Words by: Rob Shepyer
I feel like every year I go to Sound and Fury, I end up thinking it was the best Sound and Fury I’ve ever been to. 2018 was the festival’s first time at the Belasco, with California’s beloved Rotting Out reuniting to headline Friday, Ceremony closing out the main fest and Iron Age reuniting for an after show at the tiny Resident. Before that, 2017 had Incendiary headline the Regent but also play Five Star Bar the night before, along with Nails, for an after show that had chairs and real punches swinging in the pit. My first Sound and Fury, 2016 featured an unforgettable Ceremony set and was the only time I’ve ever seen my favorite black metal band, Taake, at an after show.
And yet, taking all of these experiences into account, I still feel Sound and Fury 2019 is the undisputed champion. Why? Simply because Have Heart created a concert atmosphere that was so crazed, I’ve never seen anything like it, nor probably will ever again. Seeing it happen in the moment, waves of hardcore kids breaking against the stage, eroding it, was so overwhelming it wore on my mind just to watch. In the moment, I couldn’t register what I was seeing but the next day I realized, without exaggeration or hyperbole, I had witnessed nothing short of a controlled, indoor riot.
Everyone expected the crowd to go insane, after all, this was only the third Have Heart reunion show that was ever going to happen on American soil, but no one could’ve thought we’d reach the fever pitch we did. What made Sound and Fury 2019 so special was that it was a collaboration, this time it wasn’t only Riley and Martin steering the ship. The festival joined forces with Run For Cover Records, the Boston based label. The product of this collaboration was not only that Boston was represented heavily but also that this Sound and Fury exceeded expectations. Sound and Fury 2019 showed everyone what is possible in an indoor festival setting.
This Sound and Fury didn’t just host one of the four Have Heart sold-out, highly anticipated reunion shows, it hosted two of them. The main festival sold out so quickly Have Heart decided to play a pre-show on Thursday with a lineup as stacked as any of the main festival days. That too sold out before you could even think twice about going. And that’s where my Sound and Fury 2019 began, on a hot, gorgeous Thursday in Downtown Los Angeles on Hill Street.
The festival’s first artist was Anxious, an alternative band with plenty of emo, gaze, and post-hardcore influence to stir up a crowd’s emotions. Hailing from Connecticut and BBB records, this band was sure to give Sound and Fury fans part of what they waited all year to see at this festival. Summer and youth are embodied in bands like Anxious and S&F as a whole. Having been a part of the other Have Heart shows, Anxious is planting seeds on both coasts as a band that should be known for powerful performances, abrasive emotions, and spellbinding riffs.
Initiate is quickly growing in the scene as a force to be reckoned with. For this band, social awareness and angst charges their sound to have a bombastic feel in both music and performance. A lot people, men or women, can project themselves and their rage through the band’s lead singer, who of the many women leading hardcore bands in 2019 is perhaps the most low-key fierce.
Last year, Abuse of Power put on a show-stealing set that had the crowd all over the stage and band, singing with them. It’s moments like these that Sound and Fury is known for. And to set off Sound and Fury 2019, Abuse of Power was the perfect mid-card act to get the people up on stage and move to that confrontational, decisive style of hardcore.
Rotting Out‘s reunion last year at Sound and Fury had the Belasco going completely insane and in this slot, as direct support under Have Heart, the audience went just as insane. Walter Delgado and the boys began their set with one of their biggest hits, “Laugh Now, Die Later” which set the evening on an upward trajectory where the intensity didn’t seem to fall for the rest of the night. The concert just kept peaking. People were leapfrogging and flipping over Walter and he seemed to absorb the hits like a human-bulldozer, plowing through the crowd. You can credit Rotting Out as one of the reasons Have Heart’s set was so insane, more insane than their second set headlining Friday.
