It has been literally years since I have been so taken with a hardcore record, and I am not talking about saying that you love a record with all your being; but rather I am talking about living with the record and sleeping with the record still going on in your desperate feverish brain while some batch of loveable hooligans (well sometimes otherwise) jump and scream and shout their damn hearts and heads off while you sleep in a dream-like slack-jawed state that keeps you up with your heart pounding and your spirit aching to watch this flame burn out as bright as the day it was scratched to light.
I remember following the five guys that make up Bane up and down the East Coast of the United States screaming along like my life depended on it during the Give Blood era of the band hoping that the train would never end; those long nights driving to Maryland to see them or trekking up to Boston Massachusetts to watch them two nights in a row honor their fallen friend while raising money for his kids or pulling an all night adventure just to get to connect with their music for a half hour at a time were monstrously important for me at that time, and I never wanted it to end while it was happening perfectly willing to sacrifice my health, sanity, or my beat up and on the verge of breaking down vehicle just to feel that feeling as many times as I could.
The years have passed, some of us are no longer here, and in some ways I look back at that time with great fondness as well as sadness that life’s crazy journey pulled me out of chasing those guys around to the point where almost a decade passed before our paths crossed again, and what a bittersweet moment that was as even though the meeting was like embracing old friends and laughing and talking about how old we were to being told that Bane was finally being put to rest after one final record and one final trek to all those places that they touched and continue to touch hundreds, thousands, if not tens of thousands of lives for the better; even now, I feel a bit choked up at the impending reality, particular as I dive into what is their true swan song, Don’t Wait Up.
Don’t Wait Up feels every bit like one of those albums that you live and breath with soundtracking your mowing the lawn, walking the dog, washing the dishes, playing air guitar while jumping around the living room with your kids, driving to a friend’s wedding, carrying another friend’s casket to its final resting place; all of these emotions are locked in the thirty or so minutes of heart on your sleeves punk rock that Aaron, Zach, Bob, and Aaron sweated to tape all while knowing that this was going to be their last testament together. As I lean forward and press play, I immediately am struck with the abundance of energy, passion, and urgency that a group bowing out in one final blaze of glory could muster; these songs have catchy riffs (some of these are arguably the best of Zach Jordan’s and Aaron Dalbec’s, both of the guitarists, that they have ever written for Bane), an overall crisp sound, and the kind of group yelling that long time listeners of Bane have come to know and love on the records. You can tell that the band really worked hard at their craft on Don’t Wait Up as the musical arrangements for the songs are pretty spot on the mark as the guitars, bass (check out the bass part in “Calling Hours” and how it locks so perfectly with the drums), and drums (the opening of “Non-Negotiable” is just an awesome way to kick things off with a bang) all work extremely well together allowing Aaron Bedard the space to yell out his poignant and prescient lyrics that obviously give words to the idea that this is indeed their final statement and exhortation to a community that they have been a part of for almost twenty years.
A bunch of years ago Bedard wrote some liner notes for an Unbroken collection that I feel are every bit as apropos in this instance and maybe there are some of you that may be able to relate if you have only recently discovered Bane or feel similarly about them:
“…The very first time I listened to it my jaw hit the floor… this band… had been touring for years, blowing kids’ minds all over the globe, single-handedly influencing the very sounds…and attitude of hardcore…I stood frozen in front of my speakers, shocked as if the music had reached out and grabbed a handful of my shirt... What is it that immortalizes a band like that?”
My mind cannot keep up with the flood of emotions as I wonder if as Bane pulls the van into their driveway for the last time, is some last vestige of my youth ending before I am ready to actually let go? In some ways it feels that way, but in others it does not because that fire that burns whenever I pop on one of their records will always be there like old friends waiting on the other end of the phone with a smile in their voice whenever you feel like calling; and while the idea of their not writing or recording new music or eventually not playing a show does cause a huge lump in my throat, these five guys have summed up the everything with this bittersweet album in the best way possible.
Indeed, “This is my final backwards glance.”
8.0 / 10
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