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Good Riddance
w/ Grade, Strike Anywhere and Donora's Center
June 16, 2002
Fitzgerald's - Houston, TX

Jay Debauchery
Staff Writer
Good Riddance (picture by Jennifer)

Thanks Victory, for forgetting to give me a guest list spot. But we did each other favors in the end. I still did my interview with Grade and since I had no money and the club needed extra security they let me in for free so I could be another pair of eyes and help out if needed. They also gave me free drinks too. Bonus.

Good Riddance has been having a dwindling draw in Houston for the last couple of years and with good reason. They haven’t put out anything good since Operation Phoenix (with the exception of the Kill Your Idols Split). It’s sad because those who just don’t care anymore and don’t do enough digging in the underground missed out on Strike Anywhere. But we’ll get to them in a second, let’s start with Donora’s Center. Bleh.

They played their instruments adequately enough (unless someone was singing. Then either singer would just hold his guitar like it was his dick) but the songs are just the same old cookie cutter done a million times and rarely well borings at pop punk with high and flat cutesy vocals. At least they could sing. These guys also had no stage presence whatsoever. To quote Homer Simpson, “BORing.“ But guys, learn to sing while playing or just get another guitarist. It has to be pretty embarrassing to play a lead intro for a song and then stand there the rest of its duration lightly clutching the microphone.

Strike Anywhere came up next and there were plenty of kids hyped to see these guys again. After all, it’s got Thomas from the Inquisition and he provides the same political and rebellious insight as everything else he’s ever done. The band was energetic, fun and tight. Intense as hell too. The balcony was empty by the time they were into their second song. They blew Good Riddance off of the fucking stage. This will be explained later. Onto Grade.

This was my fourth time seeing the band and lately they’ve just been on the VERGE of going off. It happened every so often in the past but this time they rivaled Strike Anywhere for performance of the night and a tough thing to do. The band was everyone on the stage and singer Kyle was more than generous with the microphone. Most of the crowd was assembled right at the front of the stage and it’s hard to cram about 50 - 60 people that close. They played a lot of material from their recent, Head First Straight Into Hell but also indulged in the best songs off of Under the Radar. Of course, they included their best song, “Conceptualizing Theories in Motion” in the middle of the set.

Good Riddance set up and took the stage rather quickly and started off strong. They hit the usual favorites off of their earlier albums and took a breather while the sample from Some Kind of Wonderful played in full before blasting into “Heresy, Hypocrisy, and Revenge” but that was all that was interesting for the night. The rest of the time they played newer crap from Symptoms of a Leveling spirit and the crowd calmed down. Good Riddance was just boring and lame this time.

Fun show thanks entirely to the middle bands but certainly not to the headliner who should have kept things rolling. Oh well, I guess now Good Riddance will learn not to take such great acts on tour with them if they want to keep being seen as a powerful live act.

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