Author: Julia Schwab
My Memorial Day weekend ended with a good ol’ Monday night show at Neumos. This wasn’t a particularly relaxing show though; Power Trip, Sheer Mag, Fury, and Red Death all brought something heavy to the stage in different ways.
I started the night not so stoked when I learned that under 21 was required to be upstairs on the balcony. I’ve only been to Neumos once before, and everyone was welcome on the main floor. However, this time we were vanished to the balcony, creating an incredibly odd and awkward atmosphere. Besides inevitably running into people I didn’t want to run into in that small space, finding a spot to even see the stage was tricky while everyone lined up peering over the balcony. Because of this, none of the photos here are actually from the show because I couldn’t capture any (lol). As my friend put it, it was “a totally sh*tty vibe.” I’ve struggled with the tension between people in the hardcore scene and unfortunately that feeling was very present for this show.
The first band of the night was Red Death hailing from Washington D.C. They build off of the classic sound their hometown created, since Washington D.C. was a major hub for hardcore in the 80s and beyond. I hadn’t given them much attention before, but they proved themselves at the show. Active punk vocals with metallic riffs made them hard to not vibe with. I was surprised to hear the political message behind the song “Parasite’s Paradise,” in which the vocalist bellows, “Have a look outside / You’ll see a nation in pain with nowhere to hide / People of color are losing their lives / Just for being alive like you and I.”It’s nice to see the social and political revolutionary side of hardcore that has been lost overtime.
Next up was Fury, a band I’ve wanted to see for a long time now. Fury also builds their sound around their hometown of Orange County, California, where 80s youth crew hardcore was a specific and concise movement. With the consistent energy that comes with hardcore, the band also delivers surprisingly introspective and sometimes poetic lyrics. Seeing their songs acted out live made them so much better. Between songs vocalist Jeremy Stith stumbled over some stage banter and I don’t think anyone really knew what he was saying. Ultimately, I was super impressed with them and they made the night worth it.
After Fury came Sheer Mag. Sheer Mag plays around with 70s harsh rock, and I’m really not a fan of their sound. However, I respect them and appreciate the themes they touch upon. Their sound didn’t really feel like a fit for this line up, so their space in the show felt a little jarring.
Finally, at a late 11:30 PM, Power Trip started their set. Even though I could barely see, I could at least see the excitement and energy the crowd was feeling. The venue was surprisingly packed, which I wasn’t expecting, and it was clear mostly everyone was there for Power Trip. The band immediately and ominously broke out into the heavy riff of “Drown.” Even though being on the balcony sucked, it was kind of funny to be able to watch the pit from above, which was consistently crazy throughout the set. Power Trip’s stand out from the rest of the bands was probably their brooding heaviness and old school screech-like metal riffs. The vocals weren’t particularly as strong as the recordings, but that’s almost given for the difficulty of heavy vocals for an entire set. Some of my favorite songs I watched were “Firing Squad” and their ending, “Manifest Decimation.”
Overall, the night had some difficulties but redeemed itself with some fun moments. Ultimately, I’m glad I went and it was a fun/funny experience to remember.
JULIA SCHWAB | Tired Student | KXSU Music Reporter