Standing at the balcony’s edge, I had a bird’s eye view of Have Heart. From there, I could truly absorb the scale of the insanity. Long ago, when kings perched up at the highest roost of their castles to watch a battle wage below, they must’ve felt like I did, seeing obscene violence while drinking from a beer, my belly full of laughter, shock, and awe. The first thing anyone saw was a sign projected above the stage reading “Separating Migrant Children From Their Families Is A Human Rights Violation”. In plain and simple English, the band addressed the most hot button topic in the country. And it’s hard to dispute their point, something Patrick Flynn realized when he pressed politicians with the question. After setting the tone with a powerful political statement, the lights in the Belasco all faded to black. Ushering in the band was the Charles Bukowski poem “Bluebird” as recited by Tom O’Bedlam. This choice really gave me food for thought. Why Bluebird? The band must surely identify with the idea of sensitivity suppressed to maintain a tough image… but from time to time, the artist lets their sensitivity free to soar. To me, Have Heart exemplifies that tough exterior. Their songs exhibit such political dissidence that they act as a shield and sword. Have Heart’s sensitivity, the blue bird inside, enters the equation when you realize all this screaming is in the name of spreading peace, love, freedom and tolerance.
From my perch, I could see the band launch into their set, at the audience, full force. Patrick Flynn braced for the pain his fans would surely deliver. The crowd was only half-lit, giving it this eerie character that made the crowd’s push appear more raw. I could make endless metaphors for what this scene looked like, a ship stranded in the ocean during a blind midnight monsoon, every individual combining into the body of a crowd and that crowd slam dancing as if it was a single hardcore kid. Words don’t do my memory justice and neither do photographs, honestly. The first song was “The Same Son”, continuing with “Bostons”, “The Unbreakable”, “Life is Hard Enough”, “Watch Me Sink”, and then upon the opening riff of “Armed With A Mind” the whole Belasco snapped. Everyone sang, even the crushed and eviscerated. The bangers kept rolling until the band closed with “Watch Me Rise”. The set was overwhelming just to watch without even participating in. I could see blood running down people’s faces. It was really like watching a war and maybe I’ve said that about other hardcore sets in the past but I’ve only really meant it this one time.
THURSDAY AFTER SHOW
The after shows at Sound and Fury are must-attend events. Often times they surpass the main fest with less than half the audience. This after show began with a completely left turn from the hardcore we had eaten all day and that was with Run For Cover records’ Young Guv, a garage punk band that fools might immediately compare to the likes of the Strokes or Hives but really, if you listen close enough, this band has such an old school rock and roll tone that I hear the Cars, the Kinks, and even Van Halen before I hear those contemporary bands. Young Guv has that old school swagger in their fashion and style. They look like they’re from another time and usually, hardcore and this type of music are like oil and water. Garage/glam punks don’t care for jocks, after all. This band though, goes well with anything. This was one of those beautiful discoveries I wasn’t expecting to hear.
One of the most popular New York bands here in Los Angeles are the always-in-demand Krimewatch. They performed next and those dastardly, dangerous hardcore riffs perfectly meshed with Rhylli’s seductive, serpentine dance moves. As always, they were incredible, bringing the Belasco ballroom to its most punk rock peaks. If we’re talking pure punk rage, Krimewatch might have brought the most the entire festival.
Returning to the Los Angeles hardcore scene that he helped create and evolve, Conrad Loebl of Nature World Night Out, took to the DJ deck to play the beats for Lil’ Ugly Mane. Mane’s history with hardcore music dates back long ago to his origins as a musician. Since then, Conrad fostered such a bridge between hardcore and hip hop that all the hardcore kids felt totally at home dancing, slamming, and partying to Mane’s music. Hip hop and hardcore have always had so much in common and it would’ve made any MC proud to see how hard kids turned up for this set.
related content: Nature World Night Out At The Regent: Building Bridges Between Hardcore And Hip Hop
Best sets of Thursday:
- Have Heart
- Rotting Out
- Lil Ugly Mane
- Young Guv
After Thursday’s Pre-Show, I finally got back into the Sound and Fury swing of things and remembered why this festival is so beloved. Fans give the festival of their body and blood, reserving all their passion for one specific weekend of the summer. It’s the audience that makes this festival so special and it’s no wonder that artists assimilate into that audience throughout the weekend as if there was no separation between them.
Unprecedented levels of concert violence are what you should expect when kids are jumping all over each other, fighting for the microphone so they could sing with their favorite frontmen, or just surfing from one coast of the Belasco to another. When people attend Sound and Fury for the first time, especially those without any predisposition to hardcore concerts, they think they’ve landed on another planet, where there are no rules or concert etiquette. You soon realize that the intensity of hardcore kids is second to none. Between Metalheads and punks, no one is willing to endanger themselves or put as much physicality or force into their style.
