I hear some warm-ups riffs. "Firestorm" by Earth Crisis and "Simple Man" by Lynyrd Skynyrd. It's 2012, and everything's a cultural hodge-podge. "Move Up! Don't be scared ... it's only a mustache!" bellows a broad shouldered vocalist sporting some freshly coiffed face fungus and baggy basketball shorts. He sighs before the band launches into a tight rendition of Sick of it All's "Clobberin' Time." Because I'm a classy broad, I won't call much attention to the fact that I'm the only one moshing (poseurs!). Cool Your Jets is always on point. I dig the screechy vocals, premium moshability and the fact that they're SLC's premier straight edge party band, fully capable of inciting bedlam in any venue. It's not quite reaching the level of mayhem as the famed "dodgeball" set of the Shai Hulud show, but I'll never fault a band that elicits this much excitement. Let's hope they re-think that decision to release a record on Seventh Dagger, ’cause they deserve higher acclaim.
Dead End Path opts to play in a unique formation, with vocalist Uriah on the ground, flanked by his bandmates up on the stage. Having seen 'em a few times back east, I knew more or less what to expect and they delivered those goods hard-boiled. "Maybe it's just a 'grass is always greener' thing," puffs Uriah between songs, "but you've got a beautiful city and a killer hardcore scene." Word. "End on End" gets a bitchin' response and I swear I see more noggin bangin' than moshing and when the set grinds down, I pick up the Dead End Path party pack: a one page zine, a pair of sunglasses and a tape containing a Helmet cover.
Somewhere amid the merch table action, I locate a distro chock-stuffed with more My War and Youngblood releases than I can shake a stick at, so I cop 'em all. Fillin' holes in this record nerd's collection gets harder and harder by the minute (mo' records, mo' problems), so these cheap thrills ain't lost on me.
I spy Rage Against the Machine and Pantera "Harder Than All" shirts in Expire's lineup and, on a riff-based level, I hear No Warning in the warmups, but that comparison gets trite sometimes. The singer urges everyone to move up, and, as if someone's thrown a switch, the band roars to life. Only one mosher heeds the circle pit call, so big ups to him, but "Focus" has the most ridiculous groove atop it, and for a few minutes I forget that we're all supposed to be "too cool" for Nu-Metal. "Our new record came out yesterday ... I don't care how you've heard it," says the singer with unrepentent enthusiasm and some sweat on his upper lip. "Just mosh." Despite the relative newness of the track ("Abyss”) reactions are still strong. Last time, they played in Ogden on the 4th of July to a notably less enthusiastic group, so anything's a step up. They finish up, and I start getting those adolescent "pre-show jitters" for Backtrack.
I've been excited to see 'em for a while, as their 2010 performance in Ogden (with Foundation and Harm's Way) was a treat. Coming off a slew of water-tight releases, most notably the Darker Half LP (that cover art looks like Life of Dreams revamped). They warm up with something that sounds like Leeway's "2 Minute Warning" but I can't be sure. I giggle about it anyway. Having been stuffed in a van for the last nine hours, they seem rabid and uncontainable. The band feverishly tears through tracks off the 7", the famed "Deal with the Devil" and "Too Close" off the LP with a slobbering gusto. The snare sounds a tad tinny, but it's got Madball-esque charm to it that endears it to me more than appalls. I'm thoroughly convinced that this band never stops touring and their chops do the talking. Great set.
Now, on to the main event. There was a distinct time in hardcore lore when Cold World was absolutely the BIGGEST thing past or present. CW Bape shirts commanded hundreds of dollars on Ebay. Snagging an Ice Grillz EP on clear wax or the debut was akin to snifting the Hope Diamond ... did I mention I saw their "last show" at Posi Numbers in 2005? Regardless, they've been back for a while and they've got my vote.
They open with "Cold World" and I throw my voice out during the "fight, fuck, coke, dust" singalong. One-man wrecking crew, Collin Coach executes a front roll onto the stage and a judo kick off and the set gets dedicated to the Salt Lake Bees. "All the Things You'd Never Tell" is next, and I'm stoked that so many LP songs have made it into the list. "Refuse to Lose" bleeds into "Gods n' Earths" and then the famed "Can it be so Simple '05," and I'm pretty sure I'm starting to slip into a rage blackout because I'm struggling to remember what came next. "Boom Bye Bye" acts as a teaser to "How Deep" and during the singalong, kids are actually mimicking the "my life, my life, my life" call-and-response thingy. Bitchin’. "Copernicus" has me pulling at my hair and I spy some kid in a longsleeve literally tearing it in two. Having a real-deal longhair (the dude from War Hungry) on guitar does wonders for these solos (also, his shirt says "Goat Penis," which is cool) and it's like seeing a new band. "But You Don't Hear me Though" leads into "Dedicated to Babies Who Came Feet First" and someone from the Dead End Path camp sings George Hirsch's part. Screamy, chaotic and memorable.
The ender-ender is "Low Places," and I'm marginally bummed "Ice Grillz" didn't get dusted off, but an opportunity to pay respects to big L is worth its weight in Walk All Night 7"s, so I won't complain. Excellent set that shakes the walls, balls the fists and makes me feel youngish again.
Condolences to the kid who got the trim of his Cadillac torn straight off, hardcore for hardcore.