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The Convocation Of.... 

Thursday, Sept. 20; Creepy Crawl

"Emo" wasn't always a dirty word. In the late '80s, when most punk bands were stuck in a rut of simplistic political sloganeering, nihilistic destruction or good-time skaterisms, a handful of bands started turning inward, examining themselves as human beings in a flawed society, creating, as the genre was originally known, "emotional hardcore" (later shortened to "emo-core" and then simply "emo"). As cheesy as it sounds, emo was actually somewhat revolutionary at the time; two of the movement's leading bands were Washington, D.C., group Fugazi, distinguished by the bulldog gruffness of Ian MacKaye and the heart-on-his-sleeve rawness of Guy Picciotto, and Baltimore's Moss Icon, distinguished by the abstract lisping poetry of John Vance and the inventive and passionate playing of guitarist Tonie Joy. A dozen years later, Fugazi is still going strong, selling hundreds of thousands of copies of each new release, whereas Moss Icon is forgotten to all but punk insiders, despite the group's influence on such relatively popular bands as Joan of Arc and Rainer Maria. You can make up for this slight by going to see Tonie Joy's new band The Convocation Of ... Thursday at the Creepy Crawl.The Convocation Of ..., which has released one self-titled album on the Gold Standard Laboratories label, wisely refrains from replicating the Moss Icon formula. Joy is a much better guitarist than he is a singer or lyricist, and the band plays to its instrumental strengths, resulting in a strong collection of songs filled with fuzzed-out bass, near-tribal drumming and Joy's punk-guitar heroics. The droning, single-riff nature of some of the album's best tracks will appeal to fans of Baltimore brethren Lungfish, and Joy's playing will appeal to fans of no-rules guitar freakouts.

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