This was it. The big show. The one Los Angeles hardcore kids and old school punk mother fuckers had been seething, waiting for. Gorilla Biscuits in LA. Gorilla Biscuits in OC. Gorilla Biscuits from New York fucking City, who only come here once in a blue moon. And they didn’t come to the Roxy play a show and bounce, they stayed the day did an early and a late show and I had the pleasure of attending both. I could’ve seen them five more times before getting tired, because I know it’ll be a while until GB returns to the concrete jungle on this side of the country to stomp all over Sunset with those big ass Gorilla feet.
GB played the night before in Orange County at Garden Amp and everybody who saw pics and videos from that show knew there’s nothing we could’ve done to top their insanity. The audience completely covered the stage until Civ had to sing standing on the drum riser. Why was the OC show substantially more hardcore? Was it the size of the venue and stage? Probably. Was is also that hardcore kids from Orange County are crazier than hardcore kids from New York, let alone Los Angeles? Probably that too.
For these shows, Gorilla Biscuits booked a few amazing openers beginning with Wise, a young band from San Diego that plays traditional hardcore, playing the early show. Their form of hardcore feels undeniably street even if it was created in sunny SD.
Then, to open up the late show, the Biscuits contrasted the youth of Wise with the veteran musicians in Winds of Promise. Beginning with a cover of Minor Threat’s “Filler” and “I Don’t Want to Hear it”, this band features members of the legendary Uniform Choice, Ignite, and Unity.
Fury, the next band to play both the early and late shows, seems to only get booked for shows that are especially, well, special. What’s even more rare is for Howard Stern’s Ronnie the Limo Driver to appear on stage with them like he did for the late show.Every song on Paramount plays perfectly and brings an audience together to sing, slam, and praise hardcore. That album is epic and their closer, “The Feeling” has a soaring riff you want to never end. With a new album on the horizon, and “Angels in Berlin” already having been released, I see Fury making a big splash in 2019 and perhaps even breaking out into the mainstream, almost like Refused did.
A lot of cool and interesting people came out to see the Gorilla Biscuits. The secret punks of Hollywood, a whole new generation of kids being turned onto hardcore, die hards, street punks, and punk icons.
The biggest difference between the first and second GB sets was that the early show featured live trumpeters playing the intro to “New Direction”, the opener for both sets. This is the most most epic and iconic introduction hardcore has to offer, it’s synonymous with Gorilla Biscuits. The jock aesthetics that always separated hardcore from traditional punk is made music in this intro with the kinds of horns you’d hear ushering in a race or Olympic game.
The audience was going ape shit from start to finish, during the late set a bit more than the early but still both efforts were commendable as far as energy, vigor, and violence go. Every song the band played had the die hards fighting to get to the front of the crowd so they can sing into Civ’s microphone.
One of the most memorable songs in their set were “Stand Your Ground” which Civ dedicated to the women in the audience. He explained he worries about the future for women because men are failing to be decent and honorable towards them. He said that between them, Gorilla Biscuits has seven daughters, so they reenforced a lesson I’m sure they taught their own girls, and that’s to STAND YOUR GROUND! Another track that was really felt was a cover of the Buzzcocks’ “Sitting Round At Home” which was an attempt to break this generation’s lazy and detached routine and make us wake the fuck up.
Every member of the band was a master player both within the scene and as a musician in the general sense. Walter Schreifels is the coolest cat in the room wherever he goes and an absolute baller in the world of hardcore. I can’t praise that guy enough for all he’s done for rock music. No matter what band he’s playing with, he gives the audience everything. This has been the case when I’ve seen him play with Youth of Today and Quiksand as well.
One of the things that made these two shows so great were the cameos, whether it be Toby Morse coming on stage to sing “Minor Threat” or Mike Ferraro from Judge and Youth of Today getting behind the drums. And if Toby Morse and Civ behind the microphone didn’t get you stoked, a pair kids younger than 10 grabbing the microphone to sing made the audience go nuts.
At the end of the 2nd set, Civ instructed the crowd not to take out their phones and just experience the last song, “Start Today” in the moment and together as one. With everyone’s hands free and eyes on the prize, we were able to focus our Biscuit power into the climactic ending of the Gorilla Biscuit’s L.A. stomping session.
Words by: Rob Shepyer
Photos by: Giuseppe Steel