Friday began with Antagonize, a Boston band off Triple B records featuring Bane’s Aaron Bedard on vocals. The band was able to switch it up between fast paced assault and slow, slam summoning breakdowns that had every body moving. Aaron had commanding style at the microphone bringing veteran frontman sensibility to this early slot of the day.
Next up was Protester, a band from D.C. that was insanely heavy and carried that D.C. hardcore tradition proudly. The band claimed this was going to be their last West Coast performance and their farewell show did not disappoint. This set was dissidence personified.
One Step Closer was playing the intimate stage upstairs and as soon as I stepped foot into that cramped ballroom, I knew Sound and Fury had truly begun because they were covering Inside Out’s “Burning Fight”. Covers are an important element to Sound and Fury, we have to pay homage to the greats and acknowledge there are statements that have to be made that older bands communicated too perfectly to recreate. One Step Closer, another band off Triple B, really exemplified that spirit of youth I spoke about earlier, you see a band this young and bright perform and you have no worries about where the next generation is going to take things.
And it was at at that point where a stray hardcore kick flew right into our photographer’s camera and jostled it out of commission. If you notice, photographers stay away from the most photogenic and action packed places to be at Sound and Fury, only a few choice places on stage serve as vantage points. All the other places where these photographers would usually shoot, are places where only madmen tread. Reinforcements had to be called but they only arrived later.
Three Knee Deep played that rough and tumble, jock stomp sort of hardcore that gets fists swinging and people on stage to dive with no remorse. The singer’s gravelly voice and hardcore dancing showed that he was one with the audience and clearly a veteran of the scene. Triple-B represented hard this year at Sound and Fury.
There was plenty of expectation for Dare to steal the show because last year saw them going viral with a mosh pit too hard to imagine. Since then, they’ve been touring all over for bands like Culture Abuse and Angel Du$t, showing more promise than perhaps anyone else in the young, hungry world of So-Cal hardcore. And you can’t recreate what happened before, but they sure brought the pain that will reinvent the game.
Like It Or Not were awesome live. Martin Stewart, one of the festival’s creators, plays guitars in so many bands, from Terror to Xibalba, so it was cool to see him don his bucket hat and jersey behind the microphone as the singer of Like It Or Not. In this role, Martin uses his more humorous sensibilities to play up this sort of hardcore pimp daddy character. The kind of scene baller Los Angeles is in desperate need of.
Initiate then performed once again, this time upstairs for a celebratory birthday performance in honor of their drummer. Donning birthday cone hats and letting the confetti rip before their guitars, the band took the ballroom by storm getting everyone to dance and bounce off each other.
Diztort took the main stage and the audience went completely ape shit, making it known Orange County was in the house. The guitars and vocals were grizzled, this is a band that instills fear in all those unprepared for a wild pit or performance.
The Bostonian women of Firewalker made sure we all recognized they were a force to be reckoned with. They might have had the most guttural vocals of the whole lot, more suitable for death metal if they ever wished and with a satan horn tiara on their singer, Sophie Hendry’s head, it’s possible it could happen. Furthermore, I just want to add that Sophie is the sister to Krimewatch bassist Emma Hendry, who are the undisputed most badass siblings of hardcore.
Representing Oxnard, Dead Heat performed next and after last year’s confetti-filled slam party on the upstairs stage, it was expected they would deliver one of the best sets of the festival. The nardcore, crossover stylings of the band had the audience moving at a continuous and relentless pace. Their singer, Chris Ramos, was moving faster than any vocalist is asked to, making the audience have to catch him to sing into his microphone. This one ended in a big sweaty mess, all the energy that was saved for this set was exhausted.
I have been hearing a lot about Glitterer the last couple days before and after Sound and Fury. Ned Russin of Title Fight, a band I’m dying to see, went solo for an emo-trap project and released his latest album, Looking Through The Shades the weekend of the festival. In the world of “emo-trap”, his style is as far from trap as can be, basically he’s a one-man emo band. He seemed impassioned but that sort of over the top, desperate sound often inspires cynicism from people, which was the case for me.
No Warning was devouring the main stage with fierce vocals and riffs that had the pit moving non-stop and kids climbing on stage with death wishes. Every year at Sound and Fury, Canada delivers and No Warning were no exception.
