April marches on. Another week, another term paper you
haven’t started and another concert for me to tell you about!
grab your grungiest threads and head to the SCC Social Room for a proper
workout at the Hardcore Blowout. Sponsored by KSPC, Pomona Events Committee,
boXcar and the Dean of Students office, this lineup is sure to get your blood
Continuing last week’s theme of previewing an upcoming show
rather than telling you about all the great stuff you missed the week after, I
figured I’d try to ‘sell’ you on this week’s lineup. I put ‘sell’ in
quotation marks because, well, the show’s free and on-campus, so I can’t
imagine this should take that much convincing.
Actual punk music with actual moshing such as this can be pretty hard to
find on the 5C campuses, so I feel an extra impulse to promote events that
support underground punk culture here. If you’ve been feeling a little stifled
working on all those midterms, come and get your fill of sweaty
catharsis sponsored by Dean Feldblum herself.
Headlining the night is Leer, a five-piece screamo outfit
from San Jose. If the name sounds familiar, it might be because the band graced the
Social Room stage last year for the same event, albeit as a supporting act. In
most circumstances, I’d be bummed about a repeat lineup like this, but I’ll
make an exception for Leer.
Blending throaty yelps and aggressive, spastic math rock, Leer sounds alternately like a pissed-off This Town Needs Guns or a slightly
toned down Merchant Ships. If the ‘screamo’ tag is a little
off-putting, you should know that Leer possesses a good deal more restraint than
most bands under the ‘skramz’ banner and deals far more in sheer
energy than in anger.
Leer’s 2013 Spring Break No Parents EP is a
perfect (and free) introduction to its sound, showing off its knack for fluid,
melodic arrangements that start and stop on a dime. Opener “As Cool As An
Attempted Suicide” sounds a little like an overjoyed Explosions in the Sky
before it launches into volleys of screaming, while “No Parents”
shows the band at its most somber, sparse and serious.
Even when Leer slows down for those molasses grooves, though, its music has an undeniably kinetic
quality that translates into brilliant live sets.
Leer definitely doesn’t do much to play with the boundaries of
the genre, but it knows exactly when to deploy each little tool. Fun fact: Apparently member Dan Vo once turned down an offer to play in the Smashing
Pumpkins, so you know they mean business.
Playing before Leer is Left Astray, a local hardcore band
often seen gracing lineups with bands like State Faults and Crisis Arm.
Self-described as ‘sadcore hatepunx,’ the group’s sound is an intense
melange of Converge-like angular rhythms and ridiculous breakdowns that occasionally
verge on deathcore. It’s a sound that’s become increasingly common over the
past few years, but Left Astray pulls it off with ease.
While its earlier material was built more around the
chaotic, ramshackle arrangements of bands like Botch and These Arms Are Snakes,
Left Astray’s 2015 demos now show off a raw new sound that pulls its low-end energy from
death metal guitars and plenty of chugging.
Vril, another local hardcore outfit, plays second. Since I’m
not too familiar with it, I can really only base my recommendation on the
single they uploaded last week from its upcoming record Predispositional. But honestly, given that one track, I’m more than
willing to give it a slice of my Saturday night.
Like an exposed nerve,
“Thoughts Divide Us” is a slice of pure anger that never lets up. If
you want to catch all its new material before the SoCal hardcore scene gets
hold of it, this set’ll be unmissable.
Last but certainly not least is Mr. Me, a bit of an outlier
on the bill. Way proggier than hardcore, it’s a strange mix of way-too-jazzy
bass lines, David Byrne post-punk yelpisms and adrenaline. I’m not precisely sure
how it’s supposed to warm up a room, but I’m more than a little excited to
see audience reactions to Mr. Me. The band also played Pitzer College’s Mosh Fest last
weekend, so if you’re dying to catch its follow-up, you get a chance tomorrow
Gage Taylor PO ’16 is majoring in media studies and philosophy. He is the electronic music director for the 5C radio station KSPC, and his first concert was *NSYNC.