Liferuiner takes over the Picador


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Kevin Kellett has witnessed more drama in his first year as bassist for the hard-core band Liferuiner than many other musicians see in a lifetime. Not only has he nearly been sucker-punched in the face and later struck with a baseball bat in Ohio, and he has dealt his fair share of blows, too.

And all of that happened without even mentioning the tensions between the current lineup of Liferuiner and its former members (who perform under the same name in Canada), a feud that has people confused to this day.

With all of this excitement, the band could practically have its own MTV reality show.

“When I was asked to join the band, I knew full-on what it entailed,” Kellett said. “I heard the rumors about Liferuiner getting into trouble and breaking the law, but that is all in the band’s past. Even though we might not be the original members, we are Liferuiner.”

Liferuiner brings its mosh music to the Picador, 330 E. Washington St., as the headliners of an eight-band hard-core show at 5 p.m. today. Admission is $10. Other bands set to make an appearance include Reaping Asmodeia, No Wings to Speak Of, and an array of local metal bands, including When Forever Ends and Of Flesh Unseen.

Jack Henaman, who handles promotions and security for the Picador, said he put the show together because he was tired of Iowa City only getting big package shows. He is also an avid hard-core music fan and sees the show as a chance to highlight some of the genre’s upcoming talent — topping things off with a performance from the New York based Liferuiner.

“Liferuiner is just awesome,” he said. “The breakdowns are always inventive, and the lyrics are really dark. The band combines all of the best aspects of the hard-core scene.”

Though Liferuiner’s current lineup has only been together since the summer, Kellett said the band’s set list is at least half new songs set to appear on an album coming out later this year.

Previous lineups of the band released two CDs, No Saints and Taking Back the Nightlife, which feature violent lyrics and heavy, simplistic riffs. Kellett said the new Liferuiner material takes the sound of these albums and expands on it to create a tighter and more mature sound — although the 23-year-old said there is still plenty of anger to go around.

The aggressive nature of the music often keeps mainstream audiences away from the hard-core scene, and the genre has a reputation for physical violence at shows. Kellett said this is simply what hard-core is about, although he does not like the “violence for the sake of violence” mentality of some fans.

“Hard-core is a fast, aggressive, angry style of music,” he said. “Why would their shows not be? You go see Britney Spears because you want to dance. Because it’s f—in’ Britney Spears, that’s what she does. You come and see Liferuiner, or any hard-core band play, and you’re going to want to punch someone in the face.”

Kellett — who is the only member of the band to practice a straightedge lifestyle in which he does not drink or do drugs — said his biggest frustration with hard-core bands is that the members often try to sell straightedge.

“I don’t believe in the selling of organized beliefs,” he said. “I don’t feel like it’s right for Christians to do it, and I don’t feel like it’s right for people who are straightedge to do it … How are you going to sell something that should be in your spirit or your soul? For me, to profit like that is not something I really want to be a part of.”

What is most important in the end for him is that Liferuiner keeps doing what it does best, playing aggressive heavy music for its fans.

“This is our band now, and we are working really hard, day in and day out,” he said.

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