Every Sound and Fury, there’s a slot at the top of the bill, usually with two bands set to perform after, that is reserved for softer artists that can bring out an emotional upheaval from hardcore kids that’ve spent the day pounding each other’s bodies and brains with heavy music. Artists like Turnover and Citizen occupied this role in the past and without the more emotional, romantic memories they gave me, Sound and Fury just wouldn’t feel the same. It would seem that Basement was the perfect band to have this duty and their set made that clear with everyone singing along to their ballads and reveries. In spite of all the violence these kids are capable of, the amount of sensitivity they’re able to wear on their sleeves should make you realize hardcore kids are the most genuine scene in all of rock and roll.
Fury, Orange County’s current kings of hardcore, call Sound and Fury their home. I can claim the obvious after seeing them perform at the festival every time I’ve attended: you can’t say Sound and Fury without Fury. And every year they never fail to disappoint. Still, I never find myself growing weary with their music. I was interested to see how the Sound and Fury audience would respond to their new material off Failed Entertainment, which was sort of a departure from the simpler, heavier Paramount, and as it would so happen, the people ate it up. I can see it now, the bright future in store for Fury, making hardcore that transcends the scene and genre. When they do that, hopefully we don’t lose sight they’ve always been a band for the people.
Have Heart’s 2nd performance, and their final in America (for the time being), began with a member of an indigenous tribe taking the stage to tell her tribe’s story. She spoke about how European settlers took her tribe’s land and forced them to work on the mission that ended up taking their culture, beliefs, and dignity. Relating this to our current immigration policy, the case was made that no human being is illegal. For such a long time, the might of Christian right and empire have left so much blood in their wake. Now in 2019, we can do better simply by understanding that being a good human being and trying to mend others’ suffering is a choice we can make every day.
Have Heart took the stage to an impassioned audience ready to take their frustrations out on the Belasco stage. Although this set didn’t carry the absolute lawlessness that the pre-show did for whatever reason, Patrick Flynn still had plenty of things to get off his chest. Donning a shirt that read “No Justice” on the front, Patrick Flynn never shies from politics or hot-button issues during a performance. That’s the way he’s always been, whether in Have Heart or FREE, and that’s the way he’s always presented himself at Sound and Fury. As a progressive, youthful gathering in one of America’s biggest melting pot cities, Flynn’s message hit the hardest with us. Flynn also spoke about elitism and pseudo-intellectuality in hardcore. He remembers a time when hardcore was about being real and not having a problem with being wrong. Which just goes to show you that Flynn is open to discourse when it comes to politics. This set had all the same songs you’d would want to hear out of a Have Heart set just as the first night did but in different order.
Friday’s only after show took place in the upstairs ballroom once again and though I wished there was another after show to concert-hop to so I could feel like Sound and Fury took over L.A., the bands on this bill were so captivating that it didn’t matter where it was taking place. From a strictly musical perspective, this was the best after show I’ve ever attended and it’s all thanks to three bands: Dominant Force, Wild Side, and Division of Mind. Opening up the show for quick but powerful sets were Antagonize, Anxious, and One Step Closer.
These bands kept the fast and heavy hitting pace going until Florida’s Dominant Force took the stage and I was shocked at how brutal this young band was and sold that they will become crossover kings someday. Their style of thrashy, fast, street-wise hardcore is reminiscent of the true greats, Cro-Mags, DRI. I felt like I was seeing Slayer at a garage gig in Huntington Beach.
I thought that Dominant Force would be my one standout of the day but as it would turn out, Wild Side only kept the crossover train rolling. Hailing from Niagra Falls, Canada, this band has that certain Canadians sense of humor and freshness that makes their hardcore come across as simply not giving a fuck. I couldn’t believe I was hearing such fast and heavy music coming from this band, it was the sound every angry kid could ever want out of crossover or thrash.
Last year, Division of Mind was one of my festival highlights. For their visceral music and singer’s rough vocal style, I considered them one of the biggest takeaways from the weekend. Seeing them again a year later, I know that they’ve only intensified in their anger and vision to become one of the baddest bands on the planet. The riffs are unbelievably heavy and even though you can’t completely understand the lyrics, the delivery and band’s visual element makes you know these songs are about very unhinged and demented themes. They play hardcore music that’s so heavy some would probably call it death metal. At the same time the vocals aren’t exactly “guttural”, they totally surpass that descriptor. The vocals sound more like a rabid pit bull with a mouth full of bees and every time the pit bull barks it shoots bees at you. Seriously though, I’m not sure why this band hasn’t totally taken over the metal world yet, it’s only just a matter of time until they make a huge splash.
