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LIVE: DEFEATER – February 9, 2016 (Lakewood, OH)

| 11 February 2016 | Reply


Venue: Mahall’s [Locker Room]

City: Lakewood, OH

Date: February 9, 2016

Review and Photographs by: Mike Hubbard

My day job lately has had me traveling periodically from my home in Detroit to the exotic locales of Pittsburgh and Cleveland.  Yes, I know, I lead a glamorous life.  But when I travel I always look for shows to attend, to experience the local music scene.  This past trip to Cleveland I found that both Reel Big Fish and Defeater were playing the same night.  RBF is always a blast, but I have seen them a couple of times already and tickets at the HoB were $$$.  I have never seen Defeater, and they were playing in a tiny 75 person room with a couple of local Cleveland bands and another band I wasn’t familiar with, so I decided to check that show out.

The venue, Mayhall’s Locker Room, was in an ancient, smelly, tiny bowling alley.  The perfect place for a local hardcore show!  Admission was cheap, cash only, and the ‘ticket’ consisted of writing a big ‘S’ on your hand after paying.  The show was in a room downstairs, and it looked like someone’s basement.  Just a square room with a low ceiling, a small platform in one corner that could barely fit a 5 piece drum set, and a small bar in another corner.  I instantly knew that I made the right decision choosing this show over RBF at HoB.

The first band up was local Cleveland troop The Grievance Club.  They have an album out from 2014, ‘Such Strange Speech’, but to me that recording was not indicative of their performance that night.  They mentioned that many of the songs they played were brand new, including one that was the first time they ever performed it live.  I’d say the band was more post-hardcore/alternative than hardcore, but I really enjoyed them and will look forward to catching their next release.

Second up was another local band, Flying Free.  These guys were HARDCORE!  They were obviously local favorites.  The crowd, although still fairly small, went nuts for their set.  They too indicated that they had a lot of new material, although many in the audience was quite familiar with it and sang along to every song.  The vocalist noted that this was their first time performing in a year, and it sure looked like the locals had missed them.

Saint Louis band Choir Vandals was third on the docket.  They dialed it down several notches after the intensity of the Flying Free set, but still put on a great show.  CV have a couple of EP’s out and their latest one, ‘At Night’, from 2014 was more in line with their performance.  The band showed a lot of polish delivering their chill alt-rock/indy tunes.  Kind of made me thing of a heavier version of Black Rebel Motorcycle Club.

Last but not least was Defeater.  By the time they came on the room was packed.  Good thing the fire marshal wasn’t there because I am quite sure there was way more than 75 people in the room.  The band blasted into their opening number with no warning, and with nothing separating them from the crowd they were instantly engulfed with a wave of humanity.  I don’t know how the guitar player managed to play since he was essentially part of the mosh pit, having to fight for his space.  The vocalist was mobbed almost non-stop during the set, sharing the mic with audience members on a regular basis.  It was about 45 minutes of insanity and I loved every minute of it.

Major props to Defeater for putting on a show like this with support from local bands.  They can, and usually do play in larger venues with national acts for support, but this was a great example of established bands giving back to the local music scene.  Now I need to find a show for my next trip, but it will be hard to top this one.





Category: Live Reviews

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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