Punk, by definition, is a loud, fast-moving and aggressive form of rock music popularized in the late 70s and early 80s. Punk was never a hugely mainstream type of scene, staying underground for the most part. Being a former punk rocker myself, going to punk shows, listening to punk music, it brings back tons of great memories and it makes me happy. So, I was quite pleased to be covering the current tour featuring Discharge headlining with supporting acts EyehateGod, Toxic Holocaust, Old Lines and Humanmania.
Upon arrival at the Soundstage, the room was shockingly empty. Once inside, we got to know that the stage time had been pushed back by an hour. Regardless, it was a short wait before the initial opener hit the stage, Baltimore’s own Humanmania. These local boys were energetic but the fluctuations and variations in their music were so subtle they were barely discernible. Add to that the vocalist’s mic was barely audible while he paced the stage like an angry caged animal. Their whole set was just weird. Up next was Old Lines, another hardcore band out of Baltimore, Maryland. I love getting to check out local bands and this one was pretty good. They were energetic but not in an angry beast sort of way. Much more enjoyable than their predecessors.
After another brief stage transition, Toxic Holocaust took over opening with “War is Hell”, followed by “Hell on Earth” and “Wild Dogs” in rapid succession. Toxic Holocaust played a great set, showcasing their many influences from traditional punk to thrash to good old hard rock. The mosh pit really kicked up at one point giving everyone some added entertainment. Especially when the stage divers dove into a non-crowd. You could almost hear the thud.
After a little warm-up and a bit of confusion, Eyehategod blew up the stage with Randy Blythe of Lamb of God filling in for Mike Williams on vocals. It was unfortunate that Mike couldn’t appear and we wish him well and a speedy recovery. However, it was a real treat to see Randy Blythe front this band. The guys were super tight straight out of the gate, from “New Orleans is the New Vietnam”, through “Sisterfucker” and “Medicine Noose”, all the way to “Methamphetamine” and “Run it into the Ground”. They also enjoyed a great fan response with moshers and stage divers alike. Not quite sure why bands have recently started foregoing a photo pit and allowing stage diving but I prefer a photo pit, personally.
Headlining the evening was Discharge, a British hardcore punk band having a nearly 40-year history of anarchy in the US and the UK. Discharge songs can trend towards short and to the point which allowed for a whopping 21-song set of songs spanning the band’s vast catalog including a couple from the most recent release, ‘End of Days’, “New World Order” and “Hatebomb”. The moshing and stage diving hit a fever pitch through songs like “See Nothing, Hear Nothing, Say Nothing”, “Hell on Earth”, “Hype Overload”, “Corpse of Decadence”, “Realities of War”. Closing out with “War’s No Fairytale” and “The Possibility of Life’s Destruction”, Discharge commanded the stage and showed everyone in attendance that they still got it.
It’s no surprise that Discharge, Eyehategod and Toxic Holocaust are all big players in the hardcore/thrash/punk genres. All three put on a hell of a show. Anyone reading this should absolutely catch a date near you.