Tooth and Nail Weekend #6: The Ivy League,
Embodyment, Squad 5-0,
Project 86, Living Sacrifice, and P.O.D.
Sunday, October 24, 1999
The Where-House, Bartlesville, OK
By Josh Marihugh
Tooth and Nail Weekend. It's a northeast Oklahoma tradition. Other areas have copied it, but never with the success that Tim Cook and Associates and the Where-House have. Since Tim opened the Where-House in 1993 (about the same time that Tooth and Nail Records started), there has been a bond between the venue and the label. Every year, several of Tooth and Nail's top bands descend on the Where-House for the weekend, which began as a two-night event in 1993 and was trimmed back to one long night beginning in 1998. The Where-House staff took the summer off, upgraded the house sound system, and began the fall concert season with this year's edition of Tooth and Nail Weekend.
I have to wonder if someone at the Where-House didn't make a mistake booking local ska outfit The Ivy League to open this show. The League is quite good at what it does; they won the Where-House's New Band Tournament two years ago against such competition as Room Full of Walters and Mindrage. The problem was simple: they're a ska band, and this was a crowd hungry for hardcore. Crowd reaction for the first few songs was practically nothing. By the end of the band's brief set, though, the crowd had loosened up a bit in preparation for what was to come, Embodyment.
Embodyment struck me as typical Solid State
hardcore: about five cymbal crashes per second and distorted, dismelodic guitar.
The phrase "tortured screams of hell" comes to mind. It's surprising
that the lead vocalist hasn't
Since the Where-House staff had built Tooth and
Nail Weekend #6 around Project 86's fall tour with Squad 5-0, it made perfect
sense for these two bands to play in the middle of the evening. As Squad began
to play, the rumor (running rampant in recent days) that the band was going
glam-rock on their next project was blown away. Although the new material that
the band unveiled from their forthcoming Tooth and Nail release does have more
of an 80s-rock feel to it, it's certainly not Stryper. The new song that caught
my ear was
The fourth band to rock the house was Project 86. All I knew about P86 going in was that they play insanely intense rapcore with no compromise lyrics. After P86's set, I knew the following about them: They play insanely intense rapcore with no-compromise lyrics; they have a new album dropping in February; and they are amazingly tight live; so tight, in fact, that if this set is any indication, it seems they could easily produce a fantastic live album.
After about a 30-minute intermission, it was
time for the two biggest sets of the evening. Returning Where-House favorites
Living Sacrifice took to the stage. For those who have wondered, "How do
they do those amazing drum
Tim Cook and the Where-House may have been stretching a bit to book P.O.D. for a Tooth and Nail Weekend. After all, the Atlantic-signed band that put the hip-hop in hip-hop/hardcore only released one project on Tooth and Nail, last year's Warriors EP. But nobody was complaining. P.O.D. shows at the Where-House are always well packed, and this night was no exception.
As Sonny explained, the Where-House show was a welcome relief for the band, who have been playing secular club gigs for the past month and a half. To be back in front of an audience of "warriors," as P.O.D. fans are popularly known, was a great change of pace. The band played music from all of their projects, from early indie Brown (re-released by Rescue as the band's second project) up through current disc The Fundamental Elements of SouthTown. Sonny turned over vocal duties to the crowd quite often, in responsive sections of songs like "Hollywood" and "Draw the Line."
At most shows that the band plays, Sonny shares his story. Perhaps realizing, however, that they were playing for an audience of core fans who knew the message, Sonny cut his dialogue short. His shortened message led into "Set Your Eyes to Zion," during which the crowd raised their hands to God in worship. Lest the crowd lose the rush during "Zion"'s slower time, the band roared back with "Draw the Line," with which they "closed" the show. But it was obvious to most that the band wasn't through. What's a P.O.D. set without "(Abortion is) Murder"? The band heard the crowd's cry for an encore and came back out for "Selah" and of course, "Murder," to close the evening.
Thus ended Toot and Nail Weekend #6, and thus began another concert season for northeastern Oklahoma's premier Christian rock venue.