American rock duo '68, featuring Josh Scogin on vocals/guitar and Michael McClellan on drums, have had a great year, bringing out one of the best albums the year 'In Humor And Sadness'. Now we can see if they're just as impressive live.


First, though, we have the lively Keeper who deliver a brand of post-hardcore that's emotional as well as jumpy and technical. Vocalist Courtney Levitt is damn savage, sounding like a banshee while rolling about on the floor. Next are Trophy Scars, who have a more bluesy sound, but make just as much impact with firm riffs and frontman Jerry Jones' menacing glint and storytelling style.

'68 jam a hell of a lot. Before properly starting with the groovy as hell 'Track 3: g', there is much fiddling with delay and loop pedals, but it makes for an excellent build up into the actual song in all its catchy glory. For the speedy 'Track 1: R', that's 3:33 on record, it's no exaggeration to say it was extended to about ten minutes this night. Once again, it just made the parts fans are familiar with all the more powerful. It can break momentum when bands jam/extend songs at shows, but '68 do it so well that nothing is taken away from any of the tunes. The chemistry between Scogin and McClellan is hypnotically telepathic. The latter is of the most enjoyable drummers to watch, playing with such speed and such force as he punches the cymbals, while Scogin is  equally a joy to watch; standing on the drums as he plays, swinging his guitar about and experimenting with pedals.

A raging cover of Nirvana's 'Tourettes' increases the adrenaline, before 'Track 2: e' brings it back down. This song is slower and more brooding than the others, but is equally dynamic with its sudden bursts of feedback and crushing guitar stabs. The last song they play is 'Track 8: o', probably their most well-known song which finally gets people to dance. Following that they close on more improvisation which people continue to dance to, and it can't be easy to get people to move to music they hear for the first time.

'68 rule live and half the time they don't even need actual songs to be entertaining, something that makes theirs a unique experience and totally stand out from other bands.


Max Cussons

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