This was one of the concerts I was anticipating most in 2019. As soon as the first couple singles off Angel Du$t‘s latest album dropped at the end of 2018, I knew this band would climb to new peaks while also changing the game around them. Once we entered 2019, the band released a four track preview of the album with Lil Buff, further forming this new image of what the band could transform into. Once “Bang my Drum” and Pretty Buff finally came out, Angel Du$t became my favorite band of 2019 and Pretty Buff my favorite album of 2019.
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Since their inception, Angel Du$t was a hardcore band that had an affinity for melody, hooks, and clean vocals that other bands didn’t dare play with but because their hardcore cred was unquestionable, the hardcore kids fell in love with the songs. This was every hardcore kid’s outlet for enjoying music about fun and love while staying in this scene. Now, the band made what is basically a pop punk album but with more authentic feeling and style than any of the 90’s pop punk bands ever had. This is something wholly new, this isn’t pop punk, is it pop hardcore? I don’t fucking know, it’s just great.
Before the Lodge Room opened, I made my way to Burger Lords to watch the band do a little acoustic performance to warm the people up for the Big Ass show that night. The genuine feel of the music and the band’s casualness went to show the connection this band had with the people and ultimately to themselves. This is a band that wouldn’t know how to sell out if they wanted to. They know exactly what they’re about and aren’t afraid to express every facet of it.
Result of Choice opened up the Lodge Room with some heavy, impactful, and aggressive hardcore that had knowledge and awareness in every riff and lyric. So young and hailing from Florida, Result of Choice represent a bright future for hardcore with artists that still fight for change while never forgetting the traditions which molded them, the traditions of hardcore music.
A band that shared our top artists to watch of 2019 list with Angel Du$t was next and that’s Dare. It’s always a pleasure to see this band from OC because every show they never fail to impress, the next one is always harder than the last. The kids go crazy because the music is crazy. The guitars are so heavy and forceful, like a punch right to the center of your chest. The riffs are jagged and the drumming confrontational. Then you got a singer who is able to take hardcore kids on a ride. All show long, he has them in the palm of his hand and makes them do what he wants them to. Every member of the band is talented, devoted to hardcore, and worthy of endless praise. What was cool about Dare opening up the show is that the whole band are such big fans of Angel Du$t and they ain’t afraid to show it.
Bloomington, Indiana’s Bugg has been bringing alternative rock back but the way they alt-rock is nothing old, it’s new, fresh, and all their own. The hardcore kids gave the band props and stage dived and moshed during the show but not ironically, the music has a feel you can ride like a wave that crashes. Think Husker Du if they knew what kind of extreme and mellow music would be coming in the decades to come and made music accordingly.
Angel Du$t set the stage with the latest iconography, visuals, and characters that correspond to their new sound. Mannequins with dog heads on either side of the stage are one of the many symbols the band has adopted to represent them. If you follow them, you’ll see all sorts of imagined and colorful animals married to the music, including Pokemon. All things colorful, lively, and with undeniable style are welcomed to the Angel Du$t party. This band plays with street style and athletic wear as well, think Reebok and Adidas steez. It’s a little more high-key than what Los Angeles is used to, adopting the color and fashion you might see in hip hop. The fashion is clearly influenced by growing up in Baltimore.
The band began with older songs and got the moshing and stage diving out of the audience’s system early, starting with “Headstone”. The band kept the melodic hardcore up until finishing one of their most riveting songs, “Stay”. That’s when singer, Justice Tripp picked up an acoustic guitar to bust out the Pretty Buff tracks, starting with “Bang My Drum”. Even though you’d sooner frolic than mosh listening to this song on headphones, the whole audience was moshing harder than ever, or rather frolicking into each other, onto each other’s heads. This is my favorite song on Pretty Buff, the first time I heard it, I not only thought good rock music is finally back, that songwriting with catchy hooks and fun is back. Someone had to discover all over again from scratch how to write songs like this, and Angel Du$t was the band to do it.
When the band went into “Big Ass Love”, another banger on the album reminiscent of something you might hear on Green Day’s Nimrod, the audience erupted. Angel Du$t dedicated the song to Dare and the whole band took the opportunity to join in the debauchery and get in some damage. Throughout the set, every member of Angel Du$t was absolutely killing it. From Daniel Fang tearing apart his drum set to Brendan Yates and Pat McRory (also of Turnstile) slaying on guitars. I feel like every time I see Yates he takes on some strange, almost transcendant quality, you can see in his eyes that his mind has reached a height above humanity. I don’t remember the last time a hardcore artist has operated with such poetry and enlightenment.
The set’s climax was their most aggressive song, “Set Me Up” which forces the audience to compulsively get on stage, go ape shit, and sing-along. The moment when the female vocal kicks-in, every woman in the audience uses the song as a vehicle to release so much angst at a society that continuously gives them a hard time, it’s a musical exorcism. This was undoubtably one of the most hectic, beautiful, iconic, and special concerts of 2019, and will undoubtably make my top ten list at the end of the year.
Words by: Rob Shepyer
Photos by: Dillon Vaughn