Sundays are usually assigned as rest days in my personal calendar as I’m still unfortunately part of the workforce that has to wake up really early every Monday morning. There have been a few exceptions throughout the years though, most recent of which was the first ever hardcore punk matinee show I’ve dragged my ass into with Japanese hardcore punk bands Vivisick and Cheerio headlining the bill last June 5, 2016.
The show proper itself started at around 4pm with Pampanga-based punk band Istukas Over Disneyland and related project Holy Cow. Both bands played sans bassist but that didn’t stop them at all from doing what they can to keep the early bird crowd entertained with their set of tunes. Not really that much into Holy Cow though as listening to their set of microsongs felt to me like being bombarded with fastcore variations of Napalm Death’s “You Suffer”. One could only do so much with a minute or less per song anyway. IOD’s set on the other hand was more memorable for me despite the rather brief 4-song set; it was most probably those two songs sung in their native Kapampangan dialect that did it for me. Got me reminded for some nostalgic reason of a handful of my classmates back in my college days who spoke the said dialect.
A.D.A. (Aggressive Dog Attack) is a band I’ve been hearing being talked about within the hardcore punk scene but it was only during that June 5 show that I’ve actually had the chance to see them. The band’s rhythm section is superbly tight but the grating vocals proved to be a rather tough pill for me to take. Maybe I should take all those legends I hear with a grain of salt, no?
Killratio and Kaktus Karuka both rarely gig within the Metro so every chance to see them is completely worth it. Both bands play some really intense hardcore that’s sure to cause a pit to form, though I would have to give it to the latter’s vocals that really stood out for me as her barks and brief low-end gutturals are very much at par with some of the tough guy vocalists within the hardcore punk scene.
I first encountered Vivisick back in college when a record shop I used to occasionally visit had this cassette tape that featured both them and the succinctly named Fuck on the Beach. Vivisick’s logo caught my eye but since I was still totally new to the whole hardcore punk thing at the time, it didn’t really occur to me back then to check out their music. Just like the gap between the band’s first ever visit to the country and their second, it took me more than a decade to finally sink my teeth into Vivisick’s music most especially as the band’s most recent association with Oakland, CA-based record label Tankcrimes who distributed their latest album “Nuked Identity” both Stateside and worldwide helped me get into them easier. With that and being largely a sucker for hardcore punk just like how its pioneers used to do it, I was totally looking forward to see the first ever Tankcrimes band to step into our shores. I sure was in for a treat that night as Vivisick’s vocalist sung anthem after anthem entirely in Japanese and in perhaps one of the highest pitches I’ve come across in years while the rest of the band played like there’s no tomorrow (and with reason as they had to catch their flight back home that same night). Most definitely looking forward to more Tankcrimes bands to drop by our side of the globe anytime soon.
But just when I thought Vivisick already made more than a good impression on me, co-headlining band and fellow countrymen Cheerio honestly took me completely by surprise. Imagine for a second that two of your forty-something fat and bald uncles with a generally cheerful disposition and propensity for drink during family gatherings suddenly decided to form a hardcore punk band… … that’s pretty much Cheerio in a nutshell. That last song they did though (whose title has unfortunately escaped my memory) during their set stood out the most for me as what I initially thought to be crucifix necklaces that hung around both vocalists’ necks the whole time actually turned out to be whistles. A hardcore punk song with lots of whistle sounds in it sure seemed quite interesting to me, most especially as I know of only two other songs – both non-hardcore by the way – that feature whistles in them. The band’s overall happy vibe (they ain’t named Cheerio for nothing after all) left the crowd that night feeling quite positive and cheerful, ready to take on the next day’s start of yet another workweek.