Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Character Builders - The hal al Shedad and Euphone/Heroic Doses at Under The Couch July 10, 1997

Here is our set: The hal al Shedad 1997.07.10 (Exhibit A)

Here is their set: Euphone/Heroic Doses 1997.07.10 (Exhibit B)

So when you are in a band, you can have great moments of satisfaction and enjoyment at your musical accomplishments, and you can also be unbelievably humbled and crushed, sometimes even in the same show. I like to call these humbling moments "character builders". In this case, we had just finished our set at Under the Couch (see exhibit A), and generally felt pretty good about the show. We were just about to leave for our European tour, and this was essentially our set that we were preparing for our trip to the fatherland. Then Ryan Rapsys, formerly the drummer of Chicago postpunk group Gauge, gets on stage with only his drumset and a sequencer and completely destroys the place (see exhibit B). Then, after several songs the guitarist from Five Style gets up on stage and they finish the place off as Heroic Doses. Unbelievable set, just makes you wonder why you pick up an instrument in the first place.

Thanks to Scott MC for sending me these recordings. I have a few Euphone albums, but none match the intensity of this live recording, where you can hear exactly how amazing the playing is without any studio trickery. There are also some Euphone videos you can see on Youtube, but don't really capture the essence of this one man band. Joan of Arc played after this, but after this set, everybody knew the show was over.

As for other "character builders", here are some of mine:

1. Car vs. Driver opening for Angel Hair and Current in Washington D.C.

2. Car vs. Driver opening for Hose Got Cable in Richmond

3. The hal al Shedad opening for The VSS in Atlanta

4. The Go-Steadys opening for The Special Beat at the Masquerade

5. The Midget Farmers opening for Action Patrol in Richmond

6. Car vs. Driver opening for Hoover in Auburn, Alabama

7. Car vs. Driver opening for The Yah Mos in New Jersey

What are yours?


  1. car vs driver opening for lungfish and brainiac at the midtown music hall.

    bloodspoon opening up for neurosis and buzzov-en at the masquerade-purgatory.

    bloodspoon opening up for born against at a house in ormewood park.

  2. Man. I love Heroic Doses. When it comes to instrumental rock bands, they just do it. It's mathy, yet tasteful and still grooves. And the instruments always sound good. You don't get board and think, "I wish this had vocals." And Ryan, damn, that kid can play. I love how he hits rimshots on his toms. You have to be so confident in your skills to just get up there and do that without a band in front of you. If you mess up, then, it's so obvious. He has no margin for error. He's very Stewart Copeland, yet way more out there. Just a really unmistakable, unique style he has.

  3. Ryan reminds me of Chris Farrall of The Sorts and Hoover, but with a little more Chicago post-rock feel. Both amazing drummers, both rocking Under the Couch in 1997.

    I remember the CVD set at the Midtown Music Hall with Lungfish and Brainiac being pretty rough on our end, which made Brainiac (touring under Smack Bunny Baby) seem like they were from another planet. Those guys could tear it up. Lungfish just doesn't even reside on our plane of existence.

  4. Just be thankful you opened for those shows and didn't headline over the bands.

    Humm...trying to think of humbling situations. Opening for Buzzov*en, Schlong, and Motherlode, it was our first show and obviously all those bands were sooooo much better than us.

    Oh, and opening for The Peechees. They were nice and humored us by saying we were good. We were not.

  5. Opening for Car Vs. Driver and opening for the hal al Shedad ; )

  6. how about opening for Earth Crisis in their hometown of Syracuse...fucking lame. it was humbling because when we played maybe 30 people could be bothered to pay attention, but when Earth Crisis played there had to have been 300 people going nuts.
    thanks Syracuse.

    in high school, having my mother yell downstairs, "Gray, telephone, it's Sam McPheeters"...and it actually was Sam McPheeters.

    opening for Avail way back when was always humbling, they were a great band circa 1990-91.

    there were tons of bands that after seeing them I would think, "how do you compete with that?"; Unwound, Floor, Born Against, Deadguy, Harvey Milk, Freemasonry, Helmet, Downcast, Today Is The Day, His Hero Is Gone, Buzzoven, Torches To Rome, Quicksand, Scrog, Unbroken, and on and on. although Regicide always put up a good fight...Pink Panties too.

    character builders...that's a good way to phrase it.

  7. man, motherlode fuckin rocked. i loved that band when i saw them.

  8. Ex Members Of... playing with Wardance Orange. They always trumped us. Or Crisis Under Control playing with Sleeper/Serpico. We played at a VFW/Lion's Club in Rockaway Beach and they only played three songs (one of which was an amazing cover of "Zombie" by the Cranberries), but those three songs were played on a level way higher than us.

  9. ummmm... opening for fugazi.

    and chocolate kiss opening for that crazy ass band in philly. the "something" Brothers. help me out with their name, james.

  10. They were called The King Brothers - and they were unbelievable. They know how to do it over there in Japan!

  11. Rabies Babies played with King Bros as well, down here at the Earl. I don't know if I'd call it a "character builder" (those are too shameful for me to disclose)but it was a really fun show. I don't think any of us had played with a Japanese band before, so it was a big deal...

  12. Thank you so much for posting the Euphone set, ludicrously fantastic band