A kiddie pool, a beyond smashed piñata, neighbors crashing the party to take photos and pick up merch, birthday cake, and insane decibel levels the likes of which a suburban NJ backyard has never seen. We’re talking, of course, about the second HXC Magazine house show. Since the weather permitted it, we set up the stage outside and only by the middle of the last band’s set, To Live As Wolves, did the cops show up. (Success!) Check out some shots from this amazingly fun day with Ellipses, Pulling Punches, Hollow Bones, REPS, and TLAW right here, and make sure you come out to the next one!
August 20th marks the date of the second HXC Mag house show series! That’s right, we’re turning our makeshift venue, The Albatross Den, into a full-fledged musical Mecca and now it’s time for our first round of band announcements. Say hello to Pulling Punches, Hollow Bones and To Live As Wolves! With more bands to come, stay on the lookout!
Staten Island’s very own To Live As Wolves know how to deliver both an emotional and gritty performance with their new EP, Breakneck Road. Many different melodic hardcore and metalcore influences seep through the headbanging riffs and engaging melodies throughout the EP and the songs flow in a very organic way. In a genre where many bands attempt to mix all of their favorite styles and churn out music that sounds rather black and white, Breakneck Road is full of depth that is natural and well-crafted.
When someone like Davey Muise, the vocalist of Boston hardcore band Vanna, takes a chance on a band, you have to figure they’re worth paying attention to. Meet To Live As Wolves, a post-hardcore band out of Staten Island who are bringing back that melodic but still heavy emo-influenced sound. They’re set to release their new EP tomorrow, Breakneck Road, and it’s definitely one you need to hear. But before you do, get some insider info from TLAW vocalist Brandon Roman right here!
When you go to a date of a big headlining tour with hundreds of other people in the room and a stage yards away and above, you can have tons of fun. But spending a whole day in a small room of locals where everyone knows each other and bands and fans share the same graffitied floor is a different feeling altogether. You’re not there for a show anymore, you’re there because you’re a bunch of people who connect through loud sounds and spray painted walls.
If you had that conversation with someone, they would probably think you were being intentionally vague or even rude. But no, The Place is actually the name of a one of a kind venue in Brooklyn, NY. It’s the kind of place that, as Jack Sparrow would say, “can only be found by those who already know where it is”; or, by the signpost of kids in black band t-shirts standing outside.
To the unknowing eye, The Place is nothing more than a pizza joint/bar. If you’re a hardcore kid looking for a show, however, the employees will nod you through a door toward the hidden venue in the back, where DIY locals frequently go. The deep human-sized dents in the wall and the amount of bro hugs people give each other will tell you that this room has seen a lot of bands and a lot of familiar faces mosh through it. The wood floor and wood left wall will tell fans of The Ongoing Concept that it’s the perfect place for them to play some new tracks off their latest record, Handmade.
The album that takes DIY to a whole new level, Handmade is a title that describes the process of how TOC made their new work. In our interview with vocalist/guitarist Dawson Scholz, he tells the tale of how the band literally chopped down a tree to make all of the instruments by hand for their most recent tracks. It was in this room half made of wood with instruments entirely made of wood that The Ongoing Concept banged out new songs like “Unwanted” and “Soul” to something like 20 or 30 kids. The low body count was no matter, however, as the intimate number made for an up close and personal floor show. And for those of you who have never seen TOC live before (like I hadn’t), you don’t know up close and personal until Kyle Scholz is screaming wild-eyed two centimeters in front of your face with his shirt off and leaving a puddle of sweat at your feet. “I’m sorry if I sweat or spit on you,” he says calmly after a song. “I’m just trying to have fun.”
The band finished with crowd favorite “Cover Girl,” and the word “insane” does not adequately say all that needs to be said about these last few minutes with them. The whole room went berserk with kids unafraid of marching up to the mic and getting just as much in Kyle’s face as he was in theirs. The room reverberated with cries of “Stop being the print of someone else’s painting,” and the echoes of the end rang out.
As for the opening bands, Heroes and Outlands were two whose live performance stood out, showcasing great energy and crowd involvement. Heroes’ set brought the sense of community you crave when you think of local hardcore, while Outlands members bounced from wall to wall like an epic and chaotic game of pong. Despite having recently released a rather successful album, the energy dipped low and got pretty depressing during Dayseeker’s set. Lastly, on the whole, the attendance of bands whose sets had finished was rather spotty. There’s such a thing as show etiquette, folks. You stay for all the bands, not just one or two, and not just your own.
Overall, HXC Magazine‘s night at The Place was a fun reminder of why we became so dedicated to the hardcore scene in the first place. You don’t need a room with hundreds of people to make something special happen. You just need good people who aren’t afraid to get a little weird.