Wednesday, December 5, 2012 at 1:43 a.m.
When revered hardcore bands reboot (as most inevitably do), it is generally an event reserved for festivals, an obvious money grab. At best, it's an attempt to scrape some nostalgia out of the back of the van for old time's sake. However, for seminal Minneapolis-based hardcore band Harvest, a recent reunion has yielded fresh music, a schedule of normalized touring, and a genuine return to grace, free of the ulterior motives.
Nestled in a cluster of warehouses between civilization and the western-most swamps of Pembroke Pines is the Talent Farm.
Though Harvest's initial impact was mostly experienced by people now in their 30s, hardcore is something passed down from generation to generation. An all-ages venue like Talent Farm provided an ideal setting for teens to catch a legendary band that has returned from the grave alongside the elder statesmen in attendance that were never afforded the opportunity. The farthest south the band toured in its first incarnation was Tampa. The Talent Farm is also cool with floor shows, something considered absolutely ideal in the world of hardcore, where microphones are communal and an interactive experience between band and audience is the ultimate goal.
Opening the show was Miami's Aversion. The band's sound was emotionally charged, immediate, and dark, but with a melodic twist that never quite derails the aggression the songs are built on. The first band crashed through the awkwardness that usually plagues hardcore shows with ease, clearing a path with its heartfelt songs and well-recieved cover of Strongarm's "Suffocation."
Orlando's Direct Effect followed. The band fuses the angst of youth crew bands with a healthy dose of grungy swagger. Direct Effect's set was unhinged: The bass drum refused to stand still and take its beating willingly, frontman Jeff Fonseca crumbled and rose as he screamed his lungs out, seemingly in a world of his own, and guitar feedback was harnessed in just the right way. We purchased one of their T-shirts, for the record.
Next to rule the floor was Miami's Homestretch. We've said it before and we will undoubtedly say it again: If this band had the time to tour consistently, it holds the capacity to become the next hyped band in hardcore. Homestretch's set was business as usual; an obscenely heavy display of despair driven catharsis full of churning guitars, break-neck drumming, and a singer that sounds as though he is constantly teetering on the very edge of sanity. Homestretch played a new track that demonstrated once again the group's uncanny ability to force everyone in earshot to make an involuntary face of rage.
Harvest set up on the floor like everyone else, eschewing the notion that a band with a storied past is above the natural order of a hardcore show. Immediately, frontman Dave Walker exclaimed that a trip to Southern Florida "was a long time coming" and how "grateful" the band was to be here, years later, essentially picking up where they left off. The band cracked open the warehouse with an intensity that spoke of a band sincerely thankful to be back in the fray. The the smiling faces and balled fists of approval made it clear that the feeling was mutual, and as thirty year old men, who have maybe spent a bit of time away from hardcore shows, mingled and moshed with teenagers. And all was right in the world of Tuesday-night hardcore.
Tracks from Harvest's early seven-inch release brought a substantial response from the crowd, however, as soon as the ominous bass intro to "Soul Burn" rang out, the room was suddenly filled with bobbing heads and palpable excitement. The band closed the set out with "Epicure," the opening track from the Transitions LP. The moment was undoubtedly the highlight of the night, with a small sea of people diving for a shot at the mic as others found their way to any elevated surface they could use to dive from. For the three minutes and two seconds the song lasted, every jaded and aging hardcore fan in the room was delivered from the numbness of too many shows, too many bands, and too many years, back to a time and sound that was both vital and unique in the realm of hardcore-punk.