Teen concert rocks Half Moon Bay

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Walking into the Ted Adcock Community Center in Half Moon Bay “Teen Concert” is usually like walking into a family reunion: smiling, familiar faces, and the coy waves “hello”. However, on this special event, things were a little different. While walking up to the front door, my friend warned me, “It’s like a Myspace reunion in there.” Luckily, there was still the ever-welcoming grin of my friend, Susan Alvaro, the front door lady who helped spearhead producing these shows six years ago. Upon entering the auditorium, there was but a handful of locals. Poor advertising, I guess. It seemed everyone there were out-of-towners, but everyone there was there to have fun.

I walked in during the middle of the opening band’s set. They called themselves “Ladders” and they were a firm nod back to the early nineties “screamo” bands. Built upon throbbing rhythmic bass lines, both break and blast beats, melodic strumming patterns colliding with technically abrasive riffing, all layered on top of emotionally charged vocals ranging from cool soothing singing to violent blood curdling screams. Well, this band had it all, including duel vocalists, yelling and harmonizing with one another.

Their set was short, but packed full of energy and emotion. I was very impressed, and could not resist purchasing their demo, filled with the same raw power of the live show.

After a short intermission, I was faced with yet another shocking surprise. The band I was looking forward to seeing headline, “Comadre,” was set up and played second. Comadre, hailing from San Carlos, CA, is a fantastic band with the ability to fuse hard-core and metal guitar styles with thumping bass and dancy drumbeats like no other band. Their live shows always get the crowd moving, and this show was no exception.

The set was fast paced, and littered between the favored classic sing along songs, were some hot and fresh new tracks off of their upcoming album called “Burn Your Bones.” As if it were a running gag of the evening, lead singer, Juan, promptly announced that the new songs have been on their Myspace for several weeks now.

After the thrashing fire pit that is Comadre, the band Junius from Massachusetts played next. They played a strange outlandish atmospheric brand of hard rock. A friend said they reminded her of a heavier version of Coldplay. I agreed that their vocal styles were very similar. Their music and stage lights (one blacklight and a floodlight that was activated by a foot switch) set a distinct mood of eeriness.

Following the spooky Junius was a group of four incredible kids. Circle Takes the Square come from Georgia, and played some of the most heavy, technical, yet fragile, and experimental “emocore” I have ever witnessed. The crowd was very pleased with their performance, and they danced, sang and clapped along to show their appreciation.

The last band of the night was the brutal, unforgiving explosion known as Graf Orlock, from Los Angeles, CA. During the performance, they projected an old propaganda film that chastised drinking and driving. Their songs are a kick in the face accompanied by blast beats and crushing “thrashcore,” sprinkled with samples from classic, violent movies, like “The Terminator” and “The Godfather” (which apparently most of the lyrics are about).

Graf Orlock finished their terrifying set of smashing music and intense means of crowd participation (diving, shoving, moshing, and even two way heckling), and the night came to a close. A sore and satisfied close.