Written by Samuel Barker
Oct 10, 2006 at 08:00 PM
ImageOver a decade ago, I stood as a grungy high school with dyed hair, studded belt, chains and hoodie outside of the Allen Parkway Village to see a band that changed my way of looking at punk rock and music in general, Inquisition. This band, hailing from Richmond, VA had a short life span, but released one great album and broke into 3 new bands: Ann Beretta, River City High and Strike Anywhere.

I had seen Ann Beretta and River City High in club scenarios before. Ann Beretta blew me away, River City High was a fun band, but I had always wanted to see what Thomas Barnett was up to. Last year, I caught the last 3 songs of their set at Warped Tour, but that wasn’t going to give you the whole picture. This night was special for me, because over 10 years later, I was getting to see the band led by a man who confirmed my love of music and punk rock.

Upon arriving at Walter’s, we could hear a familiar sound, upon entering the club, I saw dreadlocks flying across the stage and the band was playing Allies. We missed the first 2 songs of the set, but it didn’t matter as I found a position close to the stage and took in the site. The band was tight, the energy high and they rocked like I remember Inquisition doing so long ago. I felt like the 16 year old kid who believed in punk rock and felt the power.

Barnett took time between each song to discuss the theme of what they were singing. Rather than leave the audience to figure it out, he painted a picture to illustrate the point he was making with his lyrics. He also encouraged the audience to make a change in the world around them. The music and themes were positive and could make a difference if more people heard them.

I smiled ear to ear as the band tore through their set with the utmost precision and urgency. Whether watching in awe or framing the moment through my camera lens, it was an experience. The same type of experience seeing music should be. A moment of complete involvement and a connection between audience and band to make one ball of energy. Strike Anywhere brought this and the audience responded. This was worth the wait.

ImageAfter Strike Anywhere left the stage a few kids in the audience bailed out and headed home. These kids totally blew it. Because after Strike Anywhere, Bane hit the stage. Bane is a band who’s name I’d seen around the scene for many years, I’d just never had the chance to see them. Well, that changed on this night.

Bane hit the stage like an army storming a beach. They used their music to grab the audience by the head and make them pay attention to everything they did. I used to dig Converge back in the day, so when I found out guitarist Aaron Dalbec was from Converge, I was super stoked on the band.

Through songs like Ante Up, vocalist Aaron Bedard captivated everyone in the room. He had those who knew the words singing at the top of their lungs and those that didn’t just screaming anything that came to mind. All were dancing around and jumping on stage to embrace the band and quickly retreating back into the audience.

Between Strike Anywhere and Bane, two great examples of how bands should be were displayed. The audience were a part of the show…so much so it doesn’t do justice to refer to them as an audience. Everyone was an active participant in this night and made it special for all those who stuck around until the final note was played. This is how music should be, this is how I hope my band stays. Be safe everyone, and fight the good fight.