The threshold of what defines a punk rock or hardcore band seems to stretch further with every passing year. Ever declaring its relentlessly immortal status, punk/hardcore underground communities continue to adapt, modify, and morph into hybrids or evolutions of what came before, inspired by others to take the lead and make the music their own. With so many new brains forming new bands, Sacramento is fortunate to have Punch and Pie Productions as they continue to bring new and exciting, but as yet unheard, bands to a once overlooked city.
On March 10th, The Press Club played host to a very eclectic show. Starting off the evening was Love Moon. The band recently relocated to Oakland from Indianapolis in the summer of 2014, and has been non-stop busy ever since. Often it is apparent when a band is not too keen on opening a show, but Love Moon showed no qualms about kicking off the evening. By the end of the first song, the audience did not seem to mind either. Described as a psych-sludge band, the dark vintage heavy 70’s rock influence of Black Sabbath mixed with lighter contemporary guitar line and story-telling comparable to Torche. They created a wall of sound, taking the audience from flowing and familiar transcendence down to an almost sinister otherworldly journey with each song.
Second up were long time Sacramento staple, Bastards of Young. The band has been playing locally and ripping up the West Coast for close to a decade and show no signs of slowing down. The crowd swelled towards the front as the band finished up their sound check and broke into their first song. At the root of their sound, the band can be described as melodic punk rock whereas a more seasoned listener may tag them in the vein of folk-punk, or melodic hardcore and pop-punk. Regardless, they are worth seeing. The set list consisted of a few classics and mostly of new songs yet to be released on a highly anticipated full-length album; due on La Escalera Records sometime this year. Fans of Hot Water Music and Dillinger Four would be hard pressed to hate anything about this band.
Next up was the first of two touring bands on the bill. The Dirty Nil from Dundas, Ottowa, Canada played loud, angry and dirty punk rock n’ roll. Out of the gate, the band started the volume at eleven and stayed there. Whether a devout fan up front singing along or a novice planted firmly in the back, the band was in your face and made no apologies for being there. The pounding drums blended with the thick distortion of guitar and bass creating a tension felt throughout the venue; ultimately exploding into playfully aggressive release causing the crowd to swell, sway, and dance. The songs were both fun and aggressive, delivered with such a casual confidence even the most energetic fist thrusting fan had to smile at the same time. Comparisons to the legendary Title Fight along with newcomers Joyce Manor could be made. The band played at this year’s South by Southwest festival.
Headlining the evening were London, Ontario based Single Mothers. The band has been steamrolling across both Canada and the US, attracting lots of attention from new listeners and media. After an incredibly brief introduction the band exploded into their set and any thought of slowing down or turning down was laughably dismissed. The brutal and unforgiving fuzz generated from the darkest parts of their amplifiers complimented the aggressive and occasionally sarcastic vocals, backed by equally thick drums that sounded like they were played from the front of the stage. The energy of the band made the music that much more enticing. The first three or four songs of the set seemed to stun the audience, locking them into a moment of shock and awe, before realizing they were present for an almost cathartic musical experience and responded to the band’s energy in full. Elements of Murder City Devils, dark and early parts of The Hives, and Husker Du came to mind. Live, the first thought was if Iggy Pop had started an 80’s hardcore band with The Kinks and The Zombies at the forefront of influence, this is what it would sound like. The band has been pegged as one of the top bands to see at this year’s SXSW festival in Austin, Texas.
It may have been a punk rock show on a Tuesday night in a fairly infamous Sacramento bar, but everyone got down like a Friday night. Those who missed it, really missed out.
Words: Jordan Wolfe.