There are the kinds of music nerds that collect the vinyl albums of their favorite bands and then there are the kinds that sift through the Japanese imports section looking for new favorites. Japan has always been one of the best countries to make hardcore music whether it be bands like Stalin or Loyal to the Grave or my favorite of the lot: Sand.
Conceptually, Sand represents an original idea that transcends hardcore in that it makes you rethink the use of language in music. They’re a Japanese band that sings in broken English. They could just sing in Japanese but that would miss the point they’re aiming for. A foreigner might not know your language well but chances are the way he expresses it will bring new meaning to the words. Such is the case when Sand performs songs like “Poser” with unforgettable lyrics like these:
Your lyrics sound like an ethics class book. A model father. Sundays in church. A Bible reading pig. I’m gonna puke. DIE! All sounds phony. What a fucking scam. Your lyrics sound like some kid slamming down cheap beers, bragging like he’s been through hell.
Then through the filter of a thick Japanese accent, mispronouncing the words into broken English singing, it takes on this monstrously hardcore feel that triggers in you the need to slam and destroy everything.
The first band to take the stage at the Toxic Toast Theatre, one of Long Beach’s new venues, was Constrict. They brought a brutal beatdown sound that got the show going in an extreme direction right from the get go.
Following them, one of my favorite young hardcore bands in Los Angeles was next and that was Momentum. Every time they play I see the greatest potential in them. I know it’s only a matter of time until their heavy sound and energy climbs them up the ladder to the top of the game.
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Arizona’s Easy Money was next, bringing the beatdown but in that cool, groovy, street style. The band and audience were all over the place, feeling each other and pumping us up for Sand.
Sand finally took the stage and the audience went completely ape-shit. Bodies were flying everywhere in the Toxic Toast Theatre. Their sound was captured brilliantly, not a moment was lost in the ambiguity of live performance. Having come all the way from Osaka, this band was not here to fuck around. Coming off the heels of Sound and Fury festival the weekend before, this show was a cap on the brutality I would experience in July. Hardcore reigned supreme this month and Sand was right up there with Ceremony, Rotting Out, and Fury as the best sets of the month.
Xibalba closed out the night with their signature hellish brutality which sent the audience completely over the edge. Where the Sand set saw us become violent, Xibalba made that violence boil over and everywhere you’d look, at every moment, there was hurt.
Words by: Rob Shepyer
Photos by: Dillon Vaughn