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Factory 81,
Relative Ash,
and Downset
January 20, 2001
At Fitzgerald's
Houston, TX

by Samuel Barker
January 21, 2000

Factory 81! Despite having a substantial cold, I went to see Detroit's very on Factory 81 when they stopped here in Texas. Anyone who has seen this band knows that their shows are off the hook. I was especially excited for this show because they'd have a full stage to work with. I was also stoked because a band I had heard a lot of good thing about, Relative Ash, was opening. I also learned upon arriving that a band called Downset was headlining, who turned out to be a pretty good band.

The first set of the night I saw was Relative Ash. This band blew me away, they were way tight and insane. High energy from start to finish. I didn't know any of their songs because this was the first time I had heard them, but most of them were easy to pick up and screaming along on the choruses wasn't hard at all. They played a solid set that kept the entire crowd behind them the entire set. I was impressed with the energy of the band and couldn't help but move around and dance. Great band to see.

Now was the time for what I came to see, Factory 81 fucking shit up! The set started with "Nanu" which is one of my favorite songs Factory 81 plays. First off, Nate Wallace knows how to be a great lead vocalist, he plays to the crowd, talks to them, and gets everyone rallied behind them. Bassist Kevin Lewis is just as insane. When does his backing vocals he stalks the microphone, then just attacks it and screams his heart out. Bill Shultze and Andy Cyrulnik do a great job of keeping the order and keeping the tightness of the music while Lewis and Wallace get nuts. The entire crowd got behind the band. It was a rare moment that people weren't singing along. The second song was "Peace Officer", which at that point we didn't realize how much the song would be illustrated that night. Factory 81's set was fast and tight, but came to end to quickly because the time allowance on this night wasn't as long as most would have liked. The band closed with my favorite track, "14 Left". I had no problem singing along and jumping around while they poured all their energy into this last song. Definitely the best set of the night.

The final band of the night was "Downset". Not really having heard them much, and not really wanting to stay at the show too late I decided to skip out on the set. Well, when I hit the door I found out the police weren't letting anyone in or out because someone on the club's balcony threw a beer bottle at a cop car. So I decided to head back upstairs to listen to Downset. They were really good. I'd say more hardcore sounding than new "metal" but a really good band. They reminded me a lot of Snapcase with lower pitched vocals. About 6 songs into the set I decided to go downstairs and see what was taking place when a group of police, TABC officers, and the Houston fire marshall came through the door. Not wanting to be involved in a case of police dick waving I made my way upstairs to enjoy the rest of Downset's set. Well, unfortunately as I got up and back into the mood of the set the fire marshall had the place shut down. So in mid-song, mid-note, mid-scream the sound was cut and the announcement made that the cops had come to find who threw a bottle at their car and to harass Fitzgerald's for letting too many people into the show. I don't think the cops handled everything in the coolest manor, but they had every right to find the person who threw the bottle at their car, but it's unfair to punish everyone who had no knowledge about the event or no means to stop the event from taking place. But, life isn't fair. Till next time, take care and fight the good fight!

Samuel Barker is Senior Editor. Contact him at suma@rockzone.com.

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