The SLC Foursquare Church
with Focused Minds, Bent Life, Tough Luck, Speak Out, From Hell
The best thing about all-ages hardcore shows isn't the moshing. It's not the contrived feeling of male camaraderie and it's not the chance to shout along to a butchered Chain of Strength cover. No, the best thing about all-ages hardcore shows is the simple fact that six legitimate bands can play full sets, and the passive observer can still be home in time for 10 PM Simpsons re-runs and a hot bath before the following work day. Call me old-fashioned (I'm writing this on an iPad, dude), but creature comforts reign supreme these days. Additionally, hardwood floors and Vans classics make for sore knees and bruised heels ... but I ain't complaining.
From Hell was a last-minute addition to this show, and this set served as my initiation. I knew about their Detroit pedigree and involvement with early ’00s dorkiness that I couldn't give a rat's rear over (xTyrantx? Ooof). Luckily, these dudes tear hearty pages from Dwid's Holy Terror manual, and the resulting melee was one of Ringworm/Integ worship that shook the very spiritual foundations of the hosting venue. Reactions weren't stellar, but the band wasn't slowed by it, as they're more a "bob yer head and feel the darkness" kinda band anyway. I back the shit out of scrappy bands playing their guts out, even when no one else is responding, so in that department, From Hell gets a solid gold star (as do the Alice in Chains rip shirts). I'm not entirely sure why they played before Speak Out, but they channelled the demons early and got things running in an oh-so-unholy way.
Now, if for nothing else, Speak Out should get a little more attention for the fact that they're from Salt Lake and DON'T pray at the altar of Martyr AD. Instead, they've got a bouncy Lockin' Out vibe, pulled together with some screechy vocals. I've even seen 'em execute a solid Floorpunch cover in the past, and in the past few months, they've certainly grown more confident and cohesive. Their reaction was small, but for a new band it's somewhat expected ... and god willing, they'll have a bassist in the near future. Word on the street is that they're all out of tapes, but if you pester them on Facebook, they may dub some more.
Tough Luck was another last minute addition, and got the pit all whipped up Richmond Summer Slam style. Think ’90s 'core with an ear for breaks and a little bit of sludge. Though heavy stomps and downstrokes seemed to be their calling card, what impressed me most was their tight percussion, channeling Biohazard's Danny Schuler: Tight, metronomic and maddeningly bombastic. I later found out that a girl got slammed through a retaining wall (equal rights, equal fights, amiright?) and a baby was born in the bathroom. If this band hasn't signed to Reaper yet, they will be soon.
Bent Life hails from the distant land of Lincoln Neb. and play NYHC style mosh. For those who care, they've got a 7" sporting art by Spoiler (Belgium's answer to Sean Taggart) and the jams are tight. Maybe not the most refreshing or original sound to emanate from the tattered Marshalls this evening, but Bent Life gets the award for longest mosh part (which, no fooling, lasted roughly 90 seconds), and for possibly being named after an Aesop Rock track. I was disappointed to hear them lead into a song called "The Hard Way" and it not be the classic Outburst track (Where the Wild Things Are version, poseur), but hearty reactions nonetheless. Midwest wolfpack, ya heard?