The Basement played host to a quartet of post-rock and hardcore influenced groups on Wednesday, February 22nd in Columbus. Junius was co-headlining the show with O’Brother. Sainthood Reps and local group The End of the Ocean rounded out the bill.
The End of the Ocean got things rolling, doing their best to engage the sparse crowd with their brand of post-rock, interspered with pre-recorded monologues that served as interludes between songs. I had the opportunity to talk a bit with bassist Bryan Yost after their set, and he mentioned that they are in the midst of self-booking a tour that will travel all the way to the West Coast of the US! Bottom-line: look out for these guys! As hard-working and talented as they are, there is no doubt that some level of success is headed their way.
Sainthood Reps followed with their mixture of alternative indie rock and post-hardcore. This new Tooth and Nail Records band from Long Island wowed the audience with their distorted guitars, sung/shouted vocals, and periodic percussive jamming from the frontman in tandem with the drummer. They opened their set with “Monoculture” and also played what have since become my favorite songs of theirs – “Dingus” and “Animal Glue.” Long story short, this band went from being “meh, I’ll check them out sometime” to “Wow! I need to get their record” over the course of 30 minutes.
Quintet O’Brother next took the stage, and it was clear that they had the crowd ready to rock. The post-hardcore-esque “Machines I and II” started the set and got audience members excitedly shouting all of the lyrics back at the stage. It was interesting to see how much their drummer could accomplish with such a simple kit, and it was entertaining to see the long locks of the Dang brothers (on guitar and bass) flying everywhere as they head-banged in unison. “Ascension” found bassist Anton Dang with a bow in his hand to get just the right effects, and “Lo” found the entire band getting what might be their most catchy set choice across in an impeccable manner. The finale of the set was the back to back “Poison!” and “Lay Down”, which sounded just like they did on the record, if not better.
Massachusetts’ Junius roared to life onstage amidst a backdrop of 4 light towers with “Betray the Grave.” Junius is not meant to be simply amusing – they put their all into shows. Rather than indulging flamboyant onstage actions, the three guys I had interviewed hours earlier in a restaurant chose to simply lose themselves in the music. I could see what they meant by having to experience their music in a live setting to get the full effect. Their sound belongs in a larger venue. As I told Joel, their bass player, I’ll be watching for the day they play arenas and use crazy lazer light shows. Am I embellishing? Maybe, but the potential is definitely there.
Be sure to check out my interview with Junius.