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Wednesday, August 20; Lemp Neighborhood Arts Center

Ah, youth! Those were the days, indeed. The Muse pitched a tent on your shoulder to whisper endlessly into your ear. Your mind was abuzz with inspiration as electrical impulses ripped through your gray matter, bestowing more ideas than you could use. There's no disputing that young brains are fresher and more elastic, overflowing with the potent flashes of brilliance that stimulate the hand to pen words and the mouth to sing them. And what energy! You had enough of it to do more than half of the things you couldn't even keep track of in your head, and you still always felt like you were about to explode. Now your dead ass is on the couch all the time. The words don't come so easily either, do they? After a few years of college, booze, bad breakups, jack-offs in the workplace and the Man on your ass, the juices in your melon ain't so sweet anymore and seem destined to dry up altogether.

Fortunately, the members of Nineteen have been making the most of their wonder years. Every last joule of exuberance crackling through these St. Charles natives comes through on their four releases, a too-small discography of full-lengths and seven-inches packed with short bursts of pure, unbridled hardcore (their Tearing Me Apart full-length contains 42 songs). Imagine a skillful blend of the Minutemen's quickie spieling with the fierce blasting power of pre-Rollins Black Flag. Bold, yes,but with a hint of whimsy!

Unfortunately, Mat Wilson, Stephen Inman and Tim Ridlen will soon be playing their last gig as Nineteen, at least for a while. "Tim is going to art school in Chicago, and so we will go to sleep until we can do more of a solid Nineteen," Wilson says. "The last show is our 'Thanks for everything, sorry for anything' show, but not our last show ever."

And with that assurance, fortune shines upon us all again. Let's hope Nineteen doesn't sleep for too long.

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