You walk into a shadowed basement with graffiti covered walls and think, “this is sketchy.” A broken dryer, a probably stolen roadway sign, and random dirty mattresses heavily contrast with the Merry Weather Stadium experience. Young people are dressed to give the impression that their appearance does not matter to them. Flannels. Boots/Vans. Beanies. Listen, and be opened up to the fast paced, loud screaming, guitar forward songs that are blasting from the amps in a too close for comfort room. Do not be deceived by what may look “scary.” This music means a lot more to some than mainstream ears.
In the local Harrisonburg scene -which is not known to be extremely big – there are two hardcore bands, Wor- ried Sick and True Worth. These two bands, along with three other bands from Roanoke and Richmond, played a local show last Friday at Crayola House. The band that traveled up from Roanoke was called Ape-Men, and the two bands that came out from Richmond were Hard Stripes and Barge.
The show started out with Worried Sick, who showed up an hour and a half late, obviously intoxicated, and wearing dresses to show their Halloween spirit. The disregard for time might have been acceptable if they had put on a better show. They had a driving hardcore beat and loud vocals. Ape-Men played second. They brought more of a punk feel to the show and not as harsh of vocals. With this feel, many more spectators danced, which is referred to as “pitting” or “moshing.” Getting knocked into by the guy or girl beside you is pretty common and depending on the severity of the “mosh pit,” you are lucky to not leave with more substantial injuries than a bruise, scratch, or sore foot.
True Worth played next, bringing a heavier sound than the last band. As the frontman, Zach Lantz screamed the lyrics, and the crowd responded with opening up a space, moshing, and singing along. The overall performance of this band put the first two to shame.
The next out-of-towners that played were Hard Stripes. This Richmond hardcore band brought in driving lyrics and beats .The crowd was sloppily dancing and spilling their PBR all over each other.
Something “hardcore” can be very famous for is fighting. In this small basement show, there was only one incident of a girl getting hit, and she responded with punching the guy back in the face. Then it was over. For the most part, when it comes to the mosh pit, in a weird way, people are forgiving and retributive justice is accepted.
The last band that played was Barge. They are another hardcore band from Richmond – the hardcore scene there is a lot larger than here. For most songs, Barge had very heavy vocals, and a faster driven beat. The last three bands brought the kind of show that we are willing to stand around in a crowded basement that smells like cheap beer for three hours for.
The Hardcore scene is one that deserves to be more broadly recognized, but that at the same time is attractive because of its ambiguity. It is like an underground world where young people of all ages can be brought together to collectively head bang, drink cheap beer, and jump around and smash into each other on a Friday night. We recommend checking out a show some time. College and life in general is about broadening your horizons and hardcore opens up an entire world that most people never even knew existed.
-Alicia Calkins, Arts Editor; Devon Fore, Feature Editor