The Waterfront Tavern is a very long bar in Holyoke MA, it's a bit trashy but not too bad. When you first walk in there's a small stage in the corner of the bar that you walk past, a pretty long bar and some pool tables. Then you walk into the back and it looks like an old factory or dance hall or something with the stage all the way at the other end. I can't stress how long this venue is. The stage itself is about the size of a middle school stage maybe a little smaller, enough for a large band but not much else.
I failed to get the names of the other bands that played so forgive me, but the first band up was pretty much straight hardcore punk. They were good at what they did but nothing special that caught my attention. The second band was more easycore they did a few cover songs including one of The Beatles again not bad just nothing special.
Hot Gospel went on third. I really had no idea what to expect. I had been talking to them beforehand and they're pretty awesome, funny, and inviting people. They asked me if I liked The Chariot so I showed them my tattoo and then they all talked to each other secretively so I didn't know what was coming. Their setup was pretty quick, since there were so many bands, everyone was a bit rushed to get up and play some music.
They started with an opening riff from Rage Against The Machine's Bulls On Parade and went right into Lovesick. I'm a sucker for a good intro so it was pretty awesome to hear that transition. Lovesick was definitely as good live as it is recorded, possibly even better. They also played a throwback to Every Minute Can Killed called Hellbeast which was awesome to hear since I never got to see Every Minute Can Kill live before they broke up. They also played a new song yet to be released but it sounded amazing so I can't wait to hear the recorded version. During Whole Lotta Love the mic cut out unfortunately but that didn't stop the band from going right through it.
They are certainly a sight on stage. One thing I hate is bands that seem fake, just stand around, or do that whole running in place thing, but Hot Gospel doesn't play with any of that shit. Frontman Trevor holds the mic as if it's an extension of himself. Guitarist Steve and bassist 'Goose' show an extreme amount of energy and passion, and Matt on the drums is majestic.
Then they ended with something surprising and just awesome. Remember I said they asked me if I liked The Chariot? Yeah so that turned into them ending with the breakdown from Teach, complete with my favorite line, the line forever tattooed on my wrist, "Victory is such a lonely word". That just made me so happy that they did that and I think it's the perfect ending to their set.
The crowd was basically shit though, I think it's mostly because the rest of the bands were basically deathcore circa 2006 bands, so Hot Gospel kinda stood out, for me in a good way, but I think the crowd was looking for something else. That or they were mad because they got spit on, or maybe because they don't like Asians who play guitar, who knows? So yeah, the rest of the bands were eh, there was one that was alright and reminded me a bit of 36 Crazyfists but other than that they all sounded like one big breakdown which is not my thing.
After the show I got to get some grub with the band and some sort of weird alternate timeline version of Applebees where the sign said "Grill and Bar". I got to basically shoot the shit with the guys and get to know them a bit better. So all in all it was a great night. I'm happy I finally got to see them and hope they come around my way again.