Monday, December 27, 2010

Citizens Arrest

Last weekend, I got to hear a band play that I never thought I'd get to see perform: Citizens Arrest. They are a late 1980s, early 1990s hardcore band from New York City. I saw both Citizens Arrest sets in Philadelphia. So incredible. Their first weekend tour in around twenty years with all of the original members. Each musician in the band has skill and, while their music unfurls with speed and intensity, they also deliver hooks. The vocalist may growl, but his vehemence has purpose. His anger presents political lyrics protesting powerlessness and the abuse of power.

During the first set, I almost got knocked down a narrow, steep flight of concrete stairs near the stage. I landed hard a few inches from the edge of the first step, which seemed to freak out a group of people who picked me up and kept asking me if I was alright. Anyway, I didn't get hurt and I'm glad that I could see the stage, because watching Citizens Arrest play up close was inspiring - do I lose credibility calling a hardcore band "transcendent?"

Citizens Arrest made some jokes about a song being written about how hard it is to be in high school. They took all of their music seriously. They still have got it. Daryl Kahan forcefully belted out the lyrics with intensity and personality. I finger pick my bass. I loved watching Joseph Martin, the bassist for Citizens Arrest, finger pick his bass. He was playing so fast and his three fingers flew across his strings. His nimble fingers seemed to perform a dance and his dexterity achieved a sound that was downright amazing.

During their first show, Citizens Arrest did an SSD (a Boston hardcore band from the 1980s) cover. During their second show, Citizens Arrest did a cover of a Youth of Today (xNYHCx) song. Unfortunately, the guy who accepted the invitation to take over the mic got confused and had trouble remembering the lyrics. Otherwise, people seemed to be really getting into the music - singing and lunging to join in singing choruses. The second show in Philly had fewer people, but was probably even more fun for me than the first show. I was right next to the stage again, but in a pain-free spot. Plus, I enjoyed seeing Asshole Parade, who opened and played a great set. They flew up North from Florida for the weekend tour with Citizens Arrest. The members of Asshole Parade tried to convince me that they weren't experiencing temperature shock because of some wintry weather in Florida. (As I write this blog entry, it's snowing outside in DC, which is why I'm probably going off on a slight tangent about temperatures.) They said that the Citizens Arrest show in New York City was even better than the shows in Philadelphia.

Citizens Arrest did play a new song. Yes. It sounded forceful like their classic hardcore songs. Maybe that means another album or at least another 7"? Hmmmm...

I heard a rumor that Citizens Arrest may play a show in DC in March. I'll keep my fingers crossed.

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