I hadn't set foot in Chain Reaction in well over a year, but once I did I remembered one reason why: awkward pairings like Mika Miko and Lifetime. The venue itself hadn't changed much—except for the pair of flat-screen TVs and the obnoxious Guitar Hero setup. Immediately, though, you could see the strange mixture of two distinct punk ideologies: the kids there for Shook Ones and Lifetime (in Bane t-shirts and black-on-black Yankees hats) and those there for Mika Miko (in worn-out flannel and sequined knit caps.)
By the time Mika Miko took the stage, a handful of kids had already lined up for their turn at Guitar Hero—again, obnoxious. The band looked drained, but still sounded on-point. Jennifer Clavin carried much of the show, hopping around the stage and shouting into her rigged telephone. At their jerkier, more danceable points, the band seemed like a throwback to the Contortions or ESG. But whatever they recalled was lost on the crowd, which had half-emptied into the alley on the side of building. "Sorry we're taking a long time," Jenna Thornhill shrugged to those that remained.
As for Lifetime, they sounded, well, old—like H20 or Saves the Day with 10 years of crushingly dull real-world jobs behind them. The band did mention that they had just flown in from New Jersey via Maryland and San Francisco, but that didn't really clear up Ari Katz's rough, strained voice. Still, the band commanded the overwhelmingly male audience that was there to see them. Most in the crowd tossed themselves forward, tumbling over one another as they shouted along with Katz. But the handful of kids there for Mika Miko? Most of them did the right thing—they left. (Miles Clements)
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