Life Of Agony - Glasgow 13th Dec 2005 Review

Review Type: Gig
New York Hardcore band return to tour the UK following their reformation in 2003 and new album
Life Of Agony - Glasgow 13th Dec 2005
Life Of Agony are a hugely frustrating band. First
introduced to the world in 1993 with their classic
debut album River Runs Red they were a breath of fresh
air to the hardcore scene. With the world at their
feet they then proceeded to release 2 albums that took
them to a more mainstream and ultimately inferior
style and comeback album Broken Valley follows pretty
much the same trend. So why am I here to see a band
that have largely disappointed? Well, truth be told,
I'm a sucker for nostalgia and I'm really hoping to
hear those old RRR tracks again, and one glance at the
River Runs Red t-shirts adorning the merchandise stall
suggests I might be in for a treat!

Don't Bother from the new album is a poor choice of
opener and it's shown by the lacklustre reception it
gets from the crowd but perhaps it's a blessing in
disguise because the sound mix is pretty awful
(unusual for the Cathouse) but is thankfully fixed
(albeit the drums and bass are too loud all night) in
time for the second song of the night, the classic
This Time, which receives a huge cheer and sees a
general movement of bodies toward the stage. Those
familiar with the track and indeed singer Keith
Caputo's background will know of the highly personal
lyrics but what is astounding is the enormous amount
of emotion Caputo puts into a song that was penned 13
years ago. It's as if every single word still cuts
like a knife and happened only yesterday, fantastic
qualities in a frontman.

The set list is a die-hard LOA fans dream come true.
The majority of material is pulled from the debut and
sounds terrific, Bad Seed and My Eyes in particular
being surprise highlights. As well as that we get the
cream of the other two albums i.e. Weeds & I Regret,
and the newer material sounds a little more hardcore
live than it does on record, The Day He Died in
particular standing proud amongst an impressive set.
But it's when they play the old stuff that they really
are in a league of their own and it makes you wonder
why they don't write more hardcore stuff anymore when
it's clearly what their fans love most and they
recognise that by playing so much of it live.

So, sounds perfect right? Well not quite, there are
some disappointing moments. Lost At 22 (aptly
re-titled Lost At 32!) sounds rather disjointed mainly
due to Caputo singing off the beat which he does more
than a few times during the course of the night. At
first it seems to be a consequence of the emotion put
into the singing but after a while you start to wonder
if it's the effects of those beers between songs...and
while we're on the subject, it seems the beers help
loosen Caputo's tongue and during one break between
songs he goes off on a rant which doesn't go down too
well. He does a quick about turn and claims he's "just
f***ing with us" but it is a cringe worthy moment and
his band-mates look as uneasy as the crowd.

Things are brought to a suitable close with a storming
rendition of River Runs Red, no encores for this band
(that's real hardcore that is), but the edge has
already been taken off an otherwise very good night.
Pity.
Reviewer: Marky Boy
The verdict: 7 - Excellent set list + too many beers = flawed genius