Days of Rage
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Days of Rage


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"Aussie Punk Invades U.S."

Aussie Punk Invades U.S.
The Living End at Ritual, Nov. 18
Patrick Kelton 11/22/2006 10:58 am

The turnout for the first show to kick off their North American tour at Levittown..s Club 2686 on Saturday wasn..t exactly comparable to the masses that support The Living End when they play in their hometown of Melbourne, Australia. But the enthusiasm with which the relatively small crowd of fans screamed every lyric to even more obscure tunes clearly impressed the trio.

Opening the show was Long Island..s (arguably) most politically outspoken hardcore punk band, Days of Rage, formerly Resistance. Between songs, singer Ken Belkin rants of preserving free speech, calls for releasing political prisoners and questions why Americans watch an average of six hours of television per day. Those who showed up early enough to see them play applauded the efforts while the stage presence of a self-described ..Noam Chomsky on meth,.. made for a unique set.

Second up were Queens.. natives, Bombers, a three-piece outfit currently playing shows up and down the East Coast, that fall into the angry-at-the-government category with emo tendencies. worked with the likes of screamo-core local favorites, Bayside and to a lesser extent, Hawthorne Heights. With a strong following showing from the closest borough to the west, the band performed their dual-vocals and although admittedly not very different or inventive, nonetheless catchy and tight sounding.

By the time The Living End took the stage it was clear that the majority of the super fans screaming in the front row were probably not of legal drinking age. Not that having old drunks buying albums is a measure of success, but it was an indicator of who..s been listening to more recent hits of this Aussie trio like, ..Who..s Gonna Save Us,.. off of their 2003 album MODERN ARTillery, or ..What..s On Your Radio,.. off of their most recent release, State of Emergency.

It..s easy for critics to name this pop-a-billy punk band a Green Day knock off, being that it was Billie Joe Armstrong who helped give them their first big break (not to mention on his label). The sound is their own, rest assured, and how many mainstream punk bands can you name that were so influenced by the rockabilly revival to use an upright bass? And you have to admit the accent is pretty cool.

Of course, guitarist and singer Chris Cheney, who took a few moments to do an extended solo (something perhaps more frontmen should do), expressed the conundrum of playing old songs, like ..Second Solution,.. while promoting a new album.

..They say that you shouldn..t look back, but there..s not much choice in rock ..n.. roll music: you have to look back,.. he said. With that, they closed on their first radio hit in the US: ..Prisoner of Society,.. also the biggest selling Australian Single of the ..90s. A feat not often seen at a venue as modest as 2686 (aka Ritual), the audience stayed to show the band some love after they left the stage and ensured an encore. For the non-believers, it would seem the punks from Down Under have some staying power after all. - The Long Island Press

"Living End/Days of Rage/Bombers"

The Living End delivered a mild disappointment with their middling new album, State of Emergency, but still, it was hard to deter me from going to see a band I once considered (and still do to an extent) an all-time favorite in such a mind-bogglingly intimate state. The last time I'd seen the Australian trio it was May 2001 opening for Green Day at one of New York City's biggest indoor concert venues with a standing room floor (Hammerstein Ballroom). Here at Club Ritual in Levittown, NY, they played a stage that was no more than two feet high and 20 feet wide, under a ceiling that couldn't have been higher than eight to 10 feet -- along with a crowd that couldn't have been much higher than 60 at its peak. For this type of setting it was rather surreal to watch a band I'd been a fan of for so long that's essentially the Green Day of their home country.

It seems as though the band hasn't brought along a real support act with them on this current U.S. tour, so a meager two area bands got the chance to open for the punkabilly stars. Usually the booking companies around these parts will load up the show with a staggering number of openers, so it was refreshing to have a simple three-act lineup.

First up was Days of Rage. I was getting a weird Boys Night Out / iffy nü-emo vibe at first, which lingered a little bit through the set, but after a few songs it was clear the band's modus operandi was more melodic punk/hardcore in the vein of major label-era Rise Against. That and the four-piece's frontman was practically Tom Rheault's (No Trigger) vocal doppelgänger. The songs were a little raw and pretty scrappy, but I didn't mind the 32-minute set, and they seemed to have a solid political fervor about them as well. Mention was also made of their drummer, who happened to be John from Anterrabae (also seemingly of Bomb the Music Industry! song title fame) -- quite a considerable style change that he seemed to pull off well enough.

