Snocore 2003 Commodore Ballroom, Vancouver BC - February 27, 2003

After getting the crowd amped up with snowboarding videos, Dredg took the stage. The Florida band's 30-minute set managed to confound, excite, bore and stimulate. At points one could see it fitting in well with mellow nu-metal, but at other times it came across as impassioned, layered and modern, somewhere in-between hardcore and metal, yet not at all close to either. Florida's Hot Water Music played second and blew the roof off with their incredible melodic hardcore. Perhaps the early slot status pushed these guys even harder than usual, as they infused their notoriously hard-hitting set with more energy than their last stellar Vancouver performance. It must be really hard to be following these guys up on this ill-named tour, and Glassjaw proved to be an anti-climax if ever there was one. Although this New York band impresses, at times, with their modern post-Quicksand hardcore sound, they also seem really silly with their light-hearted stage antics. There are a few Glassjaw fanatics out there, but for a lot of the crowd the band's set stretched on too long, as evidenced by the number of people resting their feet at the tables. Sparta proved there is indeed life after At The Drive-In, as after only one album three-fifths of that immensely popular band find themselves headlining a tour over two other bands used to headlining themselves. The band put on a powerful performance, eschewing the "over the top" stage chaos that ATDI flaunted for a more straight-ahead set, showing that the music stands on its own just fine. Sparta played most of the songs off of their debut, Wiretap Scars, as well as one new song, which saw the audience cheering with recognition and wanting more.