Wednesday, September 25, 2013
Live: Hoax/The Impalers/Kurraka/Glue @ The Mohawk (8/28/13)
I realized after this show ended on that hot August night, how different hardcore is experienced in a festival setting than it is at an actual show. Looking back, I suddenly became aware of the fact that I had only experienced hardcore bands at Fun Fun Fun Fest or Choas in Tejas. Worthy flag-bearers for the genre, but also festivals that always contained the quality that you could slip away when you wanted, to see less intense bands, or some relaxing, peaceful area. A hardcore show though, this one particularly, the intensity and energy couldn't be avoided for a second. You came to experience something brutal, something vital, and no one, especially once Hoax had finished, left without some sense of that being fulfilled.
It always upsets me when I catch an incredible opening act, only to discover that they are in fact a local band. When incredible music is being made right under your nose, it can make you feel like you're failing as a music writer. Discovering that fact also helps to explain situations, like why the crowd went bonkers right when Glue took the stage. It was this blend of snotty and weirdo hardcore that only kids under 22 can make, every song less two minute blasts of not fury, not rage, but some some evil feeling mix of psychotic and pissed anger that could only expressed through gritted teeth. They only played for about 15 minutes, which is expected, but if there was any band I wished could have gone on longer that night, it was Glue.
Kurraka were definitely the odd band out of the night. They played this very steady but deeply noisy & raw form of post-punk, never moving, and pumping one song after another. While this obviously meant to convey some sense of subdued intensity, instead all the songs wound up blurring together, and their was this unintended lifelessness in the band, especially after Glue had just come off stage. Under different circumstances, Kurraka would be so much better (and their last song was great, the high point of the set), but there, they just felt like a placeholder.
The Impalers set came roaring in as the biggest possible contrast to Kurraka's set. The five piece were the most technically experienced of the night. They unleashed this torrent of blistering and heavy hardcore, the stuff composed of wreaked vocal chords, and music that hovered between trash and d-beat. The problem was that the Impalers kept shoving in these metal aspects; generic, metal guitar solos, and obvious you-could-see-them-a-mile-a-way breakdowns. Even the frontman's constant hair spinning felt put on and unnecessary. There was nothing really bad about The Impalers, just the confusion as to why there had to be so many cliché moments in their songs.
I had heard all the stories about how great/brutal Hoax were live. How they always played less than 15 minute shows that managed to be one of the most intense things you've ever experienced. After I saw them, I came to a realization; everything people said about Hoax live was a massive fucking understatement. Hoax fucking destroyed during their brief minutes onstage, even more screwed up and intense than they are on their records. As they set up, you could feel the almost evil tension that the band was going to unleash, something that was triggered by the first notes and a crowd that had laid relatively dormant during Kurraka's & The Impalers' sets. Before the first song, the frontman was already bleeding, self-inflected damage from the microphone or from throwing himself at the crowd, when he wasn't unleashing momentary bursts of torment onstage. By the second song, I'm sure most of the crowd was in similar shape. The show was such a sudden unleashment of fucked up energy, there was even a lull close to the end, of people so whipped out from the night. And then Hoax closed with "Fagget", and the last bits of anger that were reserved in the crowed were undo within that minute of just unbelievable hardcore.