Who says the hardcore scene doesn’t have a responsible side? This last Monday’s edition of the 2016 Life and Death tour was up and going by 6:00pm and done by 11:30pm and no band played for more than thirty minutes. That might not sound significant, but it allowed those in attendance to be in bed on time and get a decent night’s sleep for work and school the next day. The crowd wasn’t huge, but it was enough to pack the showroom at Foufounes Electriques even if the bar’s multiple other rooms were largely empty.
You know what grinds my gears? People who show up late to venues and miss the local openers. It’s such a lack of respect for the community as a whole; it just makes me sick. So, I missed the first three bands. Sorry to Fury, Red Death, and Angel Du$t. I really would have liked to have seen you guys. Angel Du$t, in particular, is some fun melodic hardcore, and I recommend it to everyone except for haters.
Of the three main acts (the bands I did catch) the one that made the biggest impression was Harm’s Way. Harm’s Way and Power Trip are both fresh off of Hellfest, and it’s always nice to see festival grade bands play smaller venues, especially in the hardcore scene; it always provides something of a family vibe. As evidenced by the number of dudes in the crowd wearing jerseys with the band’s moniker, these guys have a loyal fan base. Either that. Or, people were just scared that if they don’t listen to Harm’s Way then heavily tattooed half frontman half boulder James Pligge will find them and tear them in half with his bare hands. Seriously, he is one of the scariest human beings I’ve ever laid eyes on. I’m sure he’s a nice guy, but I’m still gonna have nightmares about him punching the air so hard that he might have knocked it out. (He did this on beat and in rhythm to the music.) And he’s big, really big. Like Lou Ferrigno big. Their music was just as brutal as Pligge is scary. It’s bone raw hardcore that sounded like a more violent and less pensive Converge. Again, the set was short, but the collection of bangers both old and from most recent release Rush will have the equally violent pit dwellers feeling that performance for days.
Between the headliners and direct support, Terror and Power Trip respectively, neither band did anything special. None of the bands that played throughout the evening had any backdrop or logo anywhere in sight. All they had were the green houselights which, with the empty room right next to the stage, just didn’t have the surreal power they usually achieve. Honestly, during both of their sets, I was more interested in watching the tiny sound girl at Fouf’s do her job. I found myself contemplating the fact that you don’t see enough female sound techs around and the sound quality was bang on for all three bands. The vocals cut through cleanly, the guitars were crunchy, and the bottom end was punishing.
Don’t get me wrong. It’s not that Power Trip and Terror were bad. They were fine, although honestly, Power Trip could have been tighter, particularly drummer Chris Ulsh. Maybe, it was an off night; maybe I’m just a dick. If you were going into the sets with no real prior knowledge of either band’s music, though, it all just sounded like by the book hardcore. This coupled with a lack of any visual flare made for a pair of underwhelming headliners. Especially on a six-band bill, especially with a ticket price of thirty dollars, that’s when you want to give the casual listener some reason other than a fat lip from a mosh pit to go and check your band out. To Terror’s credit, frontman Scott Vogel was absent from the event, and it seems he will be absent from the entire tour due to a fairly serious back injury, so regular bassist David Wood handled the vocal duties. He did a pretty solid job, not dwelling on Vogel’s absence but instead inciting the crowd to mosh and be violent in Vogel’s honour. Their latest release, last year’s The 25th Hour, is pretty solid, and maybe this show shouldn’t be taken as a representation of how they usually fly.
Written by Syd Ghan
*edited by Danielle Kenedy