Next was Bombers. Coincidentally enough I'd just heard of them earlier in the day after receiving a press release regarding their support dates with Bayside. I didn't actually listen to them at the time, but their MySpace had listed them as "indie / pop / punk;" thus I assumed they played some type of unassuming indie pop. I'd also say that was pretty far off base. The first couple songs from the three-piece sounded sort of like the album Alkaline Trio is on pace to make in another five years; one of the guys sounded so much like (albeit, a little underdeveloped) Bayside's Anthony Raneri I was convinced it was either him or a direct relative. Their drummer even looked like Dan Andriano -- complete with Andriano's new snazzy glasses. But here's the thing: halfway through they played some weird power-pop song that began with a line talking about alligators -- and the next had dance beats. I didn't really know what to think. While they promised two more songs, I suppose their time was up and the set was forced to end abruptly. I bet their 10-15 friends and family that left immediately after they played were pretty pissed; I couldn't really remotely give a shit, obviously. Not horrible per se, but I've spent better 15 minutes.

At this point I still hadn't a clue to the actual lineup going down that night, but once I caught a surprising glimpse of that black stand-up bass I was thrilled; the Living End's instruments were taking their respective places on the stage. At 9:04 the trio modestly walked on to rousing applause for the crowd of 40 -- the number of people standing anywhere in or near the vicinity of the stage. Honestly, it's been a while since I've seen a band play as flawless as them; I was well aware I was witnessing one of punk's most talented acts, but it wasn't until a song in the encore that it sounded like they actually missed a note -- and I think even that was due to an out of tune guitar. They played what I felt were the better songs off State of Emergency too, and all came off splendid in the live setting -- even the quasi-ballad "Nothing Lasts Forever" thanks to its ridiculous hook. The audience benefited from the intimate setting in more ways than one: The band acknowledged and played two requests, both of which were from a single patron; "Fuck the set list," cracked Chris Cheney before tearing into "Monday" with the rest of the band. In the other request, the band offered a long, methodical pause before launching into the big stomp of "Uncle Harry." "All Torn Down" found the band delivering a fantastic, extended bridge, Cheney wailing away like a modern day Johnny B. Goode there and during an instrumental (which may or may not have been "Hellbound," doubtful though) where he held a foaming beer in one hand and his dancing pick in the other. Scott Owen rode his big bass effortlessly during "Second Solution," and Cheney even hopped on without a hitch for the final cut, "West End Riot" (though I'd have preferred another riot, the one on Broadway). Andy Strachan deserves a mention too for holding it down so consistently too.

The Living End is great in any setting, granted, but for an hour and 20 minutes in a tiny club in America's premier suburban town, you won't often get better parameters.



Days of Rage "One Shot Demo" 2006
Days of Rage "No Delay" [EP Out 11.11]



The story behind Days of Rage begins in the summer of 2001, when the Long Island based four piece, S.A.D. returned from their first cross country tour. S.A.D. had been a staple in the Long Island scene for half a decade and had done support for many notable acts, such as, AFI, The Ataris, Glassjaw, and the Suicide Machines (to name a few). S.A.D. played a brand of fast, aggressive, melodically driven political hardcore, and upon returning home to NY and seeing the events of 9/11 unfold, the band was fraught with uncertainty as to whether a political hardcore act could still be viable. Combined with heavy debts incurred from touring and strained interpersonal relations, the band played one final show, which Taking Back Sunday opened up for them at and soon disintegrated.
Ryan Poelker went on to form Anterrabae (Triple Crown Records) and Rick went on to build General studios in Douglaston, NY (Bayside, Kill Your Idols, etc.). Austin Leff went on to become assistant engineer at VuDu studios (As Tall As Lions, Hopesfall, etc) in Freeport, NY. Ken Belkin embarked on a prelaw/political science major at Hunter College in New York City and became active in political organizing. Steve, Austin, and Ken reconnected and began working on demos in 2005 at Vudu late at night during offhours. The band had soon compiled nearly a full album’s worth of material. After finding a bassist to round out the band they began playing shows in the local scene under the name Resistance. Resistance played about a dozen shows, some of which supporting The Casualties and Tsunami Bomb, before their new found bassist departed and they were forced to change their name.
At this point the three core members were fed up with rotating members and decided to give it a go as a three piece. A few shows were played, but none of them successful, and the band had come to the realization that Ken could not be constrained by a mic stand. A bulletin was posted on myspace in hopes of finding a bassist and Matt Edwards responded. After one audition it was clear Matt was to be a part of Days of Rage. His playing was tight and aggressive and his backup vocals added a new depth to the band.
Days of Rage played their first show at CBGB’s on September 11th 2006 and began playing an average of four-eight shows a month after that. Days of Rage began to catch the attention of the local scene and soon after their first show were playing support for the Living End and Deathcycle (ex Kill Your Idols). Days of Rage just finished recording their debut album which they plan to be the flagship release for their independent label, the Guerrilla Network. Produced by George Fullan (Taking Back Sunday, Kill Your Idols, Cindy Lauper) the album continues a tradition of fast aggressive political hardcore that is as catchy as it is intense. The album, "No Delay" will be available through iTunes this fall in North American, European, and Japanese. The band will be touring to support the release beginning with an east coast tour this fall.