Lessons In Post-Hardcore
Electric Ballroom, London
Friday 15th April 2011
Post-hardcore band Rival Schools released their debut album United By Fate back in 2002, so when their latest work Pedals was released last month, almost a decade later, it was definitely greeted with some anticipation. However, tonight's crowded and sweaty Electric Ballroom suggests that the New York foursome still have plenty of appeal and a most certainly dedicated fan base that know all the words to their songs.
Even though it's a few years later, the guys still have a lot of energy and they add some interesting experimental sounds to the set as they play new songs from Pedals. But first we're eased in with firm favourites, Travel By Telephone, Undercovers On and Good Things, which all go down a treat. Stand out new tracks include 69 Guns, a euphoric tune with Feeder-esque moments. Itís much more upbeat than we're used to hearing from these guys but itís still got their distinctive edge. There's a great bassline on The Ghost Is Out There, plus some rather Foo Fighters/Queens of The Stone Age vocals and distorted guitar sounds which make it one of their most exciting new tunes.
Towards the very end of the set Walter Schreifels says, "Weíve been on tour with Trail Of Dead for three weeks. We sort of feel like Bon Jovi". He then proceeds to sing the intro to Wanted Dead Or Alive before launching in to their final song Used For Glue. The Jovi reference was slightly baffling until I discovered that United By Fate was produced by Luke Ebbin, who also helped create Joviís Bounce and Crush. In any case, a brief set detour is to be expected since this is the band who played an impromptu cover of The Smiths' How Soon Is Now at Download Festival 2008.
It seems then that Rival Schools can take a long break from the spotlight and return to find their dedicated fans still patiently waiting. However, post-hardcore was a great remedy for angst-ridden teens when life consisted of trying to survive Year 11 and drinking too much at house parties at the weekend. But those twenty-somethings in the audience are a bit more grown up now. Theyíve got full-time jobs and have probably traded Reading Festival for Glastonbury, so is the music still relatable? From tonight's turnout and atmosphere, there appears to be unfaltering support for this group. Essentially, the real question is, can Rival Schools reach a wider audience and have the boys got a place in today's music scene? Can Rival Schools teach the kids of today a bit about 2002? Let tonight's Camden show be their first lesson.
words: Gemma Hunter