BY JESS BECK | Go Venue Magazine
It’s always interesting shooting shows in new places. See, back in Nebraska you sort of always knew what to expect, who to see at certain shows, etc. Here…it’s like the Wild West – you never know what you’re gonna get.
Maybe that’s chocolate boxes, but it’s the same with humans, you know?
The Rebel Lounge was the perfect place for a show like this – a pure punk show, with little fucks given about whether or not you don’t like to mosh. It felt like an introduction to Fight Club in a way, that if it was your first time here, you had to mosh. Several attendees wore mosh pit battle scars like a badge of honor. The bands kept encouraging more and more chaos as the night carried on in a dimly lit venue where 300 humans were pressed together to make a British Hardcore wine of sorts on Friday night in Phoenix, Arizona on April 22, 2022.
First up on the bill was a band called “Anxious.” And I gotta be honest, I don’t usually get super…well…anxious…for an opening band unless I know them personally or something, but holy shit – these dudes came out swinging and didn’t stop until they were done. There were about 50 people in the building when they started, but when they finished, the place was packed and between the two mosh pits and the ill-attempted tries at crowd-surfing – most people who didn’t get kicked in the face were having an awesome time. Signed to Run For Cover Records, I’m sure this won’t be the last time we hear about these super talented fellas from the Connecticut circuit.
Anxious was an absolute powerhouse of a band. Their new album “Little Green House” is out on every major streaming platform, and I’d absolutely encourage you to give it a whirl sometime – just incredible writing and passion submerge you in this gem of post-hardcore anthems.
Second to bat was Higher Power – and with a name like that, it should tell you all that you need to know about the band. They’re a punk outfit from the UK, and they sure knew how to fire up an already sweaty and mosh-ready audience. “I wanna see this place off it’s fucking feet!” shouted vocalist Jimmy Wizard. And like magic – the crowd did just that. Higher Power is brash, in-your-face, and relentless. There’s a very good reason this band was voted in a poll by Revolver Magazine in 2020 to be the next big thing to break into the mainstream, as a new wave of British Punk seems to be sweeping the world.
With succulent break-downs, unique vocals, and old-school guitar and drum work, this band is what happens when you feed a Hobbit too much Taco Bell after midnight.
Third up was Trash Boat – and I’ve been a fan of this band for a long time, so I was really excited to see them live. They sound a little different in person than they do on record, but not at all in a bad way. They played a few tracks from their breakout 2018 album “Crown Shyness” including “Shade” which is one of my favorites, so it was a treat to hear it live while also being so close to the stage. Although, by this time in the show the mosh pits were so intense (along with crowd surfers in a building that only has 8-foot ceilings) that I was off to the side of the stage, but it was still magical. Vocalist Tobi Duncan encouraged the audience to remember that, “There is no such thing as left wing and right wing, they’re the same bird. They are the social elites, and then there’s the rest of us. Think for yourself, and fuck those clowns!”
The audience erupted as they finished out their set, playing a track from their new album that focuses on gender identity. “Don’t ever let someone tell you that you’re someone that you’re not,” Duncan continued from the stage. “You can be whatever you want. Keep pushing boundaries, keep exploring, and fuck the gender norms!” Duncan also promised us that this won’t be the last time Trash Boat comes to Phoenix, so if that’s the case, I’ll see you at the next one, sir!
After a changeover that lasted about 30 minutes, Boston Manor was ready to hit the stage.
And they came out like a title fight.
It was an ending to the show of pure brutality and finesse, balancing hardcore punk with melodic vocals. Like if pop-punk fucked around and had a love baby with 90s inspired grunge. It’s completely unlike anything else in the genre that they’ve found themselves in, but I think we need to give Boston Manor it’s due, experimenting around as much as they have.
Vocalist Henry Cox was a commanding force of nature from the get-go, telling the crowd to open up the pit while weary security staff tried as best they could to keep the remaining members of the crowd safe from flailing feet smashing into the faces of unsuspecting patrons. What was really great about the show, apart from all of the incredible bands, is that the band members from the other bands would crowd-surf and hang from the rafters as the other bands were playing – making this my most interactive show covering to date.
This is certainly one show I’ll never forget. Huge shout out to The Rebel Lounge staff for being awesome and supportive of the show-goers, as well as trying to keep everyone hydrated and safe amidst the chaos. Your lighting sucks balls, but your staff and PA system are incredible!
And if you feel so inclined, give these bands a follow-on Spotify or YouTube Music, whatever platform you use, give ’em a like, stream their music, buy their merch, and continue to support the bands that come through and play these clubs. Music is back, but it will depend on all of us to keep it going!
Until next time, friends, thanks for rocking out with me!