Ross Farrar of Ceremony
Ceremony @ 7th St Entry
June 19th, 2012
Last Tuesday, punk fans showed their dedication as they showed up for what seemed like an ungodly early show at the 7th Street Entry, 5 PM. The reason? Ceremony, probably the most talked about hardcore punk band in years, was to debut the songs off their new album, Zoo. While many have been calling their most recent release “disappointing”, the live performance of these songs themself did not disappoint. What did disappoint, was after seeing countless videos of Ceremony shows on the West Coast, where they have gained an almost cult-like following, the audience at the 7th street was neither typical of West-Coast Ceremony shows nor Minneapolis underground punk shows.
Openers White Lung, hailing from Vancouver, whom I personally was extremely excited for, as a friend had shot me a YouTube video of their tracks months earlier, seemed to rush through their set as the crowd bounced their heads, but only their heads. Where was the raw energy here? The drummer certainly seemed to be exuding plenty of it, as she furiously pounded away in the back. This band sounded great, but their late entrance and rush to set up their merch seemed to add to the stress of getting on stage and performing before their set time was slated to end around 6:30. The singer and the rest of the band seemed somewhat frustrated between songs, as if their performance wasn’t holding up to their own expectations. The set ended, and I bought a White Lung t-shirt with a particularly awesome design from the lead singer as everyone waited in anticipation for Ceremony to start at 7:00. I still thought they were awesome despite the lackluster energy.
Ceremony proceeded to take the stage, opening with Hysteria, the first single from their new album “Zoo”. If anyone had thought this song sounded tired on the album, the live performance brought a new energy to the song that could only be attributed to the stage presence of the lead singer, who was possibly the best lead singer I have ever seen in my life. He manages to embody the essence of punk in a white t-shirt, not unlike the forefathers of eighties hardcore. I think I once read an interview with lead singer Ross Farrar, that said something along the lines of “I don’t get much exercise, so when I’m on stage I really go for it”. Well Ross, if the sweat dripping off your body was any indication of the energy you have on stage, you would definitely take the gold medal in that category.
The crowd was somewhat be in flux with regards to the songs. At one point, everyone seemed to be standing still, and it was no feat for a small girl like me to stand in the front row center, an uncommon sight at most of the punk shows I’ve been to around here, where I would instantly get whacked out of place. But during crowd favorites, such as “Sick”, the title track off of 2010’s Rohnert Park, the energy was once again built up, as crowd members screamed the lyrics into Farrar’s microphone. Another high point of the set was the somewhat unexpected Violent Femmes cover “Kiss Off”, an unlikely choice for a hardcore band that definitely brought a new life to the song. It was all over much too soon, and everyone gathered outside to discuss the set. Quick to join my circle was the lead singer himself, who was totally unhesitant to interact with my friends, complimenting crowd members on their “punk attitude”, and immersing himself in the local scene. Both his friendly attitude and authentic stage energy made this one hell of a show.
- Open Head
- Red C
- Terminal Addiction
- Brace Yourself
- Kiss Off (Violent Femmes Cover)
- The Doldrums (Friendly City)
- Community Service
Written by Jessica Katz, Radio K volunteer