Most music fans or active users of twitter have seen this quote from Bob Marley at least a few (if not, thousands of) times in their lives: “One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain. ”Hostage Calm’s last show at Toad’s Place in New Haven, CT had a palpable sadness in the hours leading up to the band’s final performance. It was the end of an era for a lot of people, from those who grew up with the band, to people like me, who only started listening with the band’s latest record Die on Stage. But as soon as the music started, from the first note of the opening bands to the final chords from Hostage Calm, there was no time for sadness or pain, only celebration. The sense of community was apparent as soon as the band took the stage. Even for newcomers like myself, it was immediately apparent the effect this band has had on people.
The night started off with Sorority Noise, who played a fairly quick set, lasting just under a half-hour or so. They played with great energy, and received a fairly active crowd response. The band ripped through tracks such as “Wesleyan’s Best Dressed” from their split with Somos, as well as a clear fan-favorite “Dirty Ickes” which featured the first of many (MANY) pileups that would take place throughout the night.
Despite a bit of a lengthy delay, Adventures brought their unique take on indie rock to the stage next, pumping out synth-tinged, sing-along tracks from their new record Supersonic Home much to the crowd’s enjoyment. Vocalists Reba Meyers and Kimi Hanauer sounded straight off a record, singing their way through some of their best songs, including but not limited to the first three tracks from Supersonic Home as well as “Flowing Through” from their split with Pity Sex, and choice cuts from their other EP’s.
The World is a Beautiful Place and I am No Longer Afraid to Die truly took over the stage next, with 8 members; three guitarists, a bassist, a drummer, a vocalist a keyboardist, and a violin player. It was mind-blowing watching so many people playing at the same time and yet maintaining a tight, cohesive sound. Though the band avoided the spoken word of their latest record, Between Bodies they still managed to bring their epic post-rock sound to the stage, using each instrument to build up to noise-filled crescendos, only to be back brought down to minimal buzzing and repeating this process multiple times. This kind of performance was impossible to look away from. They, as the kids say, “Killed it.”
Finally, armed with an army of roses, Hostage Calm began their final set. The crowd went absolutely ballistic from the moment Chris Martin willed his vocal chords to sing the opening lines of “Brokenheartland,” which was no small feat, considering the emotion of the night. In spite of technical problems due to the UNBELIEVABLE volume of stage divers, the band soldiered through a 20-song set, leaning heavily on material from Please Remain Calm and their Self-Titled LP, with choice cuts from their final album, Die on Stage as well as various other songs from their back catalog.
As I mentioned, the emotion at the show was so present you could taste it. At almost any point in the night you could see the guys reaching in to the crowd, shaking people’s hands and saying “thank you” as many times as their mouths would allow. There were a few pauses here and there, namely towards the beginning of the show, when a stage diver broke guitarist Nick Balzano’s power supply, but that was quickly rectified and the show went on.
The only real issue throughout the night was the security. Toad’s Place’s security guards spent the first three quarters of the set pushing crowdsurfers and stage divers back in to the crowd, which thankfully, didn’t seem to cause any serious injuries, but people were hurt nonetheless. Toad’s should be ashamed with the actions of some of their staff members, whose main job should be protecting not only the band and the venue, but the show goers themselves. Eventually, due to the sheer number of people and the general rowdiness, security let it go.
Minor issues aside, Hostage Calm received a send-off worthy of the hometown heroes they are. They spent the night playing what seemed to be everyone’s favorite songs, recalling stories of VFW halls and, in true Hostage Calm fashion, preaching love for everyone and making sure that everyone in attendance knew exactly what the band stood, and still stands for. Every member played their hearts out, and left everything they had on that stage. It was as good of a final show as any band could ever hope to have.
Hostage Calm’s setlist was as follows: “Brokenheartland,” “Jerry Rumspringer,” “Woke Up Next To a Body,” “When You Know,” “On Both Eyes ,” “A Thousand Miles Away from Here,” “In So Many Words…” “Audible,” “(I’m Left With All These) Holes,” “One Face,” “Someone Else,” “Grayscale,” “Count On Me, (At All Costs cover)” “A Mistrust Earned,” “Rebel Fatigues,” “Your Head / Your Heart,” “Ballots/Stones.” and “War On A Feeling” with and encore of “The “M” Word,” “Patriot,” and “Don’t Die On Me Now.”