A mélange of East and West Coast post-hardcore, punk and noise-rock was exhibited Monday night at the Hard to Find Showspace. The turnout for past shows at this charming venue has often been weak, but as the evening progressed, people trickled in and eventually filled the small room. The influx of showgoers quickly warmed the air and gathered in front of the makeshift stage, which was dimly lit by the glow of several strings of Christmas lights that hung from the ceiling and snaked across the wall behind it.
The Burbank, Calif., quartet Bleeding Kansas opened the show and played the heaviest set of the lineup. The band hammered out solid, straightforward hardcore songs that conveyed moments of surprising vulnerability where least expected. WIVES, a Los Angeles-based trio, took the stage next, and, between scaling their speakers and encouraging avid audience participation, played a set focused on instrumentation. The guitars were discordant, and at times visceral and experimental, but always adroit nonetheless. WIVES’ Jeremy Villalobos’ drumming was best of the night. Both bands delivered boisterous sets that were sweaty, aggressive and produced music so loud that my audiologist would have killed me had she caught me hanging out in front of the speakers.
Brooklyn, N.Y., noise-rock band, and headlining group of the night, the Panthers played a brief set consisting of cuts off the band’s latest album Things Are Strange and its preceding EP Let’s Get Serious. Where Bleeding Kansas and WIVES offered the audience raw, cathartic energy in their performances, the Panthers were slightly more cogitative. The stylistic shift from garage-punk riffs to pulsing, sustained sounds marked every moment of guitarists Kip Ulhorn and Justin Chearno performances. The duo slaved over a bevy of effects pedals, weaved in and out of each other’s feedback compounding waves of sound, swelling around vocalist Jayson Green – who sang with cool frenetic vivacity. It was a good night for noise.