We Go To Shows

Author: josephcraftpaints

Daikaiju / The Struggle Bus @ Howlers (9/23/17)

Well, that was fucking crazy.

I did not expect to go to Howlers Saturday night. Actually, I did not expect any of the events that transpired that evening. I had originally planned to go to Lawrenceville for another event but shortly before leaving the house, I saw a Facebook post from Howlers showing a photo of a masked man playing the drums while hoisted above the crowd by the attendees with the caption, “You should probably be here tonight in case this happens again.” Needless to say, I was intrigued.

I went over to Daikaiju’s Facebook page and saw flaming guitars, then clicked on their Bandcamp and heard surf–I was sold, to say the least. My constant fear of being late got me the gig early, per usual, so I posted up at the bar and hung out until The Struggle Bus finished soundcheck. It was my first time seeing this local four-piece with an awesome name. I use the phrase “riding the struggle bus” at least three times a day, so they had me won over before the first chord.

The Struggle Bus, according to vocalist/guitarist Dan, is “a collective of misfits that struggle through life and put our experiences to music. We have influences from Tom Waits to Wilco, ’90s alternative and ’00s indie rock.  Mostly we love to play, and just want to share that with everyone. Strugglos for life.” I thought they sounded great and had a good energy, plus they brought along a few “struggle babes” to drive their struggle bus (a cardboard school bus with fancy flashing lights) through the audience, and had two giant slices of inflatable pizza bouncing around the crowd like some sort of pop-punk paradise. I love when bands get the crowd involved in their performance with stuff like this.

Struggle Bus photos by Steve Yost

Daikaiju was up next and they took crowd participation to a whole new level. After soundcheck I returned to the back room of Howlers to find the band’s equipment set up in front of the stage. However, the band was nowhere in sight. A few minutes go by and I feel something brush against my leg. I look down to find a shirtless masked man crawling on the ground towards his guitar. After showing some love to a few masked fans with a kiss, the masked men began their strange surfing safari through my brain. The band sounded super tight despite the fact they were dancing through the crowd the whole time they were playing.

Daikaiju Photo by Steve Yost

About three songs into their performance they decided to move their drumset further into the crowd. Around this time, the band started directing people to go onto the stage and this is when I realized the band had not spoken a word. The non-verbal communication made the masks even weirder and I was super into it. Everyone on the floor and on the stage was a participant in Daikaiju’s strange performance and we have the sweat stains to prove it. The drum kit was moved around the room a few more times, then the lighter fluid came out. The kit was set ablaze and the band didn’t skip a beat. After the flames died out and the guitarist was carried around for a bit, the drums started to rise. The drummer and his drums were hoisted in the air by me and about ten other people while Daikaiju played through two more songs.

Daikaiju photos by Steve Yost

Most bands would end a show here, but what ensued next was pure chaos. We lowered the drummer and I was handed drumsticks and instructed to play the flaming cymbal in front of me. I would be lying if I said this wasn’t super fucking cool. The cymbal was used as a torch to light the remaining instruments on fire before being handed off to the audience to play. We jammed away like flaming idiots for at least five minutes before I noticed the band was standing outside watching us. I hopped over the stage to thank and chat with the band. About twenty minutes went by before the music stopped and the performance was over. I picked up two copies of their single “Cocklobster” before heading home. I never did make it to Lawrenceville.

You can catch The Struggle Bus at The Smiling Moose October 23; in the meantime, you can listen to them hereDaikaiju is on a huge tour right now and you should absolutely see th em as soon as possible–you will not be disappointed. You can find their music on their websiteSpotify, and Bandcamp. Cheers!

#SharePghMusicMonth Killer Of Sheep

Do you really fucking hate systematic oppression, abuse of power, and scumbag cops? If so, we should grab a case of beer and listen to some Killer Of Sheep records, and talk about how we’re gonna build stronger communities.  KOS are a four piece hardcore punk outfit from our fine city that are pissed off in all the right ways. They just released their record “Scorned” last month at Skullfest. You can pick it up from Cruel Noise or buy it online directly from Taang Records. Catch them playing September 28 at The Funhouse at Mr. Smalls during the Pabst coloring book art show. 

Kids with purple hair are here: The Childlike Empress / Early Riser / The Weak Days / THGC / Secret Stuff @ The Mr. Roboto Project (7/8/17)

Another stacked bill brought patrons young, old, and in between to The Mr. Roboto Project. Although this show was a bit different from the more aggressive gigs I tend to attend, it was one of the best shows I have been to this year.


Photos by Logan Tilley

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Hardcore Solstice: Submachine / Crack House / Mower / Frustrate / Bed Sore @ Gooski’s (6/21/17)

It was the longest day of the year on Wednesday. A great day to spend outdoors, maybe lie under the stars in the evening and enjoy a nice quiet peaceful night. Or you could work all day and spend the remainder of your evening getting shithoused in a dark, smoke-filled bar blowing out your eardrums. I’ll take the latter. If you believed that the event would start at 8 (according to the FB event page) you must not get out to Gooski’s very often (you should). However, I rolled in around 8:15 to play it safe. I was pleased to find Jeff from Submachine sitting next to me. He dropped some knowledge on me about coming up in the eighties and some history of the local punk and hardcore scene. After a few PBRs and a “safety meeting” in the alley Bed Sore was about to start at ten (regular time).

To start off the show, Gooski’s housed two heavy-hitting hardcore bands from Lexington, Kentucky: Bed Sore and Frustrate. Both bands are on the analog label Stomped Out Records and operate out of the DIY space Hometron (ask a punk). Both bands had a similar very heavy, abrasive, driving, hardcore sound. Bed Sore’s vocalist had higher, more shrill, voice than Frustrate and an interesting stage presence–he just stared out into the audience without blinking, all bug-eyed and shit, while he screamed his fucking lungs out. During the song N.O.A.D. (nod off and die), he started flailing around on the ground and pretended to try to suck some dudeʻs dick.

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EP Review: The Homeless Gospel Choir – Normal (6/9/17)

The Homeless Gospel Choir‘s newest release dropped today in the form of a two song 7″. If you have not had the pleasure of listening to any of The Homeless Gospel Choir (aka Derek Zanetti)’s music before, this record is a great place to start. You can also check out our recent interview with him. 


The hometown heroes over at A-F records worked with Zanetti again to release these wonderful songs that he has been playing at shows for years. A-F records has pressed three versions of this record: a special edition red vinyl that is only available through the A-F record club, 350 yellow vinyl, and a beautiful baby blue that was added on when the yellow pre-order sold out. This record runs up to you with open arms, grabs you by the jacket, screams in your face, and gives you a big fucking hug.

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Show Review: SNAFU / Killer Of Sheep / Grime Scene at Gooski’s (6/4/17)

Grime Scene opened the show with really great  hardcore set. This was only their fourth show but the three piece played super tight. The guitar/vox dude was really animated while he played, which made for a very entertaining show. Stay on the lookout for Grime Scene, they fucking shred.

Personal local favorites of mine, Killer Of Sheep, played next. They banged out their last set until August 22. The crew is taking a bit of a break while their vocalist Free spreads love and hip hop across Europe with his solo act Billy Pilgram. If you like hardcore and hate cops this is the band for you. Keep an eye out for their new record due out on August 21st.

SNAFU finished the night off with a short set; things were cut short due to equipment issues. The four piece from Detroit were all over the place with their sound–these dread heads were very talented musicians. They started off with a super heavy thrash sound, then moved to a classic hardcore vibe, then got super heavy and  doomy. The guitar harmonies were tight and three vocalists gave the band a cool vocal range.

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