Last night (9/30) at Irving Plaza, Quicksand played their second to last date of a North American jaunt that kicked off back on 9/5 at Neumos in Seattle. The current tour is not only a celebration of their impeccable and iconic back catalog, but it also served to get their legions of fans familiar with and totally cranked about Interiors, their first new release in 22 years (it drops on 11/10 via Epitaph). Last night's gig was the ultimate hometown-throwdown where nearly everyone in the massively sold-out crowd knew every word to (almost) every song and had no problem scream-singing along with the band. Though they've been reduced to a three-piece outfit due to some unfortunate circumstances surrounding guitarist Tom Capone, Quicksand sonically bulldozed the place as if nothing ever happened. With support from Canadian shoegazers No Joy and merciful set times, last night was one of the best nights out I've had in a while.
No Joy kicked things off a little after 8pm and tore through a mega-satisfying set that was awash with super dense guitar riffs, hypnotic drum beats, chunky basslines, and mesmerizing vocals. This was my personal first time ever hearing this band and I am very pleased with myself that I got to the venue in time to catch their entire set. Though they fall more into the My Bloody Valentine-esque side of the shoegaze spectrum, I thought they were a fantastic choice of opener for a band as patently post-hardcore as Quicksand. My only complaint is that I wish they were way louder. Maybe that's just the My Bloody Valentine fan in me who believes that something that sounds like that should be as enveloping and as painfully loud as possible. As a No Joy n00b I couldn't really tell you specifically what they actually played, but I can tell you that I am officially a fan who shall spend this afternoon diving ears-first into their discography so that next time I have chance to review them I can blow your minds with song-title knowledge. However, if the pattern I see based on previous shows on this tour are any indication, their short set consisted of "Slug Night", "Lizard Kids", "Califone", "Lunar Phobia", "Hare Tarot Lies", "Hawaii", and "E."
Without a second support act, Quicksand took to their blindingly brightly lit stage at around 9:20pm (like I said, set times were merciful) and delivered a very loud, very heavy on the low-end, very satisfying, 18-song setlist that was fairly evenly mixed with tracks from Slip, Manic Compression, and Interiors (with "Shovel," the B-side of the "Thorn in My Side" single from 1995, thrown in for good measure). Being my first foray into their new tunes and harboring a nagging skepticism about how they'd stack up against tried and true classics, I was extremely eager to see where the new stuff would be dropped into their set. The first six-track onslaught was comprised of tunes from their indispensable 1993 release Slip and included "Fazer", "Too Official", "Head To Wall", "Unfulfilled", "Freezing Process", and "Lie And Wait." From there they went into "Delusional" from 1995's Manic Compression which then segued into uncharted territory; "Illuminant" from their upcoming release Interiors. Nagging skepticism: BANISHED. In this live setting, the heavy riffage of "Illuminant" locked arms with the rest of the setlist and absolutely slayed. The first two minutes of the song is pure heviosity, followed by a 1-minute breakdown, finally exploding with a final minute of signature Quicksand post-hardcore thunder. By following this new track with the classic "Thorn in My Side" from Manic Compression, Quicksand showed unequivocally that they are still a force of reckoning in post hardcore and can still deliver the goods. Other newbies like "Hyperion," "Interiors," and "Under the Screw" didn't disappoint either. I know a lot of hardcore Quicksand fans are slightly dubious about a new album following two masterpieces nearly 22-years later, but from what I heard last night the new stuff is simply a long delayed continuation of the greatest post-hardcore band doing what they do best.
Admittedly, I was also a little dubious about the band serving up a proper Quicksand experience as a three-piece outfit. The first time I saw Quicksand was almost exactly 22 years ago on September 24, 1995 at Axis in Boston with Civ and Dandelion, and I've seen them numerous times subsequently. There was always something so crucial about the guitar interplay between Tom Capone and Walter Schreifels and I was actually pretty sad to hear of his departure from the group. At last night's show, I had one friend who found Tom's absence unmistakable and distracting, while another didn't miss him for a second. I fall more into the latter camp as there is no denying that Walter, Sergio, and Alan had absolutely zero problem taking up the slack. There were a few moments where I definitely did feel Tom's absence, but it was so minimal and unremarkable. Walter, the patron saint of New York Hardcore (to me) has no problem whatsoever shouldering Tom's absence, and not just musically. Last night he was nothing but enthusiasm; all smiles, all scissor kicking, and absolutely tearing the living scheiße out of his axe.
Last night's gig was a testament to longevity and post-hardcore acumen. It is clear that the Quicksand story is approaching a new important chapter and I can only hope that last night's gig was the first of many future outings with them. Quicksand wrap up their tour tonight (10/1) at Warsaw in Brooklyn (but first Walter plays the Raybeez tribute matinee in Tompkins Square Park) and take a month and a half break before heading across the pond for a few dates in Germany, the Netherlands, Italy, Switzerland, and the UK. Interior is currently available for pre-order, and you can listen to new crusher "Illuminant" below.
Check out last night's setlist below.
UPDATE: The Warsaw show happened. Check out pics:
QUICKSAND : IRVING PLAZA : 9/30/17
Head To Wall
Lie And Wait
Thorn in My Side
Under the Screw
Skinny (It's Overflowing)
front page photo by Atiba Johnson