Terror and H2O
With Backtrack and Code Orange Kids
Presented by Breakeven Booking and Speedfreek
Churchill's Pub, Miami
Tuesday, February 5, 2013
"We are not a rock 'n roll band," insisted Terror vocalist Scott Vogel, as he addressed the sweaty mass of hardcore fans between songs during one of the many fiery speeches that punctuated the band's set at Churchill's Pub last night.
What Vogel was trying to articulate had to do with the community that sustains the hardcore-punk tradition. It's the community that came out in droves last night to enjoy a night of hard riffs and flailing limbs. And it's the community that provides a home for those that don't quite fit in elsewhere.
For many, hardcore music is a passing phase. However, for Vogel, now on the precipice of his 40th year, hardcore has always been a lifestyle. For South Florida's "Keepers of the Faith," last night's bill was a long-awaited evening of rampant stage dives and high-fives, as well as a bit of redemption for New York hardcore legends, H2O -- a band that Vogel himself admitted was being borderline impossible to get on the road, and a band that backed out of its last scheduled South Florida date a few years ago, right when anticipation was at a fever pitch.
Code Orange Kids -- a young band under the charge of Converge frontman/Deathwish Records tastemaker Jacob Bannon -- kicked things off last night. The group's set began with a crack and a sputter of guitar distortion that signaled a near-immediate stage dive from an audience member. Though Code Orange Kids were the odd group on the bill sonically, relying on noisy elements and some distinctly more metal-tinged trappings to craft their brand of hardcore, the group's performance was no less appreciated by the early crowd. The ominous torrents of guitar chunk and cloud of atmospheric noise that the band played during "Liars // Trudge" instilled a feeling of unchecked energy and anger in the room that broke the ice.
Following Code Orange Kids was Backtrack. The band gave the crowd an energetic set of their more straight-ahead, New York-style hardcore that upped the energy another level. Backtrack has played South Florida several times before in recent years and their Churchill's performance showed just how far they've come from playing to paltry crowds. Last night, they raged for a full room of people that moshed and sang along to the band's hardcore anthems, despite frontman Vitalo's misguided shout-out to the Knicks before "Soul Sucker." The band's set ended with a solid 20 people diving for the microphone to end the final ride of "Darker Half."
Next, Terror hit the stage and reminded everyone quickly why Scott Vogel is considered to be the best frontman in all of hardcore by most fans of the form. The vocalist commanded the action in a way that somehow brought the room's energy up yet another level -- and yes, plenty of the now famed "Vogelisms" were utilized in rallying the crowd to stagedive as much as humanly possible during the band's set.
Between the elevated action in the room, the faces present, and the familial vibe, songs like "Spit My Rage" and "Keep Your Mouth Shut" brought the room back to the spirit of 2004. The band, which features former members of Down to Nothing and No Warning in its current incarnation, ended last night's set with the anthemic "Keepers of the Faith," and left the crowd battered, sweaty, and smiling.
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Finally, ending the "perfect show" (as Vogel repeated several times throughout Terror's set) was H20. The band took the stage to a crowd that hadn't dwindled at all over the course of the night, and the unbridled sing-along to "Family Tree" was an affirmation that there was no love lost for the group after it bailed on that last gig. Though the band's sound is decidedly less aggressive than that of its tour mates, H20's brand of catchy, "whoa-oh-oh" laden hardcore was right at home in Miami.
Much to the amusement of resident sound engineer/noise Svengali, Rat Bastard, H20's guitarist pogo-ed up and down on stage as clusters of fans ran about and sang along. Classics like "Guilty By Association" and "Faster Than The World" saw a smiling crowd comprised mainly of shirtless and tattooed men, toppling and collapsing upon one another. The communal vibe was running high.
And as if H20's own tracks weren't enough to people's feet off the ground, the band threw covers of Warzone and Sick of it All songs into its set for good measure. Because we all know if there is one thing hardcore fans love more than seeing a legendary hardcore band play its own songs, it's a legendary hardcore band playing another hardcore band's songs.