Thursday September 28th, 2000 at The El Torreon in Kansas City, MO
7 Seconds, Union 13, & Senseofself

7 Seconds 7 Seconds Union 13 Senseofself [more]

Senseofself were already playing when I got to the club and I wasn't able to assess much during the three songs I caught. The new Kansas City foursome seemed to feed off the vibe of other recent local success stories such as The Casket Lottery, and The Appleseed Cast, in much the way other newcomers such as Seven Mile Drive have done. Their music is layered with emotional vocals and has the ability to shift from driving hardcore crunch to clean power-pop effortlessly. I'll look forward to their next show.

Epitaph's Union 13 were up next promoting their new album of straight-forward punkarocka. Their predictable songs are defined by loud buzzing guitar, quick-release vocals and big bouncing breakdowns producing a blend of pop-punk and hardcore (think of Kid Dynamite) that is altogether fun... even if it doesn't provide much mental stimuli. Luckily the young boys in the audience weren't looking to be challenged and when the band covered Steppin' Stone (ala Minor Threat) they took the opportunity to mosh into each other. First like some sort of chaotic pinball action but ultimately in an orderly counter-clockwise circle – sort of an anti-entropy theory. Unfortunately for the moshers and the band, a frequently tripped breaker kept everyone from getting into a quick rhythm, and the real movement of the band's music was stifled.

Union 13 completed their short set with a cover of Rancid's Give ‘em the Boot which they dedicated to 7 Seconds. The cover makes sense (their album was produced by Rancid members), but why dedicate new school punk rock to a classic punk band? Is it to tell them that they are obsolete? Maybe I'm just too critical of everything.

While 7 Seconds' two roadies spent a half hour setting up the band's expansive equipment, the audience started to swell and move forward to the stage. Quickly into the first song I realized that my camera and I were mortal danger in front of the stage and so I decided to push to the back of the club and store my camera with the sound man. It took three songs before I was able to get back into the thick of the crowd leaving me to watch from the outside as the band played my favourite song, Not Just Boys' Fun. As with many of the band's songs, the microphone spent half it's time with vocalist Kevin Seconds, the other half with the audience. Let's face it, this band is 90% hardcore sing-a-long.

The audience completely erupted during the band's cover of If The Kids are United and the energy stayed high during a mix of mostly older songs with a few newer ones mixed in. The band and audience seemed to make an early agreement that Kevin would try to entice the audience into singing the new songs, but not make a huge issue out of it, and in return the audience agreed to tolerate the new songs.

Luckily the band had learned the rules on tours past and were essentially on tour this time around with their greatest hits package. They stuck largely to tracks from The Crew and Walk Together, Rock Together and in return audience went crazy for never-hits like Young Until I Die, You Lose, Red & Black, their very revved cover 99 Red Balloons, and of course their signature call for unity Walk Together, Rock Together.

Both Kevin and the audience clapped after each song, and Kevin seemed to appreciate the crowd's energy and effort as much as the audience appreciated the band's. That is exactly what punk is about; 7 Seconds showed me in the mid 80s, and they showed it to me again that night.