I swear, you could slap the name Sound and Fury onto any show flyer and the crowd will be in a state of mind that makes them destroy everything in sight. I guess you could call it Sound and Fury culture, the way these kids slam and stage dive harder than any other scene or genre of music in Los Angeles.
Incendiary‘s set at Sound and Fury 2019 was one of the more insane but honestly, I felt something was lacking in the sound mix, at least from where I was standing. A few years before that in 2016, the band played both the main festival and Five Star Bar for an after show. Those shows were insane but it was this 2020 performance at 1720 warehouse that was their best show in Los Angeles since they’ve been playing here.
This night featured six bands altogether and the first one to go on was the most insane and that was Gulch from San Jose. Made up of members of Drain, this band represents the kind of hardcore that the real gnarly street mother fuckers make, the kind the jock hardcore kids are afraid of. The band’s primal sound turns any show into a war and suddenly you discover this music makes you temporarily indestructible. Ever since 2018’s Burning Desire to Draw Last Breath, Gulch has gained an organic buzz that gets kids to come out early to shows just for them. You can tell almost instantly, this is a band to pay close attention to because they are on their way to hardcore infamy and fast.
Vamachara brought Vedic levels of destruction to the stage with their grueling, crashing, and head-splitting hardcore. Following them, Eyes of the Lord took the stage with the Young brothers in tow but for this band, it’s Colin behind the kit and Taylor on guitar.
Always gnarly, brutal, and gritty, Criminal Instinct gave everybody a lesson in heavy handed hardcore. You see this band perform and you know that they’ve graduates out of the school of hard knocks, back in the day people must’ve gotten the same vibe off of Roger Miret.
Downpresser was holding their record release show for The Long Goodbye, their first album in six years. The band hasn’t been on hiatus though, they’re very present in the scene as veterans younger bands seek guidance from, perhaps this is why they’re still so relevant. Donning a shirt that read, “This Machine Kills Proud Boys”, singer Dan Weinraub spat out some of the most confrontational and charged vocals of the night. This set was dissidence personified. Metallic solos and and energy invigorating the undisputed core.
The lights went down and when they went back up, everyone braced for impact. How these kids don’t walk away with broken bones, or walk away at all at that, is a mystery because from beginning to end, Incendiary’s set saw bodies flying atop each other in a brutal frenzy. These kids walk on each other’s faces. Notable injuries I witnessed was one dude’s bleeding eye and a girl who’s nose got smashed and gushed blood. They were both told to suck it up and did like champs, not letting the pain deter their good time.
Thousand Mile Stare might just be the most important hardcore album of the last decade, every song is a banger and really represents the band. If you think of what ought to be included in an Incendiary setlist, I think you’d have a difficult time parting ways with any song from that album. Jagged guitars and arrangements that give you the sense that the time is now, as if you’re face to face with the oppressor, make this music the political hardcore band to beat. Our generation’s Inside Out.
For “The Product is You”, singer Brendan Garrone sent out a call to action for us to stop letting ourselves be brainwashed and divided by social media. It went to show he’s wiser than any sort of ideologue, left or right but rather has a nuanced position and understands we’ve all been led to hate each other by dubious forces weaponizing these platforms to benefit from our division.
All in all, the band sounded crisper, the audience went harder, and the songs had more punch than any other time I had seen Incendiary in Los Angeles. This was a special show for all involved, one that will make look back on 2020 as a year that started off with a bang.
Words by: Rob Shepyer
Photos by: Albert Licano