Triple Crown Records has been putting out some of the scene’s most essential records for twenty years now, so it makes sense that their anniversary show ended up being one of the best shows I’ve seen this year. The four-band show had a mix of styles that spoke to the variance in sound the label has always had; a fan of almost any kind of music could’ve found a set to like. I ran through some of my favorites below.
Shortly, the solo project of Alexandria Maniak, opened up the show, playing a string of unreleased songs. I was about as familiar with her music as I could’ve been, given she’s only released one song (“Matthew”) under the moniker. She performed with only an electric guitar and no backing band; her performance felt intensely intimate – impressive, since the show was sold out. Her rendition of “Matthew” was, as she promised, entirely different from the studio single. Stripped down, it became a dirge, with just Maniak’s voice to carry it. It was an impressive set all around, and she promised new music would be out soon. I’ll certainly be looking forward to that.
Moving Mountains was up next, and they were one of the bands I was more excited for. Their last full-length, 2013’s Moving Mountains, is one of my absolute favorite albums, so I was looking forward to hearing some of it live; plus, I knew this might be my last chance to see the band for a while, as their activity seems pretty sporadic these days. Admittedly, the setlist was somewhat bizarre, but they did play a nice mix of songs from all their releases, opening with the Waves highlight “The Cascade.” While vocalist Greg Dunn’s vocal performance wasn’t quite as fiery as on the record, the rest of the band made up for it, super-sizing every heavy moment. None was more impressive than the outro of “Seasonal,” which found the band turning everything up to eleven for the best moment of their set.
Third up was Sorority Noise, who had announced that they would be playing one of my favorite records of the year, their Triple Crown debut You’re Not as _____ as You Think, in full at the show. I’d heard that they were a great live band, but that turned out to be an understatement. The band put on the most energetic set of the night, ripping through the album’s first nine tracks with aplomb. One of the more interesting moments of their performance was the screamed section of “A Portrait Of…,” during which singer Cam Boucher changed out the lyrics. While I unfortunately couldn’t pick up what he was saying, I could feel the passion in his voice.
You’re Not as ____ as You Think is a harrowing record to listen to – it details Boucher’s depression following his best friend’s suicide – and by the end of the “Leave the Fan On,” Boucher was visibly shaking. But they switched out the album’s proper closing track “New Room” in favor of the fan favorite “Using.” (I had hoped they might throw that song in, as it was my favorite Sorority Noise track before I pressed play on this album.) Following such a dark set, it was nice to get to hear the whole room sing the song’s hook together: “I stopped wishing I was dead.” It was cathartic for me as an audience member, and I can only hope it felt the same for the band. The rest of the crowd certainly loved it, as chants of “One more song!” echoed even after the band left the stage.
Foxing closed out the show with a Dealer-heavy set. While the album was markedly more subdued than their debut The Albatross, you’d never know that from their performance – they made every moment of the set feel massive. At first it seemed like a strange choice to me to open with Dealer’s closer “Three on a Match,” but it made perfect sense once they transitioned into the slowburning “Eiffel” as a way to ease us into the set, and from there, hell broke loose. Vocalist Connor Murphy was nearly in the crowd numerous times throughout the set and alternated almost without warning from his smooth falsetto to a harsh shriek and back again. Like Moving Mountains, Foxing is a band that, on record, tends to put more emphasis on atmosphere than heaviness to convey emotion, but like Moving Mountains, their live show found the perfect balance between both.
Murphy warned us this would be the band’s last time in New York for a while – but next time they returned, it would be with a new record. They performed an acoustic-led new song, too, and if it’s any indication, the new album will be fantastic. The addition of saxophone on a few songs was a nice touch, and of course the trumpet coda at the end of the raucous set closer “Rory” was a blast, even if moshing to a trumpet seems a bit laughable. Even if the last words sung (well, shouted) that night were “Why don’t you love me back,” I think I felt the love in the room.
The Triple Crown Records 20th Anniversary Show took place in Brooklyn, NY on December 9th, 2017.