I don't know what's happened to Danbury, since it's still my favorite town in Connecticut, but when you get maybe one paying customer at a punk show featuring two decent bands from out of town, you kinda start to wonder. Not that there isn't anything else to do in Danbury; there's three decent indie clubs all within easy walking distance of each other, plus a lot of other stuff going on, so Danbury has a long way to go before it backslides into becoming a little pisshole of a scene like Waterbury used to be or whatever. Still, you gotta figure that an above-average punk show on a Saturday night should earn a decent walk-up crowd, just out of habit.
One of the bands that everyone missed last Saturday was The Dispensed, who are sorta new as far as I know, besides having recently added Chris Grivet from The Steinways on guitar (my list of fave '00s pop-punk bands has The Steinways right up there with Chinese Telephones and The Ergs)-- not like that's a selling point or anything, I'm just throwing it out there to make it look like I know what I'm talking about. No kiddin', though, I thought The Dispensed were really really good. The sound during their set wasn't so great; I could pick out who was playing what as long as I had my earplugs in, but when I took my earplugs out (which is usually what I do when I want to hear the band better), all I got was an indescernable mush. All that aside, though, what I heard was some good 70's glam-influenced pop-punk, like The Stiffs, D-Generation, and Dimestore Halos. The singer, Brian, kept jumping all the time which would've made a cool photo but I had my flash set too slow, which had me mumbling "fuck, stupid asshole" at myself every time I missed another one. I'd definitely go to see these guys if they ever played around here again, just to get a better idea of what they're up to.
The Challenged played next, and they were also good, as they reminded me of The Thumbs quite a bit, or even that one Face to Face song ("Disconnected") that I used to really like a lot. I had some catching up to do with them (Jim Testa's been telling me how great they are) so I bought a couple of their CDs, but even better are the three songs that they've got lined up for an upcoming split ("Consolation Prize", down below, is one of them) which I think beat the hell out of everything else they've done. I''l be ready to buy the shit out of it once it comes out.
"Cost of Higher Education"
The Dispensed -
"The Future is Unwritten"
(these files are now listen-only)