It’s weird to stand in a sea of straight edge teenagers, tall can of beer in hand and many poor life choices behind you. Admittedly, it makes you think a little differently of yourself; uninvited soul searching comes into play. And, fuck, I hate thinking about myself. I’m a drunk; I smoke, eat shit and think too much about professional wrestling. It soon comes to me why I don’t attend more hardcore shows at a place like Peabody’s: I don’t like young kids and the ideals they carry.
Well, suck it up. I was there to see a little bit of Cleveland history. Hardcore Idol, Tony Erba was debuting his post-Nine Shocks Terror project, Cheap Tragedies. Erba has been pissing on the Cleveland musical landscape for a long time. If you’re reading this lame blog about our cum stain of a city, I would hope the name Face Value would hold great weight with you. If you’re memory is as wrecked as your looks, it might be easier if I reference Nine Shocks Terror and Gordon Solie Mother Fuckers. Three bands that are still talked about, from Parma to Tremont; stories of shitty behavior, fireworks and manic rants from Erba during song breaks abound.
Through this ugly lineage of thrash and hardcore bands, a little bit of legend and mystique has formed; surely enough to make Cheap Tragedies worth rubbing elbows with some serious suicide candidates.
The band kicked into to some solid youth-crewy riffs that were nothing more than expected, then a clash of cold steel made me jerk to my right; Erba was wiping several links of heavy chain like a fucking animal as he crept through the crowd, giving many kids in attendance their first whiff of Cleveland panache. Cue the black cats!
Tragedies play fast, they play few songs and it’s over before your mind begins to wander. That’s a backhanded compliment. It’s what I’ve come to expect from this style of music but with a little more Revelation Records to it and more rock and roll than punk hostility. Bassist Christopher Rager wasn’t afraid to get into your face while keeping up with the quick gunned drumming of Ian Thomas. Granted this is a scene I don’t often wander through, but I have never seen these fuckers and here they are inciting a circle pit (though it will be noted that this was a McDonalds circle pit, manufactured and friendly…until the end when some rad stage dives sent me ducking like a retard). Erba was his scary,
whipping his chain like a phallic symbol gone horribly wrong.
‘Going Going Gone’ left and impression; an eager look back on our city, referencing everything Cle, from Super Host to Chippewa Lake. The opening riff is simple, like something Fall Out Boy would write and then dismiss, then the shit kicks in giving Erba a couple of minutes to wonder what exactly happened to the Cleveland of his suburban youth. Yeah, I hear you man.
If I may, I’ll end with a lame device: let’s hope that Cheap Tragedies don’t end up a memory as many fondly remembered Clevo hardcore acts before them (Puncture Wound, anyone?). Yeah, I’m gonna say it. Let’s hope their run won’t be going, going…oh fuck it.--Chernus
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