Saturday, March 8, 2014

Hardcore at 35

Never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined I would be at a show at age 35, where hardcore was prominently featured.  Yet, last night, as I was sitting around my apartment, I decided what the heck and headed off to the Hub City Stompers show at Dingbatz, even though I'm going to see them open for the Pilfers tonight in Poughkeepsie. 

Opening for the Hub City Stompers were both Mental Abuse and Social Decay.  I caught the tail end of Decrepit Youth, but really got there to see Mental Abuse hit the stage.  My understanding is they were something of a thing in the 1980s, which was readily apparent from seeing them on stage.  The average age of the band members had to be 55, which leads me to believe there is an emerging market for old man hardcore.  The lead singer was a balding fellow who looks like the neighbor from hell, as he sung to the left and right of the stage, but never straight ahead.  Now, when I watch a hardcore band, I expect a burlier singer, at least that was the trend 15 to 20 years ago, when I actually went to hardcore shows of my own volition.  The rest of the band all wore hats and might have been confused as a Grateful Dead cover band if you were deaf.  The music though was appropriately raucous, as you would expect from a hardcore band.  But I just stood there and could not get past the fact our heroes and other people's heroes get old and grey.

Social Decay was actually a far better band.  They managed to get that old fashioned, wall of sound that hardcore is notorious for going throughout the club, which had low ceilings and painfully loud acoustics.  They also looked like a hardcore band, with a stocky guy wearing a hardcore shirt with a bastardized Hartford Whalers logo on the front of the shirt.  Even though, all hardcore lyrics are indecipherable and there was limited breaks between songs, making it hard to know when the shifts were coming, they put on a good set.  I also enjoyed their set went on late, because the drummer needed to go to a Daddy/Daughter dance, which was both touching and ridiculous as we all clutch at the fading remains of our youth.  Not a good enough to get me to listen to hardcore on its own, but good enough to enjoy in the moment.

One non-hardcore aside, King Django has an interesting idea for a horn section.  Usually, you mix and match different horns to get variation in sound.  However, with his regular saxophone player in tow and two members of the Hub City Stompers on hand who play the saxophone, he went for the three saxophone lineup, which mostly consisted of Django's regular saxophone player doing most of the heavy lifting, while everyone else did a lot of standing around, since about 1/3 of the way through, everyone realized three saxophones is not better than one.  Bonus points, the Hub City Stompers trombone player, not on stage.  

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