February 19, 2015 Local H electrify Revolution Music Hall Amityville, NY 2-10-15
Many may remember the spawning of a new breed of Alternative Rock during the 1990s. Vanishing was the glamorous costumes and flair of the decade prior and ushered in was a raw uninhibited mix of angst and reality. While bands like Nirvana, Alice in Chains, and Pearl Jam may have dominated the market, there were also many others whose names often go unmentioned, but still left a lasting mark on the scene. Among those were Zion, Illinois’ Local H. Initially coming together with guitarist/vocalist Scott Lucas and drummer Joe Daniels, the band became known for energetic live shows as they broke into the mainstream with their debut album Ham Fisted in 1995. Now celebrating twenty-five years since the band’s inception, Local H generously tour through late Spring. Bringing the show to Revolution Bar & Music Hall in Amityville, New York on Tuesday February 10th, dedicated fans packed out the room to hear the band churn out raucous tunes.
Kicking of the night was local act Nifty Breed. Led by guitarist/vocalist Matty Marcus, Dave Dixon on drums, and Kat Pulsonetti on bass, Nifty Breed played a powerful set of Hard/Alternative Rock. Seeped in feedback, Marcus provided head-banging riffs while Dixon’s frenetic drumming was paired perfectly with Pulsonetti’s intense bass playing. The band’s thirty minute set featured all originals with exception of a blistering cover of Nirvana’s “In Bloom.” Marrying a complex blend of the styling ranging from Smashing Pumpkins, Nirvana, and Pearl Jam, Nifty Breed had a more metallic sound featuring scorching solos from Marcus. Their debut album Keep Quiet was released in 2013 and deserves some attention.
Another Long Island outfit all the way from Sag Harbor going by the name The Glazzies took the stage after Nifty Breed and carried the Hard Rock/Grunge torch. Guitarist/vocalist Peter Landi and drummer Dave Horn picked up a bass player that afternoon, and if they had not announced it, the audience would never have known as they plowed through a thirty minute set flawlessly. Taking their cue from the harder and heavier bands of the glory days of grunge, The Glazzies went full tilt from beginning to end. Intricate, fuzz-laden guitar solos were the order of the day for the band as Landi’s Heavy Metal influenced guitar play was the perfect counterpart to the tight rhythm. Apart of Old Flame Records, The Glazzies are a band to watch out for.
After two respectable and fitting opening acts, the time had come for the main attraction in Local H. Having recently toured with Filter and Helmet in 2014, Local H fans now benefit from this headlining run in 2015 where they will have a chance to hear a more complete set. Despite not releasing a studio album since 2012’s Hallelujah, I’m a Bum, the band tours relentlessly, and judging by the full house at Revolution, they are still welcomed with open arms.
Immediately electrifying the evening, they opened their set with new track “Mansplainer,” from their forthcoming April 2015 release, Hey, Killer. Featuring a heavy, yet upbeat melody on guitar, Lucas growled the vocals as Harding smashed away at the cymbals virtually throughout the track. Embodying catchy Hard Rock, the song set the stage for another newbie by the name of “City of Knives.” With its Punk Rock aesthetic, the track got the crowd banging their heads as the band echoed the best of classic era Stooges and MC5, replete with howling vocals. On “Deep Cut” the band showed no signs of taking their foot off the gas as they blew through the song with a sludgy riff, thundering drums, and screeching vocals. The crowd was now fully engaged, soaking up the energy from the band.
Slowing things down a tad, the band performed older mid-paced rocker “Eddie Vedder” featuring the question, “If I was Eddie Vedder/would you like me any better?” Here the band showed that they did not have to rely on bombast alone as they performed a perfectly crafted Pop/Rock number with a straightforward riff and a catchy chorus. A brief respite, the band tore into “Bag of Hammers” which featured a riff reminiscent of the best Thrash Metal, as well as propulsive drumming to match. Going into 2008’s “The One With Kid” found the band turning to a more atmospheric sound as Lucas strummed a light melody and sang quietly for the first half of the song before cranking out a thick, dense riff in classic soft-heavy Pixies style. Also performing “Taxi Cabs” from concept album Twelve Angry Months, Grunge era perfection was showcased as the riff and drumming sped along in contrast with quick breaks featuring stabbing guitar notes. “Nothing Special” followed in the same vein with a sludgy, pulsating riff and gravelly vocals singing about being an angst-ridden loner, with no hope for the future as Lucas wailed, “We’ve got a life of scratching tickets/at the local gas and stop/So suck on another whippit and hear the brain cells pop/I know I’m nothing special/I know I’m nothing different”, closing it out by repeating “What’s wrong with me?” in a harrowing scream.
Wrapping up a fourteen song set, “Fritz’s Corner” showcased the band’s signature sound as Lucas belted out lyrics a capella before thunderous drums and screeching guitar took over. The fast-paced rocker left no mystery as to why the band was compared to Grunge gods Nirvana when they first hit the scene. Like all great bands, Local H’s influences are clearly heard, but rather than copy them, they take the best of them and put their own spin on it. After a brief exit, fans cheered for more and the band came out for an impressive six song encore. Starting out with standout live song “The Misanthrope,” Local H spit out the rapid fire number with forceful aggression, bringing the crowd right back to relentless head-banging. Provoking more intensity, another new song, “John the Baptist Blues,” followed as the band’s sound got increasingly heavier. “Bound for the Floor” brought a rousing cheer from the crowd as the band played the song that helped propel their sophomore effort, 1996’s As Good as Dead, to gold status after reaching #5 on the U.S. Alternative Billboard Chart and #10 on the U.S. Hot Mainstream Rock Billboard Chart. Winding down the show with “High-Fiving MF,” featuring ’50s girl group drum intro a la The Shangri-Las and the Ronnetes, the song raged vitriolic lyrics toward posers and the folks who made growing up in a small town hell for Lucas. Over an airy, sonic riff, Lucas snided, “You’re just a walking billboard for all the latest brands/you’ve got no taste in music and you really love our band/you’re haircut is atrocious, it’s been the same since ‘83/your glory days are over and so’s your stonewashed jeans” perfectly summed up Local H’s propensity for being the mouthpiece for those stuck in suburban hell with no end to the misery in sight.
Local H were exactly as their reception advertises, raw, energetic, and intense. They proved that despite not receiving the commercial success they rightfully deserve, this band still resonates with fans. Showing they still have plenty left to offer to the Rock scene after twenty-five years, the release of Hey, Killer April 14th, along with more touring, is sure to arouse more excitement.