It’s been two years since the last Sound and Fury festival and without it, the Los Angeles hardcore scene lost its vital summer summit. The scene is still alive and strong but without Sound and Fury, it seems to be less alive, less self-aware. LAHC’s growth was stunted in a sense but now with the first Sound and Fury show since 2019 happening at 1720, the scene picked up right where it left off, with bands like Fiddlehead and Spiritual Cramp killing it as if we didn’t just lose two years of our youth. Sound and Fury was always the perfect encapsulation of youth culture and music. It illustrated the peak of summer–the sun’s heat against the downtown concrete–youthful style combinations of shorts, tattoos and band tees–easily healed bodies being destroyed in the pit only to stride out and rejoin the party as if nothing happened. So, with all these things missing for two years, it was only right that Sound and Fury returned with the catharsis of melodic post-hardcore.
I entered the building as Object of Affection was wrapping up but the tail end of their set I witnessed was riveting to an audience that came out early to this matinee. This was the perfect band to usher us hardcore kids into fall–their dristing sound was noisy, jagged, bombastic and sometimes mournful but somehow still soothing–it’s music that makes you feel a little windswept, like you’ve let Los Angeles take the wheel.
I missed Spiritual Cramp‘s last Los Angeles show at Zebulon so I was overjoyed that the band was added to this lineup last minute. On the heels of their new single, “Earth to Mike”, the band packed just as much punch and kinetic energy as ever. When the guys dance and jive on stage they take on the various nervous energies of the genres they blend together. From ghostly dub, to Clash-y political punk, to art rock mods, and good ol’ fashioned hardcore punk, the band is a wild punk cocktail. I think it’s only a matter of time until the country jumps onboard for this band, the music doesn’t require any hype or sizzle, their greatness is self-evident. It’s interesting though, how the band sticks to the hardcore scene while the music really sounds closer to garage punk or post punk. I wonder what would happen if they dipped their toes in those scenes, they’re the ones that need to be turned-on to Spiritual Cramp after all.
Militarie Gun was relentless, bringing new meaning to putting it all on the line because this band’s all consists of more life-giving substance than most other groups. It’s got an alternative edge in the riffing and composition but those vocals are as bitter and raw as anything Ian Mackaye ever belt out with Minor Threat.
1720 was ready to sing and the moment Fiddlehead lunged into their first song, the hardcore chorus was front and center to sing their ever-loving hearts out, almost as if they had been quarantined for two years without a decent outlet. There have been plenty of hardcore shows since this hellish reality began but Sound and Fury shows are different. The seas of people stage diving that look like moving painting from the stage was missing. The venues full of song and singing, where the lyrics mean more than the artist realized because suddenly, they’re being sung at the top of young lungs was missing.
The band was incredibly tight and fluid, every riff and lyric came off slick and crisp, the perfect post-hardcore/alternative sound for a matinee. This was the first time Fiddlehead was able to play songs off their 2021 album, Between the Richness in Los Angeles and 1720 was there for it. Whereas sometimes a band has trouble having their audience connect with new material, everyone in attendance seemed to know these songs just as well as they knew the classics.
Words by: Robert Shepyer
Photos by: Albert Licano