Have you ever come across a band that you've heard about through the grapevine (friends, the Internet, you get the idea) but
never could get things lined up so you could see them play? I have had a few of those over the years. In some cases I've
committed myself to covering another show; in others it's being broke. Still, something came up that meant I wouldn't be
able to make a show (hey, it happens). One of the bands on this bill was a case in point. I'd been meaning to check them
out for a while but things got in the way. However, I heard about this show and knew I had to make an effort to get there.
So, after taking care of a few things and eating dinner, I headed out from the sticks to the Grove area in St. Louis, parked
my car and headed to the Demo for this show.
I arrived at the Demo shortly after Boston Profit began their opening set. This local trio blasted out some tight melodic
punk with short hook fueled songs as their foundation. With a mostly personal feel to them, the band wore their influences
on their sleeves as they played a blend of original songs and a few covers (one was a Ramones song, the other an old Nick
Lowe track); carrying the set on energy alone. Boston Profit did manage my pique my curiosity by the end of their set (I
hadn't seen them before so I had no preconceptions). However, I do wonder what is going to happen to them down the road.
Up next were Popular Mechanics, who took the reins and guided the night in a different direction. This foursome's wheelhouse
is dual guitar forged crunchy punk-pop. Full of breezy songs with almost poppy/alt rock hooks, the music combines a wall
of crunch with almost clear vocals. This gives their music a feel that overall veers closer to pop than it would to punk
rock or hardcore as the set goes forward. They're not reinventing the engine here but fans of the mersh side of alt rock
would find something to enjoy about Popular Mechanics.
After a brief setup time Breakmouth Annie came on stage and proceeded to tear shit up. This trio wasted no time jumping
into a set of melodic punk with gruff vocal and rough guitar work (with a very slight jangle). The band's set rushes the barricades
but doesn't completely go over it. Their driving personal punk songs are moody and bittersweet, hinting at emo at moments
but they manage to stay firmly on the punk side of things. Their set grew on me and lures the listener in as the show continues.
Breakmouth Annie seeps into the consciousness and refuses to let go.
I had heard about Radkey before but, as I mentioned in the intro to this review, something always came up before so I
wasn't able to see them - until now. These three brothers brought the evening to another level with some hard driving straight
ahead punk rock that took no prisoners. Power chord guitar and cut to the chase rhythms delivered songs with enough energy
to power a city block, harnessing the power of vintage punk and HC in the process. Add to that a stage act that matched the
power of the music and it's clear the band plays not just to entertain but to conquer the surroundings. I know some people
will point out the attention that this band has gotten over the past couple years but after seeing Radkey in action I have
to say they earned it. Managing to sound both familiar and shock you into something new isn't an easy task but Radkey does
it well. If you haven't seen them play live please do so when you get the chance.
Then the show was over. As people picked up merch and made plans for the rest of the night I took in the atmosphere.
Eventually I thanked the band and had to head on out. Taking in the feel of the night I find myself surprised and impressed
by what I witnessed. I had a show to check out the next day and some work to take care of. It's not Spring yet but the chill
in the air shows that seasons will be changing soon.