Author – Julia Schwab
Photo by Sarina Solem
After my Lyft driver sang me a two-minute country song acapella on the way to El Corazon, I finally arrived greeted by a huge group of people buzzing outside. My Tuesday night was off to an interesting start. I was surprised to see such a packed venue, but after considering it more, it made sense; the line-up had several pretty popular names to bring people out. Only a few days earlier, Knocked Loose sold out a 750-capacity venue in Denver, Colorado, proving that they deserve a place in hardcore. I was excited to see them for the second time and observe the night’s dynamic.
The three bands I wanted to see the most were Terror, Jesus Piece, and Knocked Loose. Jesus Piece, which is one of my current favorite hardcore bands, instantly delivered what I expected of them. The band started with brooding track “Greed” from their 2016 three song tape called… 3 Song Tape. As the song exploded into vocals, a decent pit opened to build the set’s energy. The next song they played was a new song, and throughout their fairly short set they incorporated quite a few new songs. Although it was fun to hear new content that they’ll be putting out, I did think it took away from the energy a little bit since the crowd didn’t know them. However, songs like “Oppressor” and “Conjure Life” from their classic EP elicited strong responses. Changes of pace and racing riffs made the set easy to stay tuned in to. Jesus Piece closed with their most popular song, “Sinking.” Before breaking out into the song, vocalist Aaron Heard stopped to make a comment, saying to the crowd, “This one is for all the black and brown kids out here tonight.” I thought this was a really important thing to say, since hardcore is often dominated by white men. However, the crowd didn’t give as enthusiastic of a response as I expected, which seemed straight up disrespectful and disappointing. I think people of color in the hardcore scene deserve to feel much more welcomed and apart of this community. I think the lack of enthusiasm wasn’t purposeful, but I still think it was pretty f**ked up.
Terror was the next band to play. I’ve heard a lot of people cite Terror as one of their first hardcore bands, and it’s a little bit of a joke in the community that people start with Terror. Why? I’m not completely sure. I think it’s mostly because of how long they’ve been delivering sounds that are popular in hardcore. Terror has been doing this for over 10 years, and they represent the principles that hardcore lies on tirelessly. I’ve honestly always found Terror really corny, but I think everyone already knows how corny they are and respects them anyways. The band wasted no time blowing into fast-paced throwback “Keep Your Mouth Shut.” The crowd went off, since so many people were familiar with Terror and knew these songs so well. Stand out songs included “Stick Tight” and “One with the Underdogs.” Between songs, vocalist Scott Vogel went on a few of his famous rants about the importance of the hardcore community and finding acceptance in it. Some of the comments included, “We’re all weird. If you’re here, you’re weird. You don’t fit in and this is our place.” It got a little too corny for me, especially since similar comments went on through the whole set. However, I respect their resilience with hardcore and their strong passion for it. The set ended with a true classic, “Keepers of the Faith.” Even I couldn’t help singing along while the crowd went crazy. In unison, everyone screamed “All the blood, the sweat we gave / Through all my joys and pains / You can’t deny we’re the keepers of the faith” to finish off the set.
Finally, it was time for Knocked Loose. For a beat down band, they definitely go in heavy. After an ominous intro exciting the crowd, Knocked Loose started off their performance with a new song. Shortly after, the band went into a popular song off of their Laugh Tracks album, “Billy No Mates.” The crowd brought it with a heavy pit and stage diving everywhere. When I say pit, I don’t mean a rap mosh pit of people jumping up and down. I don’t mean to throw shade, but people who think those are crazy haven’t seen what real pits look like. I was surprised Seattle was able to bring it the way they did. Obviously, festivals and other settings come on stronger, but for Seattle it really wasn’t too bad.
Photo by Sarina Solem
Energy stayed high as the band switched around from their original EP, Pop Culture, and full LP. I considered myself in mosh retirement as I like to call it, but once the song “The Gospel” came on, I couldn’t help it. With “Bury you till it f**king hurts / But I don’t want to be a member of your f**king church” preceding a good ol’ breakdown, the hardcore kid in me had to go in. Someone had to show these older dudes in the pit how a girl can hang, too. So, I threw some classic elbows and kicks and stayed closer in the crowd for the rest of the set. I guess I had a lot of random anger to get out that I didn’t know I had. After “The Gospel,” vocalist Bryan Garris introduced the next song, saying, “This song is the most important to me. There are a lot of ignorant people out there. This one’s called ‘Oblivion’s Peak.’” The song becomes a callout right away with, “Rooted from a place of intolerance / I won’t cater to a coward / That hides behind a fraternity / Just so he can feel empowered.” The crowd’s energy was contagious without fail, and all of the songs following were some of the ones I like the most. By “Counting Worms,” I pulled my first stage dive in probably over two years, which was really weird. The last two songs were explosive hits “Deadringer” and “All My Friends.” During “Deadringer,” A HUGE guy who decided to stage dive only on me knocked me pretty hard, which is when my ankle twisted and sprained. Finally, “All My Friends” really took off to end the night. After it ended and the last breakdown finished, Garris stopped to say that the crowd didn’t go hard enough. The band replayed the end of the song, telling everyone they wanted to see more, and the crowd proved themselves.
Photo by Sarina Solem
By the end of the night, I was incredibly tired and surprised at my emergence out of mosh retirement. My ankle has been wildly swollen and messed up since, which is really funny to me. Hardcore is a weird genre. It’s a weird environment. It’s corny and sometimes straight up punishing, but at the end of the day, you can really have some fun messing around with it.
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JULIA SCHWAB | Back in Mosh Retirement | KXSU Music Reporter