Hot Water Music
with Leatherface, Panthro UK United 13, and the Causey Way
The Covered Dish, Gainesville, FL • June 23, 1999
Despite getting to the Dish at a few minutes after 10, I missed openers the Causey Way. Panthro UK United 13 came on and did the Gainesville emo-anthem thing they do so well; they’re a 4-piece with a two-Marshall attack like closers Hot Water Music. The crowd was decidedly underappreciative, and no amount of cajoling from the singer appeared to help, despite tunes like the most hook-laden song of the evening, “F*ck LA,” and the bassist jumping around like a maniac. They didn’t help their own cause by restringing onstage instead of simply switching to a second guitar when a string broke, something I’ve seen other bands do more than once and will never understand. Even so, they deserved a better reception.
Leatherface came on next, and the crowd response was decidedly better. The English band had recently reformed after quitting in the early ’90s, so maybe between the nostalgia and the foreigness they got a bit more respect. For several songs, the soundboard had a tough time trying to figure out how to mix the lead singer’s voice, which gives new meaning to the term “cigarette-whiskey rasp.” They played most or all of the songs from their new BYO split with Hot Water Music, along with what must’ve been some old faves, from the crowd response. The pit action was heavy, and several people had heat prostration, with at least one having to be carried outside for fresh air. One song started with the Panthro and HWM lads called out onstage for an a cappella football-chant, followed by the Panthro singer flinging himself down into the audience when the song kicked in. The lead guitarist did what was closest to traditional lead work from any of the bands, although even his stuff could’ve been a little less integrated into the overall sound.
Hometown heroes Hot Water Music closed this emocore lovefest, one member proudly declaring he was riding his bike home and was not getting back in that van! After finally getting a setting right for Leatherface, the vox on the first HWM song were only barely audible, and again it took several songs for the vocals to become somewhat clear; they never really reached the point where the words were distinguishable once the guitars kicked in.
It didn’t really matter. By the second song the kids were singing along anyhow, and the slamming and stage diving continued unabated. The cops arrived and the show was momentarily stopped with a plea not to crush up near the stage, and then the show went on. There was a lot of affection – not only between the HWM members, but by the bands for one another; they had been on tour awhile already, and all three bands spoke of their admiration for, and thanked, the other bands. Guess that’s why they call it “emo.” Frankie from Leatherface came out and sang along near the end, doing this goofy dance that looked like a wounded seagull doing jumping jacks, and then everyone went home happy.