An Evening of Hardcore with Spy

Written by on October 16, 2023

On a cool Autumn Saturday night, the various characters of the local Houston scene gathered for an evening of loud, brutal, hardcore- amongst other things.

The first opener of the night was Nothing after Death, a shoegaze-esque rock band from right here in Houston. My friend, Eight, who accompanied me, commented, “They’ve never booked a show like this”. They played a strong set which I enjoyed, despite being a softer band at a hardcore show. Some people believe hardcore bands should only play with hardcore bands, but I think the crossovers are important and bring new people into the scene.

Photo by Sam Tilkins

Next up was Spaced, a hardcore band from Buffalo, New York. The crowd indulged in the powerful and energetic vocals of the frontwoman. Spaced played fast and aggressively, which provided an energy pick-up for those ready to see the beloved headliner.

Soon after, Houston hardcore band Substance stepped on the stage. Initially having some technical difficulties with their bass, the band acquired another bass from a helpful hand. “Move up, hardcore happens here!”, the vocalist shouted as the audience began to break into a frenzy. I have seen Substance before on several occasions and it is always a hoot.

Photo by Chloe Clark

As the crowd is recovering from a brutal performance from Substance, they are bombarded by Initiate, a hardcore band out of California. I loved the screamo-esque vocals from the frontwoman. The vocalist from Spaced came on stage with Initiate’s vocalist for a captivating collab. I was taken by surprise when the band started playing the breakdown from Domination by Pantera. Initiate was wonderful and buttered up the crowd for the highly anticipated headlining performance.

Photo by Chloe Clark

The last opener, Toner, is a rock band from Oakland, California. I found this band a bit harder to define; the vibe was more positive while still maintaining a degree of aggression. Unlike the previous bands, their was no pit, although the crowd was still engaged and nodding their heads. Toner was the calm before the storm of Spy.

Photo by Chloe Clark

Finally, the highly anticipated Bay Area hardcore band, Spy, made their presence on the stage. Almost immediately, the crowd went insane and the pit turned vicious. Those who were brave jumped off the stage, caused havoc, and paraded in the spirit of hardcore. There was a skirmish in the audience about halfway through the set, but ceased when the perpetrator was pulled out of the venue. However, hardcore is hard, fast, and aggressive, and those who were in attendance acted accordingly. Rushing with adrenaline, the set ended almost as fast as it started.

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