The Nashville three-piece with a long name and infectious hooks got the garage at Taqueria El Picante churning on Saturday night during the noisy, sweltering Taco Fest 2k13.
Bassist Alex Rowe traded vocals with guitarist Edwin Coombs while Ross Winchel pummeled the drums during a set that was all too short.
Between Rowe’s fierce, raspy vocals and Coombs confident shredding, Commonwealth made straight-up punk rock that was poppy-enough to lure in the day’s biggest crowd before sundown, and punk enough to set off a wild mosh pit that bloodied at least one forehead and spilled horchata and beer.
The kids, as they say, seemed like they wouldn’t have it any other way. They lined up at the band’s merch table four deep, shoveling out cash and praise in equal measure.
“We played here last night,” Coombs said. “We were booked with a band we’re touring with, Infected, and it was a great show. We asked if there was a spot we could play today.”
The trio was pushing its latest and third release, a seven inch split with Random Conflict. The seven inch was released by Shit Starter Records.
“This record is really kind of us starting over with a new drummer (Winchel) and us starting over with a new writing direction,” Coombs said. “We really tried to integrate dual vocals. I sing and Alex sings. I write half the lyrics and she writes half. We take one idea and then we write about it.””very lyrically based,” which shows. The Commonwealth of American Natives performed the single day-time set in which vocals were discernible. (Taco Fest is a punk and hardcore bash, and most of the vocals amounted to a roar that sounded like a twentysomething man vomiting up something like “BRAAAAAAAAAAWWWHHH!”)
Rowe said the band is “very lyrically based.”
“I sing these lyrics like I sing songs by other bands, you know, when you sing just to get through the day. That’s how I sing these songs,” Rowe said.
Coombs said the two-track record is a punk rock treatment of daily life, and the struggles it can bring. “Do You Read Sutter Cane” is a tribute to the John Carpenter horror film In the Mouth of Madness (an insurance investigator questions his sanity as he watches the fans of a horror writer seem to lose touch with reality.
“You know how sometimes, you think about all the violence around you and all of the crazy stuff all around you and you start wondering ‘am I the only sane person left?’ That’s where that song came from,” Coombs said.
“Bird in a Cage” is a shout-out to the wage slaves clocking in so they might make music – or follow their true passion, whatever it might be.
The band is on a three week tour with Infected, and heads to Kansas City, Missouri, on Sunday. The band continues to Minneapolis, Minn. and, eventually, Chicago.
– Lucinda Breeding.