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Commentary and photos by Jeff Rey
Copyright 2003 NEON, blue door productions
Hat Trick of Misery
Over the past year, the hard and heavy Hat Trick of Misery has shared the stage with Anthrax, Motorhead, King's X, Dee Snider, Winger and Quiet Riot and performed countless shows throughout the New York area. They’ve also appeared on a Kiss tribute album (Kiss This – Main Man Records) that included tracks by the Donnas and members of Redd Cross. I hadn’t seen one of their shows in well over six months, so I figured with all that added experience their already strong stage act would be improved. But I wasn’t ready for the powerhouse of a performance HTOM now delivers. This is a band that has taken a major step up and whose energy is now difficult to contain in a club setting. That kind of power in a small venue reminds me of the bands playing the clubs on the NYC metal scene of a decade or so ago, many of whom had by then already signed on with major labels – Circus of Power, Skin ‘n Bones, The Throbs, Tommy Love Tribe, Smashed Gladys, Electric Angels, Law and Order, my own Lorry Doll ‘n’ the Wild Ones and many more. Strangely enough, Hat Trick of Misery sing about that scene on “New York City” with lyrics about the Cat Club and Sunday night at Limelight. It’s a cool song delivered with a knock-out punch by frontman Steven Statland. This man owns the stage when he’s up there, daring the crowd to join in on his fiery passion. Enticing them to let go and join the fracus. And that band behind him ain’t bad either. The guitar duo of Mitch Wilson and Bob O'Hara, drummer Kelsey Thomas, and Crash Evil on bass. For pure energy, they recall Judas Priest in their heyday. Especially on “Rise” with its anthem-like chorus. But the centerpiece of the show was probably “My World”. Stratland’s mid-song rap and rant pumped the audience for a climatic finale. Hat Trick of Misery have a well-produced 5-song EP out that’s been getting plenty of local and internet airplay, but I don’t expect it will be long before they reach a much wider audience.

Steven Statland owns the stage when he's up there  - daring the crowd to join in on his fiery passion ... enticing them to let go and join the fracus.
Photos: Jeff Rey