The after show concluded with a set that brought everyone together in the wee hours of the night to rekindle our love of hardcore as it was introduced to us, in small rooms of sweaty, uncomfortable people with no care for theirs bodies, singing and jumping on top of each other. Thank you Abuse of Power, for sending Sound and Fury Night 1 off and back to bed to dream of pits and stage dives.
Best sets of Friday:
- Wild Side
- Have Heart
- Division of Mind
- Dominant Force
Sound and Fury will always be a hardcore festival but it just so happens that this year, Power Trip, a thrash band, would headline Day 2 of the festival. It’ comes as no surprise to me as Riley has always sung Sound and Fury’s praises as inspiration to him. And of all the thrash bands you could book at a hardcore festival, Power Trip probably aligns most with hardcore musical sensibilities. What this fateful booking ended up doing was make for one of the most celebratory day’s of Sound and Fury’s history, combined with Drain’s set, I don’t know if I’ve ever had as much fun at a festival.
The first set of the day was Wise, a band with chugging guitars and formidable sound. The crowd responded to these San Diego shredders warmly, astonished with how much groove and style they carried in their music and bodies.
The incredibly talented Frame of Mind featured a lead singer with so much conviction in his vocal delivery and movement. This is a band that exemplified traditional hardcore spirit, PMA and all, but new school sound.
Speaking of traditional old school hardcore spirit, Line of Sight embodied the bombastic and angry feel of Minor Threat as they performed upstairs at the intimate stage for a rowdy crowd of hardcore kids. I make this comparison strictly based on the band’s sound and vibe and how they made that crowd feel, I had no idea at the time that they are in fact D.C. hardcore and made of members of Have Heart. I guess D.C. hardcore is just so ingrained in their DNA they don’t even need to tell you.
Even just hearing that Year of the Knife is playing at Sound and Fury should bring a foreboding feeling over you. After all, this is one of the most intense and angry young bands out there. The pits are relentless and the music is grotesquely heavy. The people pitted and slammed with a sort of hulking demeanor that came from Year of the Knife’s strengthening, violence inducing set.
Drain‘s set at Sound and Fury proved something incredibly important to me. All it takes is 20 minutes on a stage to put your band and even your city on the map. After this set, everybody wants to see Drain again, everyone wants to visit Santa Cruz, and everyone wants to be the biggest Drain fan in the Drain Beach Party fan club. As the stage was being prepared, I could tell this was going to be special. Numerous members of the audience had their yellow Drain beach party T shirts on. As soon as the band shot into their set, a huge section of the audience got on stage and pulled out every kind of pool goodie from noodles, to floaties, to boogie boards and beach balls. I’ve never seen anything like it, the most brutal display of hilarity in hardcore history. The beach balls were flying, the pool noodles were jousting, the boogie boards were being used as weapons then had kids surfing on top of them, the hardcore kids becoming water drops in an ocean below. I’m only describing the party, the actual music of this band is some of the most badass and heaviest you can encounter in modern hardcore. Every member of the band displayed power on their instruments and in their attitudes. There were moments where band members had to drop their instruments to stage dive with the rest of us. This set was legendary, one that Sound and Fury historians will be referencing for years to come.
One of the bands I headed into the weekend looking forward to was New York’s Ekulu. Listening to their singles, you really get the sense that this band could’ve been around during crossover’s heyday in the 80’s. They are heavy, fast, serrated, and noisy. Seeing them live on the intimate stage shone a light on a different side of the band than I expected. It turns out Ekulu makes some of the most nuanced, rhythmic crossover out there, able to vibe with an audience’s core and give them exactly the hardcore they never knew they wanted.
Following Ekulu were Inclination, downstairs at the main stage, who were throwing one of the most brutal and raucous sets of the day up till that point. A straight edge band hailing from Kentucky off of Pure Noise records demands the expectation of being the most beastly. Their sound careened through the audience like it were a runaway train.
Never Ending Game was next, probably the band with my favorite name on this entire bill. Their chugging guitars and vocals made for brutal pits and a constant stream of fists and kicks swinging. This is a band from the mean streets of Detroit and mean is the right word I’d used to describe the music.
