Anything But Lethargic
Lethargy at the Water Street Music Hall in Rochester, New York
with Forward Now and Time's Up

by: Brian Meloon
This was the CD release party for Rochester's Lethargy (see reviews in CoC #4 and this issue), who released their debut CD, _It's Hard to Write With a Little Hand_. Deadguy, who are apparently big Lethargy fans, were scheduled to headline, but they never showed. A quick scan of the crowd revealed a mixed bag of metalheads and hardcore types, with a sizeable contingent of people who looked like neither: mostly (pre?) teen boys and girls. The show was all-ages, and probably 200 or 300 people showed up: a good crowd, but not even half of the venue's capacity.

Forward Now lead off the ticket with a 20-minute set consisting of four songs; two new and two from their demo, _Smileremover_ (see CoC #9). They stayed away from their more industrial songs (although using a drum machine played on an ADAT still gave them an industrial feel), instead choosing to concentrate on their heaviest and most metallic/hardcore offerings, such as "Coward White Man". The crowd didn't really get into their set, which was probably mostly due to their unfamiliarity with the band, but also perhaps had something to do with the tempo of the songs. They didn't stay at a consistent, moshable speed for very long: the fast parts were too fast, and the slow parts were too slow. Unfortunately, the sound wasn't very good either. Although it wasn't too loud (ear plugs optional), it sure sounded that way. It was very muddy and difficult to really hear what was going on. The guitarist and bassist seemed to be playing complex parts, but it really was impossible to tell that they weren't just faking it and moving their hands up and down their fretboards. Still, it was an entertaining and energetic set.

The sound problems continued through Time's Up's set. Not being familiar with these guys, I didn't pay close attention to their set. They seemed like a typical hardcore band. They were certainly competent on stage, and the crowd really got into it. The security had their hands full, and they escorted at least one irate individual out, with the security guy telling him "that's not 'having fun.'" They played for about 30 minutes, enough time to complete probably 8 or 9 songs.

Last up for the evening was Lethargy. I caught nearly all of their fifty-minute set, and it was well worth the price of admission. They ran through nine of the songs on their debut CD (minus the remixed final track) virtually note for note, which is quite an accomplishment considering the complexity and technicality of their compositions. My personal favorite was the long and technical "Medley", although the crowd seemed to prefer their closing number, "Spill". The sound was dramatically improved, being louder (ear plugs encouraged, but not essential), and much clearer. There was a little banter between songs (such as: "This is a song about an ex-bitch. It's called 'Erased'."), but not too much. Other than a delay while the band members and some audience members had shots, the set was fairly fast moving, and the audience really got into it. Much of the time, Lethargy's music was too complex, intricate, and/or quirky to really mosh to, but there were at least a few sections in each song that got the pit moving. I'm a little surprised that they didn't have an encore, since the crowd really liked them. In fact, I'd speculate that Lethargy was even a bigger draw than Deadguy. In any case, they played long enough for me to have a good time and get my money's worth.

(article submitted 11/10/1996)

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