Review & photos by Rachel Jablonski
I WANT TO WALK AWAY BUT I SIT AND WATCH YOU SLOWLY FALL IN AND OUT OF CONSCIOUSNESS… THE PAAAAAAAAAAAAAAIN! I screamed. An intense fan of “Pain & Panic,” my song of the year for 2005, I was – ok so I can’t hardcore yell exactly – but I was screaming along to the song with A Life Once Lost while up front in the intimate setting at Gabes Oasis in Iowa City, IA. Suddenly vocalist Bob Meadows is bent down in front of me, his face close to mine. Instinctively, I back up a little giving him some room. But no, he motions with his finger for me to come closer and as I yell he shoves the mic at me. Next thing I know I’m screaming with him into the mic, lips pressed against the wet and squishy microphone surface full of Bob saliva.
Having missed A Life Once Lost at the Sounds of the Underground tour last summer, I have been waiting to see the band since their album, Hunter, came out on Ferret Music last year. Crowd expectations were low for an early all ages show on a Monday night, but never underestimate the crazy kids in Iowa City. The decent showing said nothing for the massive amount of energy in the room.
Breaking into the set with “Rehashed,” which now has a video filmed live from Sounds of the Underground 2005, the band had immediate crowd reception. Having spoken briefly with the band prior to the show, the aggressive release on stage entirely masked their off stage mellowness. Mimicking this transformation, a brutal pit composed of hardcore kids broke out for most of the show. The heavy music produced a healthy release for me as well, “Grotesque” being my current theme song for a recent life situation.
The set consisted of nine songs off of Hunter, one right after another. Guitar solos, hair flying, a front man spouting unyielding and thoughtful lyrics, and rather unpredictable beats served a wholesome dose of metal. The grand finale, the band’s first single, a song called “Vulture,” was pure and complete chaos. One fan on stage all out screaming along with Bob, most fans screaming along the words, fists in the air, the pit continued, the crowd in control. As the song came to a close, I will haunt you I will hunt you… till you die!, fans came on stage, surrounding the band and going completely crazy. Band members smiled at each other in approval as Bob exclaimed, “Iowa, we didn’t expect much from this show, thank you so much!”