Music, City Picks

Hawthorne Heights w/ ViFolly, Sunday Melee, A Brighter Life

When: Fri., Sept. 2 2011

It’s been one helluva rollercoaster ride over the last decade for Dayton, Ohio’s Hawthorne Heights. They rode in on emo’s second wave, scoring two gold albums for little indie Victory Records before tussling with the label over royalties. (Not an unfamiliar situation for Victory). After spending a year in the wilderness (and/or court), they returned to the fold to fulfill their contract obligations. But on the second day of their subsequent 2007 fall tour, guitarist Casey Calvert died from mixing medications. The band was devastated, and didn’t replace him, forging forward as a four-piece. Calvert’s death figures prominently in the stung and wizened tone of 2008’s Fragile Future. Hawthrone Heights moved on to Wind-Up Records for their fourth album, Skeletons, with mortality still figuring in strongly after the death of frontman JT Woodruff’s mother. Neither album did as well as the band’s first two. Skeletons, in particular, suffers for its polish and very pop-minded approach, offering the blandest music of their career. The group since separated from Wind-Up, self-releasing the first of three planned EPs on Cardboard Empire. The nine-track, 30-minute Hate is Hawthrone Heights’ finest effort in years, bringing back the aggression, grit, and fervor of their debut.

Chris Parker

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