This was the first time I'd ever been to O'Brien's, which, if you were knocked out cold and dumped on the floor there, as soon as you woke up you'd know right away that you were in Mass. because there's Keno on the walls. The rest of us would know because it cost $6.05 in tolls just to get there. I had no idea who Yi (pronouced yee) were when I first walked through the door, besides that they were from Oakland (pronounced True O. Finley), but I was paying attention once they started playing cuz they immediately blew my ears fucken open. This was PRF rock at its finest, sounding about half like Thee Hydrogen Terrors crossed with some Albini(-recorded) band. (As it was, O'Brien's played almost all of "1000 Hurts" over the PA after Blessed State's set: "this is a saaaad fucking song") Yi stormed thru maybe about 5 or 6 songs and then stopped, so they're no doubt gifted with great timing on that end, plus there's every reason to like a band that announces during their set, "We flew out all the way from Oakland just for the Vile Bodies reunion," and then has a song called "Total Shit System" that doesn't sound like Discharge.
As for Blessed State, their set was hampered by O'Brien's muddy sound-- I can already tell that their thick "In a Free Land"-era Hüsker Dü-type approach isn't ever gonna sound clean in that place, maybe there's too many windows or something-- but they're already writing songs that are better than just about anything on their demo, and after seeing them only about seven times now I'm starting to figure out that their drummer's pretty good. I think this was also the first time I noticed Kiana's Negative Approach back patch, which is a neat-o thing, hoss, just figured I'd mention it.
Estrogen Highs headlined, and with a week's worth of hindsight I can say that this definitely ranks among the top five sets that I've ever seen them play, even though they suffered from a funny mix to start out with-- both Mark and Wes were louder than Stefan, with Wes booming over everybody-- until the sound guy fixed it about a third of the way through. They brought out a bunch of new songs, with most of them coming across as being a lot harder than the last record, although there was one slower song that sorta chugged along like "Irresponsibility" a bit. The best new song was "This Harsh Country" (I didn't know that was the name of it at the time, I had to ask later), which is built around a knock-out speedy Wipers riff and could turn out to be their most ruthless stab at overt rockness since most of the tracks on the Telephone Explosion tape. Their set ended with a ferocious version of "This Mild Delusion" and then Stefan standing on top of his guitar, making huge feedback noises while all the hippy-dippy types in front were yelling at him to stop it.
"Grass of Leaves"
Blessed State -