with the Mercury Program
The Heritage Center, Vero Beach, FL • August 18, 2000
with True North
The Market Street Café, Gainesville, FL • August 19, 2000
Discount has come a long ways over the past five years. From their mid-teen beginnings touting their first demo at local warehouse shows through three full-lengths, bunches of singles and compilation appearances, and extensive touring through the US, Canada, Europe, and Japan. The music has matured in tandem with the members, evolving from J Church influenced pop-punk into something more mature and Fugazi soaked. Now it was time to end Discount as the members went on to new things.
There were to be two shows, one in their hometown of Vero Beach, the other in their more recent home of Gainesville. In the spirit of looking forward rather than dwelling on the past, the last show was to be Gainesville. The Vero show was a necessary tribute, but it also wasn’t anywhere near where they were now as a band or as people.
The shows clearly reflected this as well. The Vero show was okay, but it wasn’t the same spirit as in years past. The staleness affected the energy that was present at the Heritage Center that night. One of the notable differences from the Gainesville show was watching Alison do some sort of spoken word piece over an instrumental song by the Mercury Program while wearing a helmet. Still, the overall feel of the show was more one of revisiting old memories rather than of closing current ones.
Gainesville was the following night. The show was held at the Market Street Caf•. There were quite a lot of people there early and it was nice to meet other people from around the world. I met one fellow from England and another who had jumped a freight train from Chicago. The excitement level for the show this night was obviously high.
Things were started off with a tape played over the sound system relating various punk show stories that someone had gathered that focused on Florida’s past. Slides showing different areas of Florida’s geography were projected on a screen all the while. Interesting, funny tales when they could be heard, such as finally hearing the whole story behind the legendary Asscannon. It would be neat to hear that tape when it was actually possible to concentrate on it. Nonetheless, it put the night in an interesting perspective. Bands come and go, the cycle continues. It’s nice to have a chance to say goodbye to something dear, but other things will grow in its place.
Gainesville’s own True North opened, fittingly wearing black armbands. While they’re one of my favorite things I’ve heard lately from up that way, I’m likely to do them an injustice trying to describe them. Still… screamy-sung vocals with frantic energy. Taut and fractured in the best ways, with some great melodies strung through. Members have been in Tired From Now On, Strikeforce Diablo, Twelve Hour Turn, and Palatka, if that gives you any sort of framework. There’s an MP3 on the No Idea site (see address below), and their demo is well worth getting, if you’re curious, or their full length on No Idea should be out soon enough.
Nice shirts, too: “I went to the last Discount show and all I got was this shitty True North shirt.” Ha.
Discount played by far the best show I have ever seen them play. Every little ounce of energy and emotion they had went into that set. They were surrounded on all four sides by people, and the energy flowed back and forth. They played for two hours, going through 36 songs in all. Everything from “Disappointed” from their demo and “On The Tracks” from the classic Wonder Pulled Me Under seven-inch to the artist-approved cover of “A Pict Song” by Billy Bragg from the Love, Billy EP, as well as newer songs like “Math Won’t Miss You” from Crash Diagnostic. There was a brief break in the middle as their old bass player James came out and did two acoustic songs with Alison (“Fixing Rubble Building Us” from the split CD with Crettin’s Puddle and “Most Brutal Criminal” from the Open Ended Aerial seven-inch). Beautiful and heartwarming.
After the show, the clapping and yelling went on forever. They were a little overwhelmed with the sentiment, but just didn’t know any other songs. That’s all right. I think people really just wanted to stand there and express their love and appreciation through clapping. The experience of being in Discount has no doubt altered and shaped the members in many ways, and it’s done the same thing for a lot of the people present in the room that night, whether through songs or through shared experiences.
And in the aftermath, what now? New American Dream is no more, so the full-lengths will be reissued on No Idea, along with a compilation of all their seven inches and comp tracks. I’ve heard rumors of a video of the last shows, but who knows whether or not that will come to pass. Meanwhile Bill’s playing in Unitas with Todd, who is also playing in Tiger Mouth. Unitas is playing two shows in October (check the calendar). Alison’s in London somewhere, supposedly joining a band. Ryan’s in Scotland and has a rather dancey project called Digital Gorilla. For more information, visit: http://www.discounttheband.com, http://www.noidearecords.com, http://www.listen.to/digitalgorilla.