Illusion was next upstairs and though they began their set saying they were going to play every song they have, meaning they didn’t have many, this band was one of the more charged and nuanced hardcore acts of the day, figuring out arrangements beyond the obvious as to how to make people slam and thrash about. There’s something in the water over there in New York. Like Ekulu, this young bands dominated the upstairs stage and it just so happens that both bands are setting out on a tour together that you should definitely not miss.
Candy has quickly become one of the most exciting bands in hardcore, known for their metallic style and undisputed heaviness. Sound and Fury is perhaps where this steady rise toward the top began and this year, having reached a higher slot than last, they were angrier, faster, heavier and less compromising than ever. People showed up for Candy, and by show up, I mean they went as crazy as they were prepared to go all weekend. The audience poured onto the stage to slam, sing, and dive.
Every year, Sound and Fury hosts one veteran band to perform at the festival. Last year’s Negative Approach set, for instance, was unforgettable. This year, Los Angeles’ Power Violence OG’s and the band known as the angriest in the world, Despise You were given that coveted duty. Their music was as twisted and demented as ever and left some hardcore kids bewildered as to how to slam to such oddly structured songs. When the band went into their cover of FEAR’s “I Don’t Care About You”, everyone began singing along and this led me to wonder how an even older generation of hardcore punk band would fair at Sound and Fury. If you actually got FEAR to play, people would go ape shit even though it’s not as hard as everything else on the bill.
One of my favorite bands of the hour, Closed Casket Activities’ Criminal Instinct were playing the ballroom and as always, they were down right rabid and dogged. I don’t think there’s a voice on the scene that surpasses the brutality of Josiah Hoeflinger’s. Whereas other voices sound suitable for grind or death metal beyond hardcore, Josiah’s voice could be used in prisons to scare inmates back into their cells.
Poughkeepsie, New York’s Mindforce were up next bringing that New York bounce hardcore to Sound and Fury for everyone to slam to. They play an especially urban and kinetic sort of hardcore and are probably the closest thing to a foundational sound coming from this generation of bands.
With Basement and Have Heart on the bill, it would only make sense that they would combine their forces into the Voltron post-hardcore super group that is Fiddlehead. If Have Heart is the tough exterior Charles Bukowski wrote about in Bluebird, Fiddlehead is the blue bird Patrick Flynn releases from his heart. With just as much tenderness as dissidence, Fiddlehead played a beautiful set that had the emotions pouring out of an audience that was flooding onto the stage to dance and dive.
Vein performed the undisputed best set of the day. By its end, people standing next to me were completely floored, only able to say “Holy shit, how the hell do you follow that?” Mixing erratic guitars, noisy electronics, thunderous drumming, and banshee-like shrieking, Vein sonically recreates the feeling of being violently torn apart by an industrial-sized trash compactor. It felt like I was watching the brain-child of so many great bands, from the nu-metal of Korn, to the electronic insanity of Aphex Twin, to the erratic onslaught of the Dillinger Escape Plan. Vein are able to package all these different sounds but retain their original hardcore roots and audience.
No other music genre serves as a test of endurance to all parties involved, from artist to audience, like hardcore does. During Incendiary‘s set, Sound and Fury was so unhinged that they grabbed onto Brendan Garrone and gave him hell as they sang with him, grabbed at him, climbed onto him, and empowered him to deliver a set that would challenge every fiber of his being. Fueled by the power of their own songwriting, Incendiary performed numerous songs off their brilliant 2017 album Thousand Mild Stare which may be the most satisfying hardcore album of the last ten years. Never straying from politics, their guitarist wore a “Fuck Trump” shirt and though they certainly have a bone to pick with the GOP, the general discourse itself was their target this evening. Brendan talked about how simply having compassion for human life seems to be a partisan issue at this moment that may deem you a “liberal”. He went on to call Central and South American immigrants the backbone of this country. Which in Los Angeles, is an undeniable fact of life.
Metal would reign supreme in the age old battle with hardcore, headlining on hardcore’s home turf for a night. Power Trip, who creates some of the catchiest and most hook-laden thrash of the last twenty years, came out swinging, bangers first. Every song had the audience singing and alternating between mosh pits and hardcore dancing. Though this music isn’t about street justice, personal problems, or politics, the fantastical metal stories found in “Soul Sacrifice” and “Executioner’s Tax” had the Sound and Fury audience enchanted.
