Date: September 21st, 2019
Opening Band: Pummel, Escuela, Wolf Whistle
It’s been a while since I’ve been to a straight up raw hardcore show that wasn’t just a bunch of metal guys masquerading as a hardcore band. Dating back to the 80s, Infest is one of the pioneers of the style of hardcore we know as power violence, a subgenre that incorporates hardcore punk and grind influences. Here they were up in New England for what was originally supposed to be a 2-night engagement between Boston and Providence, ended up with this 3rd Matinee show I would’ve been a fool not to attend.
I hadn’t been to AS220 for a hardcore show but the venue was the perfect taking me back to a sized room I used to go to in Connecticut years earlier. The first band up was Pummel whose name was a great way to describe their sound; a raw and hungry bunch of kids who had no problem getting the crowd into it at 1:30 in the afternoon. Next up was Escuela from Western Mass who had a very darkened hardcore/power violence sound. Super sludgy bass and riffs with a singer who unleashed an undeniable fury vocally and with her performance coinciding with shouty vocals in between blast beats from the drummer. Next up was Wolf Whistle who had more of a rock/punk/gritty hardcore feel that brought something really refreshing to the table considering how aggressive the prior 2 openers were, they also have a new album called ‘Private Hell’ which came across pretty cool here live.
Next up was a band that I can now say I’ve seen live in 5 different states, Massachusetts very own Converge. Converge dipped into their 25+ year tradition of delivering an unrelenting set with 5 songs from their prior album ‘All We Love We Leave Behind’ as well dipping into their latest album ‘The Dusk in Us’ with a few of my personal favorites “A Single Tear”, “Under Duress” and “I Can Tell You About Pain”. Urian Hackney who previously filled in for Ben Koller while he recovered from surgery hopped behind the kit for one of my favorites “Runaway” and 2 more before handing the sticks back to Ben to finish out with the ‘Jane Doe’ classic opener “Concubine”.
As if Converge wasn’t enough, Infest came up with blast beats and sick quick riffing to annihilate what was left of any energy in the crowd. While the crowd might’ve thinned out a little bit after Converge, Infest treated us to a very in your face performance courtesy of great front man, Joe Denunzio, getting right into it with the crowd and stirring up the pit.
Before this show aside from a Hate5six video I watched, I didn’t know much about Infest, but after experiencing a dose of them live, I’d definitely see why people were so hyped to see them. It was also great to see Converge in a setting that mirrored my first time seeing them at the Hanover House in Meriden CT 20 years ago. As far as the openers go it was great to see 3 different styles of locals that made me happy I took the time to get in early.