Better Than: Practicing your mosh moves in front of the mirror.
Last night, new-school hardcore fusionists Bane played to a frenzied audience at all-ages, DIY hot-spot institution the Talent Farm. And, in the process, put the past ten years of metallic-melodic-but-still-classic-style hardcore to shame.
Each of the openers performed directly in the wake of the legacy Bane infused into the history of hardcore (and across the chests of hoodies around the world) more than a decade ago.
Though differing in stylistic tropes salient only to an aficionado, all three of the acts we saw (sorry, Hive Mind!) were firmly lodged in a tension-and-release-obsessed nondistinct subgenre (youth crew, metal, melodic hardcore, emo, screamo) mish-mashes that in certain 2011 demographics simply qualifies as "hardcore."
Again, the respective bands put their spin on it: Miles Away infused a little late-'80s crossover; Dead End Path recalled classic early 2000s metalcore with the slightest hip-hop overtones more than alluding to nü-metal; and Defeater sounded like an exact blend of Poison the Well (emo-mosh) and Lifetime (melodic hardcore).
Despite these subtleties, it all sort of sounded the same. Fast o.g. hardcore bursts, gang vocals, chunky breakdowns, melodic-slash-"epic" minor-chord breakdowns, and shrieking-metallic vocals. The audience found this homogeneity to be far from discouraging. In fact, it seems a big part of hardcore's sameness stems from its dedication to traditional significations: the karate mosh moves, the band logos and adopted brands, the finger-pointing, and all of the other secret handshakes that surround (and in many ways, inspire) the genre at all times. The whole point is expectation and fulfillment.
While the pit churned itself for each act with increasing intensity, Bane brought the excitement to peak levels. The only time the crowd (and by that, we mean mostly the biggest dudes in any sample region of the audience) would stop slamming into one another, fighting invisible ninjas, picking up invisible Sacagawea dollars, or aggressively launching their fists behind their head and on to whoever was foolish enough to try to passively watch the show anywhere near the pit, was when it reached a point of total exhaustion.
Though arguably past their prime and the prime moment of the scene that spawned them -- the heydey was obviously the very beginning of the 2000s, when the group released Give Blood and, alongside Converge and American Nightmare, led a new wave of Bawston Hawdcore into the hXc hall of fame -- Bane was absolutely thrilling. A great deal of our captivation was focused on vocalist Aaron Bedard, who perfectly synthesized the showmanship of a hardcore vocalist and the bouncing-shoulders-bravado of a hip-hop MC. Not to mention we appreciated his appeals to the audience to not get so damned serious in the pit.
Personal bias: We prefer xLimp Wristx to Hatebreed.
The crowd: Overwhelmingly high school age, with a smattering of young 20-somethings and even fewer old heads. Bros, dudes, he-men, incredible hulks, guys in basketball jerseys, guys in hardcore-band shirts, guys in hardcore-band shirts styled after basketball jerseys, guys in straight-edge T-shirts, about 30 girls (in a crowd of hundreds) who stood on benches out of harm's way.
Overheard in the crowd: "Edge break!" (Shouted at the singer of Miles Away when he paused to take some Advil.)
Random detail: The Talent Farm is covered in glossy signed posters from every pretty-boy-nü-emo-mallcore band that's been on tour in the past five years. And from the looks of their haircuts, we can't even begin to imagine what any of them sound like.
Bane's set list:
Some Came Running
Ali V. Frazier, I
Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda
Can We Start Again