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Botch | 061502 | review | dvd | Lollipop
061502 (Hydra Head)
by Hansel Merchor
The word "influential" is thrown around pretty often. Bands that came and went with little attention claim to have had a say in the greater scheme of things, just because they were the first to smile on a picture or don high-top Reeboks. Musically speaking, though, the term could not be used more fittingly than for Tacoma, WA's Botch. In the span of nine years and two full-lengths, an EP, and several singles, this young quartet was able to take hardcore to the next level, and consistently progressed its sound and redefined its meaning. Truth be told, were it not for Botch, bands like Every Time I Die and about 1,265 others would be stuck mimicking the more stern hardcore styles of NY or Boston. 061502 presents us the last show in the band's career.
Filmed in Seattle at The Showbox on June 15, 2002, 061502 features 14 songs comprehensively covering all the necessary bases. Opening up with two cuts ("St. Thomas Returns to the Womb" and "C. Thomas Howell as the "Soul Man"") from their best release, We Are The Romans, and running through other classics like "John Woo," "Hutton's Great Heat Engine," and "Man The Ramparts" from their 1999 release, American Nervoso, "Frequency Ass Bandits" and a cover of B-52's "Rock Lobster," 061502 soundly exposes the reason why so many followed, but no one has yet been able to replicate their sheer power. Botch simply was a superb band. One of a kind.
Their sound was groundbreaking. It balanced power with constant and maddening tempo shifts and expert instrumentality. Yet with all those complications, their songs made sense and were never elusive of catchiness. Their sound was advanced and their lyrics embraced humor and irony. During their time, there was simply no one that came close to replicating their power. 061502 perfectly captures the band's essence, showing the band at the top of their game: A bunch of friends whose evolution as a unit was seamless, and whose timing and success couldn't've been a better reflection of promising musicians. Their break up would only help build their legacy, and give us at least two bands worth checking out: These Arms Are Snakes and Minus The Bear.