BREAKING DOWN THE WALLS: Liberating indie music

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First Posted: 7/7/2014

Last week, we celebrated the liberation of the Union. The Fourth of July is a reminder every year of the obstacles people had to overcome to solidify the future of the United States. Every free nation has a day like this, and the festivity is usually along the same lines – traditional food, heroic songs – but most of all, we are asked to remember certain values associated with the idea of liberty.

While music does not have its own holiday, it too has fought a battle with tyrannical oppressors. The music world is split definitively between the worlds of “major” and “indie” (short for independent), and the parallels are similar to that of any nation’s struggle for sovereignty. Some will have you believe that music could not exist without large financial backers and overpaid teams, but the truth is, our town is a prime example of the opposite. We have had and continue to have various bands, venues, labels, and even record stores that are all self-empowered. Music is more than a business – it is age-old artistic expression, and it’s nice to see an entire area embrace the idea.

And as a reminder of a scene that deserves its own holiday, we have a new show announced for next month. Aug 9 at the lamp post chapter one (47 N. Franklin St., third floor, Wilkes-Barre) will feature Superheaven, Haze, Free At Last, Self Worth, and Westpoint. You many not know Superheaven, but that is because they’re Daylight with a brand new name. Their last area appearance was shortly after their debut LP “Jar” was released. Since then, they have toured nonstop, so this will be a great time to see the band, especially in a smaller space.

Up next we have local band Haze. Haze has been playing scattered announced and even unannounced sets locally for a while in anticipation of the release of their follow-up to their “Stuck in the Valley” compilation appearance. Haze plays sometimes ambient, yet always aggressive punk with delicate vocals in a solid package.

Free At Last and Self Worth are both on tour from Springfield, Missouri on their first time out east. Free At Last caught my attention when I met the members of the band on tour and then finally played with them. Their town and attitude is very similar to Northeast Pennsylvania and won my affection immediately. They play a more youth crew-inspired style of hardcore, but not in a generic sense of the word. They just released their debut 7-inch “Pave Your Way.” Self Worth, who share members with Free At Last, take cues from the heavier side of NYHC. They self-released their own demo earlier this year.

Finally, opening the show is a brand new local band, Westpoint. Fronted by the very blue-haired Dana of United Youth, they take the opposite approach from previous bands and tackle a sound originally popularized while most of Westpoint’s members were in diapers. Nonetheless, they’ve created an authentic and well-thought-out take and will be playing their first show.

Also, as previously announced, this Friday, July 11, at West Side Park in Nanticoke will feature Strength For A Reason, The Mongoloids, Not Til Death, Heavy Chains, and Deal Breaker.