I went to to Firmament in Greenville for the second time last night and much like the first I wasn’t there for the headliner. My first time there, which was also my first show in Greenville, was when I saw Nile open for Soulfly. That was a good set from Nile followed by a Soulfly set that was shorter and completely Sepultura-less compared to my first time seeing them. That circumstance repeated for headliner Leftover Crack and the much, much better Negative Approach.
But let’s start at the beginning. There were three bands listed to play, the third being called Crazy and the Brains. So I walked in as who I assumed was Crazy and the Brains were playing. They were pretty decent and they were not Crazy and the Brains. Some googling after I got home from the show revealed that band to be Greenville locals Horrible Girl and the Hot Mess. Note to bands, please identify yourself at the beginning and end of your sets, especially if you are the first band and you don’t suck.
As I watched the set up for the next band it soon became apparent it wasn’t Negative Approach. It was the actual Crazy and the Brains and . . . oh boy. I try not to be negative on here, somebody might have loved this performance and that’s cool, but this really wasn’t my thing. I would describe their sound as Rancid if Rancid had solos of those bell instruments kids play in junior high. Also the singer, Crazy I guess, began the set with an English accent but didn’t end it with one.
Next up was finally Negative Approach, the legendary hardcore band that began way back in 1981. This was my third time seeing them. The first was in a Hard Rock cafe, of all places, on the Scion Fest in Memphis. That was the metal and hardcore fest that the Scion car company had every year to promote themselves, it was totally free and almost no one mentioned Scion cars. (Jeremy from Touche Amore thanked them for flying TA and their friends to the show, other no mention of Scion at all.) I don’t know how this was supposed to sell cars but I do know that they don’t make Scion cars anymore . . . anyway that’s how I saw Negative Approach play in a freaking Hard Rock cafe on Beale Street half full of hardcore kids and half full of tourists not getting that quality Hard Rock cafe experience they envisioned. That show was weird and awesome. I did not buy a Scion car. The second time I saw Negative Approach they headlined another show in Memphis that was also a great time. This third time was not the same. I don’t blame the band, the venue was much bigger and there was a lot of empty space. Going in I was a bit mystified at how Negative Approach could be the opener and Leftover Crack the headliner but from the turnout that was the correct decision. The crowd was not into them, not they way Memphis had been anyway. There was a barrier preventing stage dives for one thing. Things were not as wild, not that is necessarily bad, I don’t miss getting hit the head at shows in my aging state but it was clear most people were Leftover Crack fans politely waiting for them. NA vocalist John Brannon looked pissed but then he always looks pissed. They played about 35 minuets.
Next up was Leftover Crack, this was actually my second time seeing them. I did a road trip that went through Philadelphia and I wanted to see a show there and Leftover Crack was my option. I’ve never been into them very much but in Philly it was a solid show and when they got to the end and played Rock the 40 Oz I remembered that I used to like that song. Last night was nowhere near that good though. First of all they played maybe 35 minuets as the headliner. Leftover Crack’s vocalist spent a lot of time sitting on a bench in front of the keyboard, like he was tired. A different vocalist came out and did some of the vocals on songs and also spent about 5 minuets of that short set time doing the poem Jabberwocky for unexplained reasons. It was one of the shortest headline sets I’ve ever seen and the ones shorter we’re likely due to indifferent crowds small enough to count. Leftover Crack did not have that excuse. The crowd was decent sized, there seemed to be more people than when NA played and they were very into the show. They just didn’t get much of it.