Now Xibalba (which I just learned is actually pronounced "She-balba," not like the Star Wars character from the Phantom Menace) is a band I was only casually interested in (though I'd seen 'em in Philadelphia to a wicked crowd reaction) but their recent signing to Southern Lord has my interest piqued high, because as far as I can tell, it's the label's first real foray into signing anything to do with hardcore. Sludgy guitar tones can be the great punk-metal equalizers though, so developments will be solid.
On a visual level, the band hearkens back to some of the most elite killing machines this genre's ever offered. Call me a dingus but when I see hard-ass dudes from California, tattooed to the gills and using Merauder's "Life is Pain" to tune, I take interest. Additionally, lots of older guys were flocking inside to watch, and the development intrigued me. I didn't realize the band was so popular here until I learned that Xibalba's relationship with SLC is quite tender. This was the first place they'd ever played outside their California hometown and they name dropped some of Salty Lake's favorite bands of the past few years (Cool Your Jets and Reflect … and though I'm not a fan of either, I like knowing they had a following. How come no one talks about Insight, though?). Obviously, the mosh was hard, belligerent and even a little bit stupid, but seeing youngsters and old dudes getting down warmed my black heart just a titch. The new song from the Incendiary split got a good reaction, "Salvation" almost brought the house down (literally … The makeshift dividers almost fell over) and the "fuck racism, fuck Nazis" speech gets wild approval from me. Good gravy. I even got blood on my shirt cutting my hand, mic-grabbing (ewww!). Reminds me of the time I went hiking, sliced my finger on a hatchet and closed the wound with spearmint dental floss … but you don't care about that. (Wait, do you?).
The band seemed elated, showed love for the city and in return, the city loves em back. I genuinely hope kids left that church with some records in hand (all three touring bands had brand new records out) and not just T-shirts they're gonna flip on EBay. I love getting my dork-rocks off and washing blood off my shirt in church bathroom seemed a fitting ending for my day (word to the wise, cold water lifts that stuff right out). I got a few bewildered looks because of my pen and notebook and one dude quizzically asked what I was writing for. I told him it was Spin Magazine, to which he snorted. Blood on my shirt, shoulder ripped to shreds, lying in a consecrated place … Strike me down and let hardcore take the wheel. (Why do I talk about shirts so much?)