The fresh air of 2014 has welcomed us into the new year, albeit bitterly cold and harsh. Some of us use the fresh calendar start as a chance to reevaluate our lives and set new goals for ourselves, but for some reason, the majority of these goals are hard to stick to. Maybe your resolution for the new year should be something more manageable. We all have responsibilities and obligations, but wouldn’t it be nice to focus more on ourselves this year? To get that special treatment that you deserve? Well, I have it for you right here, and it’s just what the doctor ordered – three rockin’ shows all coming to your backyard over the next two months.
Our first of the trio is a show that I booked with my friend Dana Youth on Jan. 16 at West Side Park in Nanticoke featuring Freedom, Social Damage, Life of Reilly, Single Me Out, and Griswald. Opening up the show, Griswald is a hardcore band from Mountain Top with a fresh name change and a demo. Single Me Out, from Scranton, features young and enthusiastic members of the scene who play music that also assumes those qualities. Life of Reilly will be playing their first show of the new year, and if you have yet to see them, this would be the perfect start for your year. LOR play a classic, early U.S.-style brand of hardcore. Their debut 7-inch will be out this year.
Social Damage and Freedom are the touring acts on the bill. Social Damage, from Indianapolis, is a straightedge band playing a nice taste of mid-80s New York style, as well as some Midwest influences. They have released two demos so far and are definitely a band who will flourish this new year. Headlining the show is Detroit, Mich.’s Freedom. Their new 7-inch, “Pay the Price,” is a great variation on a theme of great and important bands from their city. Their record is already one of the best of the year.
Then on Feb. 13, also at West Side, one of the hottest early tours of the year will be hitting the area with Turnstile, Diamond Youth, Angel Du$t, Blind Justice, Shorthand, and Noise Pet. Local acts Shorthand and Noise Pet come from very different ends of the musical spectrum, but that is just one thing that makes our area so special. Blind Justice from the Jersey Shore have played the area before and will be sure to please all who already know them and win over those who don’t. Angel Du$t from Baltimore, Md., may have a name that some may think strange, but once you see or hear the band, you will be enthralled by their punk rock style matched with guitar solos and sing-along choruses. Diamond Youth are celebrating the release of their new record, “Shake.” They play an extremely melodic style but show their musical ability with interesting harmonies and guitar leads. Headlining the tour and the show are Baltimore’s Turnstile. They wowed the area with their show this summer and have only been building their band since then.
Finally, Feb. 24, of course at West Side Park, brings Backtrack, Xibalba, Downpresser, Not Til Death, and Haze. Haze is a new local band that is somewhat mysterious due to a long time without a name or a recording, but they recently released songs online for all to check out. Not Til Death are perhaps our area’s heaviest band who not only play a great show, but with a style and grace you don’t often see in more metallic bands. Xibalba from California are one of the heaviest bands out right now. They play detuned, aggressive music, and if you are unfamiliar with the band, it might be best to keep your distance. Backtack are playing the area for the first time and are also supporting their newest LP, “Lost in Life.”