Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Guest Review #1 - 420/Labora Tori CD Release Show - by Nick Miller

Welcome to the first guest review for Crucial Changes. This will be the chance for you, the reader to contribute to the blog. I am very open to any hardcore related submissions whether it be a show review, album review, show photos, or even rants and raves. The more that is submitted, the better the blog will become. Submissions can be sent to:


4/20: Labora Tori C.D. Release Show Review

April 20th, the one day out of the year where the almighty marijuana plant’s use is celebrated and exercised slightly more than usual. It was really almost the perfect day for Lincoln, Nebraska’s Labora Tori to release their first batch of recorded songs in the form of an Ep.

Note the key word in that last sentence.. ‘Almost’…

I awoke from a mid-day nap to a phone call from a friend who lived at the Ghost House, where Labora Tori’s record release show was taking place at that night at 8pm. He was wondering where everyone was because the show was apparently supposed to start soon and no one from any of the bands that were playing had shown up yet.

I looked at my watch… It was 7:45pm.

I walked downstairs to find over a dozen friends too-high-to-move in my living room (some of which were in two of the five bands playing that night). I looked at my brother Chris, the guitar player of Labora Tori who also set up the show, and told him that the Ghost House had just called me looking for everyone and that the show was supposed to start in ten minutes. Without even an ounce of concern in his voice, he casually looked in my direction and replied with, “We’ll get there, man…”

I guess that I had forgotten that this was the 4/20 show.

I arrived to Ghost House (a house on 25th and P St in Lincoln, Nebraska that puts on punk shows of all forms in their basement almost weekly and have for the past year and a half) to find the house filled with friends and people I had never seen before. There was no cover charge for the show so every Randy and their dog seemed to have shown up. And I’m not talking about random kids… I’m talking about random ass weird dudes that don’t even look like they’d enjoy loud music. At one point during Get Gnarly (a local hardcore band that only seems to play once in a blue moon when everyone’s trashed and ready to party)’s set, I looked over to see a middle aged man drinking a beer in the middle of everyone that was moshing. I think he left after someone knocked his beer out of his hand; spilling it all over my leg and the floor.

By the time the show had even started, the majority of everyone attending looked completely burnt out. The show definitely had a weird and unnerving feel to it if you were even the slightest bit sober. At one point a member of Hercules (another hardcore act fueled by pot, circle pits, Black Sabbath, and Big Cool’s hatred for everything that isn’t comic books and the Edge) yelled, “This place is getting weird man, somebody needs to break something!”. A resident of the Ghost House then picked up the closest thing he could find to break, which turned out to be a speaker to a stereo, and smashed it against the ground. Pieces of shrapnel ricocheted off of the ground and into the eyes of anyone near by who wasn’t paying attention. Yelling and more destruction ensued until a random Nu-Metal dude yelled, “Cowabunga!!”… And completely killed the mood.

I missed the first half of High Dive (the newest of new, heavy and fast, and sometimes groovy hardcore from Lincoln)’s first half of their set/epileptic seizure inducing light show because I was across the street at the BK Lounge waiting on my fucking three dollar milk shake.

It wasn’t even that good. But on the bright side, Big Cool and I witnessed an employee slip on some grease and disappear behind the counter while we waited. Big Cool had to leave immediately before he burst out laughing and probably really embarrassed said employee.

After Hercules, Borealis (named after weed, not the northern lights metal from Omaha) and Labora Tori played. They practically shared all of their equipment but it still took Labora Tori a half an hour to set up. Head banging ensued throughout Labora Tori’s technical and heavy riff filled, politically charged, and sometimes spacy songs. During their set, some Randy in a shirt promoting the legalization of marijuana looked back towards the 50+ people crammed in the basement and asked if it were ok if he started a mosh pit.

C.D.’s of Labora Tori’s first release entitled, “They’re Going To Kill Us All” and some tie-dye shirts were sold. I watched a ridiculous amount of people walk into the Ghost House and leave almost immediately after finding out that it wasn’t quite the party they had expected. A random band from Kearney showed up expecting to play without telling anyone before hand but didn’t. The show went on until almost one in the morning and most of the crowd stayed until then, which surprised me, because all I heard from everyone all night was how ready they were to just go to bed. Two Black Sabbath covers were played. And a phony cake made of Styrofoam smothered in frosting was left in the kitchen to taunt any of the stoned partygoers who tried to cut into it for a piece.

All in all, it was a pretty good time. As good as it could have been considering the circumstances. And I have to give props to Labora Tori for going through the trouble of releasing and album on a day dedicated to smoking copious amounts of weed and sitting around all day long, while they themselves took part in the festivities.

-Nick Miller

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