FIRST TO LEAVE
Matt Foster [voice, guitar]
Ben Hirschfield [guitar]
Zach Lindenberg [guitar]
Danny Sperry [bass]
Justin Mellor [drums]
There was a time, and not that long ago, when supporting punk music meant heading off to your local fire hall or basement on a Friday night to see five bands for five bucks. Friends manned small tables in the back of the room selling hand-screened shirts and patches. Meanwhile, the bands played as we stood shoulder to shoulder celebrating the alternative we created to crowded parking lots and thirty-dollar ticket prices.
On “Forging a Future”, San Francisco’s First To Leave suggest that perhaps somewhere amidst the fashion of the current scene, we have forgotten what is truly important about punk rock. It is the music and the ideals it carries. It is the concept of hope, and the promise that a network of kids working together can make a difference.
On songs like “Two Guns, One Mile” and “The Blind Man,” First To Leave reintroduce this concept with heart-pounding brilliance. “The Saving Cycle” builds upon the momentum with similar energy and conviction. Nowhere, however, is First To Leave’s message more prominent than on “Drag the Lake.” Lyrics like “Let me see you run. Are you having fun hiding what’s going on? Are you working out your kinks? Can you hear the audience? They’re laughing now. Is it breaking up your cadence?,” confirm that today’s version of arena-esque punk rock leaves something to be desired. Perhaps it’s the contradiction that punk is a mainstream commodity easily bought and sold like any other music genre. Maybe, it’s just a lack of heart in the message. Whatever the cause, First To Leave is clear they do not propose to remedy the problem by rehashing old territory. Rather, on songs like Revival (Starts and Ends) First To Leave prove it is a new beginning they seek, one that incorporates the best of the past while looking forward to the future.