sounded heavily influenced by the sort of emo band I don't like much. Their songs emphasized Joe Shubinsky's competent but undistinctive tenor vocals. I realized watching them that I don't have any gauge for the sincerity of this kind of music: it all sounds fundamentally calculated to me. Time After Time have more punk in them than Moments in Grace and fewer memorable hooks than Dashboard Confessional but they're headed down a similar road.

I probably would have left during TAT's set but the HHY guys assured me that A Hero Next Door was worth sticking around for. They were right. It's been a while since I was as blown away by a band I hadn't heard of before.

With virtually no sound system -- no monitors, vocals straight through a small no-name power amp -- they managed a mix that was balanced and rocking. (It's kinda surprising how many bands can't manage to sound good through a setup that's sorta standard for rehearsal spaces, but it's sadly true.) They played their punk/emo/metal-in-a-blender songs tightly, with impressive dynamics. Singer/frontman Mike was funny and engaging. His Bon Scott on "Highway to Hell" was surprisingly credible. The cover was fun, but it didn't upstage their own material, because they have actual creatively-arranged songs, not just sequences of riffs. Highly recommended.

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