The show at Barclay House in Baltimore started with a few people milling around a dark, graffiti-covered basement. Chaos Destroy played. The vocalist's face looked strained - increasingly red complexion, squinting eyes, furiously moving jaw, sweat breaking out on his forehead - but no audible sound from his throat. I could only hear the bass and the guitar with a touch of drums. Oh well. Still, they played with enthusiasm and passion.
Lotus Fucker played a tight, 10-minute set. The guitars and bass created a chaos of feedback accented by a furious drum beat. Jon, the drummer, has talent. Dan, the singer, lunged into the crowd as he yelled out the lyrics. Obviously, the PA was alright, because, unlike the singer for Chaos Destroy, I could hear Dan just fine, despite the columns of amps and gear for the guitars and bass. The night before, I heard Lotus Fucker play at the Hole in the Sky in DC. After they finished, a guy said to me: "They weren't loud enough." I didn't realize he was joking, because, while Lotus Fucker had sent me digging for my foam ear plugs, they weren't quite as loud as usual that night. Pat had left an amp at home. At this show, they lived up to their reputation of being the show's loudest band.
After Lotus Fucker finished playing, I walked with Pat to get drinks. A few panhandlers directed us to a grocery store when we reached the main road. When we got to the store, the clerk buzzed us in and escorted us to the refrigerated section. Pat picked up several teas and I bought the only caffeine-free soda available, a Diet Pepsi. Pat lacked cash, so I paid and we returned to the show just in time to see The Wanky's.
The Wankys, from England, were more focused and fierce than when I saw them at La Casa a few weeks ago. The bassist shreds. The singer, Mark, seems personable and has great presence. I enjoyed seeing them play again and hope they return to DC.
The momentum of the World Burns to Death set compelled people to move in every part of the basement despite the heat and humidity so thick that I felt at times like I was breathing underwater. The bass pulsated through my body. Nevertheless, Jack Control's voice sounded tough, intense, dark, and commanding like a sledgehammer driving through the heavy fury of the rest of the band.
Slang are from Japan. They played with blistering speed. According to one of Pat's friends traveling with them, the lead singer kept stopping between songs in New York City and yelling "New York," because of his enthusiasm for New York Hardcore of the 1980s and early-90s. Although they didn't play in DC, they, apparently, took a detour on their way to their next show in Richmond, Virginia in order to stop by Dischord House today. These sounds together with brutal Japanese hardcore obviously influence the band.
In the Barclay House basement, people had spilled drinks earlier in the night and tossed water around. The floor was slick. Everyone was sweating due to the heat, but, in the center of the room, people looked like they'd just taken a dip in a swimming pool.
As I stared at the singer's pink mohawk, I thought of Indian Vision Quests. What is in a name - call the basement either a DIY sauna or a sweat lodge. I could literally see the guitarist's sweat streaming down the red wood of his guitar like the replica waterfalls that companies now manufacture for desktops. The effect was pretty in an odd way.
Slang kept playing faster and faster. The circle, too, moved faster and faster. As people shook their heads and flung themselves around in a circle, sweat whipped off of their heads like a makeshift and misplaced sprinkler system. The singer felt dizzy at one point and stepped outside for a minute, although the rest of the band didn't pause in their playing until he returned. The set had a surreal quality and I could imagine someone referring to it in terms of punk purification.
When Slang announced that they were done, people shouted for more. They agreed to play one last song. When it was done, Pat said: "We're not worthy." And, again, despite the heat, I left feeling energized, although I passed out almost as soon as my head hit the pillow.