Live Review: Stray From The Path at Gramercy Theatre

photo by David Marulanda
photo by David Marulanda

Saturday the 24th, on a most pleasant October evening at the Gramercy Theatre, Stray From The Path unleashed their frenzied, opinionated brand of hardcore. Opening acts Deez Nuts, Major League, Being As An Ocean, and Comeback Kid had the crowd riled up and on their feet first.

As soon as “Outbreak,” Stray From The Path’s set opener, came on, fists and kicks started flying. The energy in the pit was nothing other than rabid and the atmosphere was violently endearing. There was a cozy, familiar vibe. The audience was having fun, and so was SFTP.

A little less than half of SFTP’s stage time was devoted to tracks from Subliminal Criminals, while the remainder was reserved for old hits. “Badge and A Bullet” and its sequel made the cut. So did “Bring it Back to the Streets,” as performed by Comeback Kid’s Andrew Neufeld and Stray From the Path’s Drew York. “Outbreak” and “Damien” were also in the mix. York was passionately moving and jumping around the stage, but his voice wasn’t projecting much. Every now and then he’d burst out of an almost mumble with furious and loud lyrics that reminded me of why I like the band in the first place. It was disappointing to not have him be as clear and enunciate as well as he does on record, but you don’t necessarily go to a hardcore show for the singing. The music is important and so is feeling comfortable letting out pent up anger. Stray From The Path deliver accordingly.

“First World Problem Child” was a crowd pleaser, eliciting shouts of “shut the fuck up” to assist York with the chorus. At every opportunity to get in on the action, the crowd was jumping over itself to reach an outstretched hand to the mic and add their voices to York’s. The evening ended with one more song, but it was Stray From the Path who offered to perform an extra one instead of the crowd demanding it. All in all, the performance suggests this is a band you want to see if you’re a fan of punishing pits along with loud and fast hardcore beats. It’s not a band you want to see if you are expecting them to sound like their recorded works, lyrically or even musically. The sound is much, much rawer live.

by David Marulanda

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