For many this would be the culmination of a Sound and Fury too epic for words, they would feel those ol’ Sound and Fury blues on their way to their cars, having to wait an entire year to get that special fix. For me though, there were many after shows to choose from and I certainly wasn’t going to go home without a fight.
There were three after shows to choose from: upstairs with Mindforce and Big Takeover, the Lodge Room with Basement and Teenage Wrist, and a secret Division of Mind show God knows where. With my mind rattled for two nights, I decided to go for a softer, more lush musical conclusion to the festival and made my way to the Lodge Room. But first, here are some pics from that gnarly Mindforce after show:
Never Ending Game
The sound mix at Lodge Room was never as perfect as for this Basement show. I arrived in time to see Teenage Wrist, a band that impressed me so much at last year’s Sound and Fury that I vowed to see them again. They were less intense and bombastic on this occasion, having their presence and sound drowned out in gothy atmosphere. Last year, it was just them on a stage under white lights with no haze to separate them from the audience. They were challenged to deliver the hardest sounding, naked post punk possible to impress and they did just that. In this setting though, it felt like good, run of the mill alternative music.
Basement never sounded so sweet as they did for this Sound and Fury after show. Every lyric came out crisply and clearly, making the songs hit that much more powerfully. This really was the perfect end to Sound and Fury, even though it wasn’t hardcore because what this festival means to me is a fan’s dire connection to the music they love, no matter the genre. That might take the form of risking your body but it can also take the form of singing a chorus so loudly that you’ll never forget something as simple as a concert. It’s why I look forward to this weekend more than any other concert of the year. It’s why the thought of missing it fills me with dread.
Best sets of Saturday
- Basement at the Lodge Room
- Power Trip
Sunday – To The Front Photo Gallery and Suburban Fight at Hi Hat
Sunday featured two final events presented by Sound and Fury. First, To The Front curated a photo gallery that spanned Sound and Fury hardcore photography through the years. A secret band was scheduled to play at the gallery and lo and behold, it was Los Angeles’ own hardcore brutalists: Entry.
And finally, the festival would conclude with wrestling and not music, of the hardcore variety. Suburban Fight‘s partnership with Sound and Fury has proven to be a match made in hardcore heaven with unforgettable moments that satisfy the wrestling lover in every hardcore kid. Even at the Belasco, fans were repping WWE with shirts of Steve Austin, Scott Steiner, the Undertaker, and perhaps the most hardcore wrestler of all, Cactus Jack… bang, bang!
The matches I witnessed on this night surpassed last year’s Suburban Fight finish. First, Chris Bey and Tyler Bateman exchanged brutal chops in a match where Bateman showed off his sick and twisted side. Some would have thought Bateman had the match won but to everyone’s surprise, Chris Bey was able to turn things around and send Bateman through a table with an epic diamond cutter.
A triple threat match between Jake Atlas, Dom Kubrick, and Slice Boogie stole the show with huge spots every other second. Playing up East Coast vs West Cost tensions and toxic masculinity vs tolerance, Jake Atlas was able to DDT Slice Boogie into the floor for a huge win. Following the match, Jake showered himself with booze in glorious celebration.
Tuna and Priscilla Kelly had their third match and the entire Hi Hat was hoping this bitter rivalry would finally get settled. Previously at Suburban Fight, this rivalry went viral after Kelly stuffed a bloody tampon down Tuna’s throat. The match saw Tuna deliver a Singapore cane shot across Priscilla’s back that will surely be felt long after the match. By the end, the match would end in controversy, continuing the feud.
Finally, last year’s headliner, Darby Allin, would go up against UltraMantis Black, the masked grindcore singer, wrestler, and anti-fascist in a 2 out of 3 falls match. The first fall would be determined by sending your opponent through a door. After much brutality, Allin was able to score the first fall against UltraMantis. The next fall would be determined by first blood and though Darby swore he cut UltraMantis open, his lip was busted open before UltraMantis’ mask could come off. With a fall a piece, the final fall would be determined via ladder match. It was a grueling bout. Even after UltraMantis had taped Darby’s hands behind his back, Darby was able to climb the ladder and retrieve the piñata with his teeth for the win.
So, that was it for Sound and Fury 2019. A festival for the fans. Speaking of fans, we got plenty of sick shots of ya’ll, so check them out, maybe we got one of you.