So I've finally seen Lifetime live. The melodic hardcore band from Jersey broke up in 1997 after releasing two albums on Jade Tree, but they've remained a favorite of mine over the years. This past summer, the band teased fans when they temporarily reunited to play a few East Coast dates, but I regrettably missed those shows. But in November, my frown turned upside down when Lifetime announced a weekend California tour scheduled for January. So last weekend, myself and small army of other fans from Seattle, ditched the rainy streets of the Pacific Northwest for the even rainier streets of San Francisco, to finally see live the songs we've been waiting years to see.

The show was amazing. Lifetime played almost every song from Hello Bastards and Jersey's Best Dancers, as well as a some lesser known, but beloved, tracks like "Star69" and "Somewhere in the Swamps of Jersey." They didn't talk much, but when singer Ari Katz would speak, he mostly egged on the audience, welcoming crowd surfing and sing-alongs the whole time. The bruises from being knocked around in the front have started to fade, but I still get giddy thinking about the experience.

I'm gushing, but I do have a point. All this matters because now Lifetime are taking one more step toward officially reuniting. They're releasing a new album, a two-disc collection of demos, B-sides, and obscure early material (including their 1992 debut full-length Background) next month on Jade Tree. Somewhere in the Swamps of Jersey will be released in March, around the same time they're scheduled to play at the South by Southwest music festival. Defunct bands don't play SXSW just for the hell of it... right? And they're also playing this year's East Coast Bamboozle festival in May. Is it too early to call it a full-on reunion? I can't wait to find out.

When one door opens, a window closes... or something like that, so here's some bad news: Champion are breaking up. The local posi-hardcore outfit, who some credit as having a huge hand in rejuvenating the local hardcore scene in the late 1990s with their traditional and blistering East Coast–style hardcore, announced last week that their final show will be Saturday, May 27, at El Corazón. Tickets are $10 in advance and available at TicketsWest, El Corazón, Singles Going Steady, and all Sonic Boom and Cellophane Square locations.

Also, last Saturday EMP hosted the first round of the Sound Off! semifinals with Capitol Basement, Ballroom Integrity and Grace, and the Histrionics. Capitol Basement won, advancing to the finals happening later this month. This week, one more finalist will be crowned when Dynamik, John Van Deusen and the Lonely Forest, and Marquetta Miller play Saturday, February 11, at 8 p.m. MEGAN SELING