ALL AGES HARDCORE! It’s one of my favorite phrases that often seems to get the ax when it comes to shows. At times, Chicago can seem like slim pickings for all ages DIY spaces, which puts Galaxie 2.0 in a great spot. Galaxie 2.0 is a newer (albeit re-born) DIY spot in the Ravenswood neighborhood that promotes scene involvement through all ages shows in this great loft-style, open venue.
Veteran Chicago hardcore affiliates in FYR Booking had booked their third show at Galaxie 2.0 this past Friday. The show hosted a mixed bill featuring Chicago locals Nahuales Underground, Through N’ Through, Decline, and Burdened, supporting Clear Focus – a Straight Edge band from Buffalo, New York.
One of the things that stood out the most to me about the show wasn’t the diversity in musical talent; it was actually the overlap in fans. It was an energizing feeling to be able to see the same people singing along for all of the bands. This acts as a testament that, while Chicago’s music scene can often seem segregated, there is more commonality than one would think.
Nahuales Underground opened up the show with a very eclectic sound. The band was equal parts Ska, Reggae, Metal, and Political Punk. Think Nu-Metal Ska. As these guys ripped through their set it was clear that their music is something they all enjoy and take very seriously: shredding guitar solos, hard hitting drums, and spit fire fast rap verses. The band also caught my ear with their blend of lyrical content in both English and Spanish.
Next up was Chicago neighborhood Little Village’s hometown heroes Through N’ Through. Think heavy Hardcore. Now, if you’re anything like me you might be inclined to write this off. Don’t. Give it a try first, or at the very least catch this band live. Between songs, their singer Ruben Garza Jr. keeps it real when it comes to his passion for Hardcore and belief in getting the community to be actively involved in order to make a scene stronger. This got people moving. You could tell that the crowd knew the band and traveled just to see them, an important thing in such a big city like Chicago.
Chicago’s Straight Edge Youth Crew torchbearers, Decline, took the floor next. This band has been hard at work in recent months playing a string of shows, as well as being involved booking hardcore shows with members making up FYR Booking that had organized this very event. I had been looking forward to catching their set again after a Galaxie 2.0 show where Decline played as an alter-ego classic Hardcore cover band. This set didn’t disappoint. They provided a fast-paced Hardcore set which include all the needed ingredients: singalongs, high jumps, and a Minor Threat cover of “I Don’t Wanna Hear It.” One of the highlights of the night took place when front man Fernando Brenner, passed the mic off to several people in the audience, giving others a chance to own the words. It was a clear indicator that the band has done the ground work to garner a consistent fan base.
Continuing with a more straight forward Hardcore set was Buffalo New York’s Clear Focus. Being a touring band on an all-locals show can be a tough slot, but Clear Focus crushed it. I was familiar with this band and had casually listened when I saw they had put out a new 7″ through Safe Inside Records. However, I was surprised at how aggressive the songs came across live. It was so loud and aggressive that it took halfway through the second song for anyone to realize music had still been playing through the house PA system in the background during their set. The band maintained a mid-tempo mosh throughout the set allowing a chance for some two stepping and creepy crawling, which made for a fun time for both audience and the band. The room really got moving when they threw in just enough hard riffed breakdowns for the crowd to vibe off and hit the dance floor swinging.
While the band had originally been billed as an opener, Chicago’s Burdened rounded out the night. This was a band I had been really excited to check out again, as it had been almost a year since I last saw them. DAMN. A year can do a lot. In terms of sound and presence this band has surely come into their own. Be on the lookout. While it might be easy for a listener to draw comparisons to early Trash Talk, there’s more of an underlying dark, brooding Hardcore that comes across in a live setting. This dark and brooding aspect was clearly evident in singer Mike Shlagman, flailing across the floor, mic chord gritted between teeth, and guitarist Tev Washington lunging forward into the crowd with a face of sheer ferocity. They slammed through a solid set of heavy tunes, clearly giving the entire band a chance to exercise their demons.
This was a bill of bands that goes to show that Hardcore can be more unifying than dividing. I’m looking forward to more shows from these bands and Galaxie 2.0. Check out the pictures from the show below and be sure to check back on future coverage of these bands and so many more.