Being a fan of hardcore music is difficult. When you pick someone up, you have to change the music on your stereo so you don’t freak them out. You have to constantly be in a world where the majority of mainstream music makes metal look like a bunch of noise and screaming. And when you wear band t shirts, people look at you strangely…either because they don’t understand the reference or because all death metal logos look like scribbles.
Usually metalheads and punks pledge their allegiance to one sort of scene. I happen to have an appreciation for all of them. I can listen to metalcore with poppy choruses, I can groove to djent, I can soak in the chaos of black, death, and thrash metal, I also live by and appreciate the DIY ethics that punk and hardcore preaches. So when my friend told me her boyfriend was in a death metal band knowing that I liked metal and asked me if that was the type of thing I was into…I said yes. And I was happy to join her to go see him play a show. I was even more excited when I found out it was a basement show.
When we got to the house and were greeted by my friend’s boyfriend, I realized that we were in one of my dreams. It was a real life punk house right in front of me. I’ve always loved the DIY spirit of punk and therefore basement shows have always fascinated me. Just the community and the party atmosphere of a bunch of people crammed into one space thrashing and feeling the music excited me. My first basement show did not disappoint my love for this part of being a punk and metal fan.
I enter the house which is very hollow and filled with graffiti, art, empty beer cans, smoke, and energy. The energy of these metalheads matched the attitudes of other scenes I’ve seen (average sized venues for both local and somewhat known artists) except it had more of a community feel. This makes sense, as this is just a house people come to party, thrash, appreciate the metal then leave with newly found friends due to the power of the music. Like I said, metal scenes I’m familiar with have the same feeling, just not as prominent because we weren’t in some random house. The art all around stood out to me. There were stickers of bands, graffiti of crude drawings or just random scribblings, and some DIY sculptures. As I was bringing the drums in through the kitchen, I absorbed all of this while hearing a Buzzcocks record playing in a nearby bedroom.
Everyone in the house was drinking, smoking, shooting the shit, talking about music, politics, their shitty jobs, unwinding from a bullshit day, etc. There’s “stoner Dave” in the corner with his one hitter leaning against the oil tank making jokes during sound check. There’s a bunch of dudes from New York carrying their gear in because why not its a gig and there would be booze and some sort of payment. That’s what hardcore music really is. A bunch of misfits coming together to rock out. Metalheads and punks are attracted to this music because its an escape. An escape from the ordinary. For some its for the fast and chaotic energy that comes from the music. For others it feels like a release. Everyone feels something from the music and everyone respects everyone’s reasoning.
When the music started everyone piled into the basement. Staring straight ahead as death metal melted all our faces off. Some stood wide eyed taking the whole experience in. Others head banged, either in solidarity or to themselves. Others moved and swayed to the music. All while these bands were in the corner of a slanted basement, with one light lighting them, going super hard and fast, trying to give us something as brutal as possible. It didn’t matter that the drums weren’t set up correctly because of the floor’s slant, the ceiling was so low that the Christmas lights messily hung up touched most people’s heads, that there was cigarette butts and PBR cans everywhere, for a set…these bands were going to show us the power of death metal.
Check these guys out. They are all really rad death and black metal if you’re into that