What a venue name for one of the most ignant shows I have laid eye and fist upon to date. After some difficulty with finding the guest list, I was admitted inside despite my age not being quite 21. Whoops. Thanks Colin (of Arabia?) for the oversight!
Up first after some painfully long waiting in which I dually realized I was one of the two or three people sporting denim and patches and also made a friend with a man whose drunken mosh antics would come to irk his fellow patrons was The Confrontation, a local group of troublemakers that were easily the heaviest of the night, boasting those syrupy breakdowns that one would expect from a metalcore band, even though they kinda weren’t. Some kinda hardcore that’s ignant, hell if I know. Enjoyable, but not mind-blowing.
Next up were Sworn Enemy, a well-seasoned hatecrew from Queens, with some tales of urban battle to get the pit moving right fast. Of course, with this amount of street knowledge comes some swinging fists, so guess what the pit was like for their set. Not being familiar with their material, I merely spectated much of the going-on, soaking in the pure hardcore adrenaline that was to come. Throw in a cover song, leave out too cool, and you may eat it.
Big time Boston, HxC destroyers Death Before Dishonor took the floor next, and I found a few members of Death Threat on the floor tearing it up in the name of hardcore, despite the possibility of getting injured and not being able to play. Commitment. Learn it. They played a few covers that sounded 80s as fuck, but I not being true punx enough couldn’t recall where I had heard them before. At least they’re better than Hatebreed.
Connecticut’s Death Threat just about leveled the joint with their mixture of traditional speed and modern heaviness, with raspy vocals that scream “I have suffered”. If you didn’t get hit, you were probably in the back or just very lucky. Fueled by a shot of whiskey and a little beer, I made a few forays into the danger zone, and a hanging TV screen was unfortunate enough to meet the back of my hand. Though hey, I was only the second person to punch it, so it was probably already broken. And to think, non-hazards only make it even more terrifying of an atmosphere to be in.
The aggressive “take no shit” ethos of today’s hardcore can be attributed to the Cro-Mags, Negative Approach, Sick Of It All and similarly aggravated crews, but Biohazard‘s probably one of those that really got the (Mad)ball rolling as far as the inclusion of chunky thrash metal riffage, pseudo-rap vocals, and of course, rousing the desire to punish anyone who happens to be in your path. Originally a straight-up crossover band in the style of Suicidal Tendencies, even then they had already evolved a sense of groove and urban grittiness that would define their sound. Punch someone in the fucking face, because this is (I know you must hate this word by now) about to get ignant. After surviving a kick to the near-testes area and somehow managing to not catch a fist directly to the face, I was in awe of two things; how can they take so long to set up when their sound is essentially a more metallic version of their openers’ and 2) how much closer could they have possibly stood to the audience, thus minimizing pit space and maximizing chances of capsized mic-stands? I’m highly surprised no one pulled a showstopper by accident and straight up kicked the singer. Alas, all went without a hitch, as hitch-less as crowdkilling can be. The dads danced the night away, proving that NYHC isn’t just a thing people say whenever they’re feeling stangry. I may not be the biggest fan, but hey, it’s got a nice groove, so I’ll get down and try to keep my body count below double digits. Cheers.
Words: Sean Pierre-Antoine
Live Photo by Meg Loyal Photography