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Schoolyard Heroes and Kane Hodder Play Their Last Shows Ever
Review
Published 12-22-2009 (originally on The SunBreak).

The edited version of this that appeared on The SunBreak appears to be lost to the internet goblins. Here's my draft version + links + pictures:

    At all "last" shows, the band must perform three acts:
  1. say thanks
  2. invite some friends on stage
  3. catharsis

Sunday night at El Corazon, two bands fulfilled these three requirements in front of a sold out, all-ages crowd.

Kane Hodder seem almost gleeful about their band's demise. They created a bit of a funeral theme to it and put in a lot of work for things like screenprinted posters and funeral programs. Some bands are ready to be done.

thanked everyone profusely, satisfying a third of their responsibility easily. Their thanks were not forced or awkward, but natural and genuine. Which is one of the reasons I've like Kane Hodder the few times I've seen them. The dudes are not pretentious or false, but they are up there sharing as much of themselves as possible in an authentic way. And it was clear it was an emotional night.

They also invited friends up to stage dive and sing along. All the Hodder kids are in new projects, whether they be new bands or new lives. Some of the same strains of that old band will undoubtedly carry on in the new ones.

And, in my opinion, Kane Hodder has always been somewhat about catharsis. Their energetic and moderately chaotic live act undoubtedly allowed for a cleansing and purging of emotion. The wild fluctuations between yelling and falsetto singing were quite possibly the means of conveying some sort of torment. And yet, they kept it controlled with smart lyrics and well-composed songs.

Yet, the last show ever had just the right amount of chaos and sweaty thrashing about to show that the end had finally come. Like the victims of their band's namesake's best-known acting role, Kane Hodder ended screaming and kicking. And now they are dead.

Schoolyard Heroes went out in a different way. Not with screaming and kicking, but with a giant group hug. When they invited friends on the stage, everybody responded.

In the old days of punk, the stage was purposefully removed of all its feeling of sacredness. Crowd members mixed with band members without regard to the distinction between the two known as a "stage." At the end of the Schoolyard Heroes set, crowd members borrowed the microphone to bark their goodbyes into. During the set, they jumped on stage and hugged various members of the band. Instead of violent chaos, it was almost like a chaotic love fest.

Yet, Schoolyard Heroes will more blatantly live on in their new project, Blood Cells. We got a preview of the upcoming band before the Kane Hodder set. On the outside, Blood Cells is a continuation of the work of the bassist and singer for Schoolyard Heroes. While it misses the fantastic guitar work of the old band, it doesn't stray all that far from the original formula.

The original formula, of course, is based almost entirely around the singer. She was the focus of attention for much of the final set of the evening. In a lovely formal gown, she flailed about the stage and alternately scowled and smiled at the various faces in attendance. She commanded a sold out crowd to part like the Red Sea so that she could join us on the floor and sing a song in the midst of the audience. And they gleefully acquiesced.

While their brand of disco hardcore has become popularized in various mainstream bands (see Paramore), Schoolyard Heroes kept it real. I've been entertaining the idea that mainstream bands are unnecessary in cities like Seattle. Everything that is mainstream we already have. And, I might add, we do it better. We do it less generically, more accessibly, and more real. It's because of this that bands like Kane Hodder and Schoolyard Heroes will be missed.

We're looking forward to your new projects gentlemen (and lady).

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Keywords: schoolyard heroes, kane hodder, el corazon, review, show, sunbreak
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