Organizers’ most ambitious effort to date resulted in a weekend celebration that reiterated the community that has always been core.
Whether up close or from afar, God’s Hate frontman Brody King is a massive wall of a man.
The professional wrestler who has since emerged as an ever-ascending asset under the AEW banner, has long cemented his reputation as an ardent lifer in the realm of hardcore music – both as a patron and a participant.
Purely menacing onstage, King barrels into the microphone when he performs with God’s Hate – throughly commanding and terrifyingly convincing as he empties his lungs, “Finish the job // Kill them all //
No empathy for your supremacy // The time has come to finish the job”.
The decree incites all out bedlam from the band’s loyal supporters. Gainers from off the stage, arms and legs whipping about with zero regard for where they may land and then King himself – taking flight into the crowd of his own people, showcasing his wingspan and his willingness to get into the shit, not just observe it from a perch.
And then… a moment of reflection.
As the crowd at the Red Stage attempts to regain their breath and compose themselves before chaos erupts again with the next song, King addresses the festival’s contingent. “I was at the very first Sound and Fury at The Alpine in 2006,” King recalls. “Who would have thought all these years later we would be playing in front of a crowd of 5,000 people.”
Framing the humble beginnings of the annual gathering, King articulated a sentiment that would be reiterated in different ways throughout the course of the weekend. With an emphasis on community, DIY ethics, and authenticity in the aggressive art, King managed to drop some knowledge on the crowd much like he landed that swan dive. Speaking with a sense of ownership and pride, King, along with many of hardcore’s most important voices all echoed how hardcore was and always will be a communal effort and because of that – Sound and Fury was a celebration shared by both the bands on the stage and the fans eager to leap off of it.
Here are some of the highlights from Sound and Fury ’22.
The twilight set of the second date of any festival would warrant a bit of a lull in energy. That exact opposite happened with God’s Hate closed out the Red Stage on Sunday. The band’s no frill, brass tax brand of brutality was pure beatdown as the tandem of Brody King and drummer Colin Young decimated the festival floor and lived up to their simple but lasting mantra – “life is hard; be harder.”
The Wilkes-Barre prospects have been having a breakout year with a relentless touring schedule on the strength of their Run for Cover juggernaut, This Place You Know. Among the newer generation of bands present on the Sound and Fury bill, the band understood the assignment and scored one of the highlights of the fest in covering post-hardcore champions, Title Fight. The scene was a malee in a magical way with hundreds of fans joining Ryan Savitski paying tribute to one of the scene’s OGs.
“We are motherfucking Scowl. From fucking California. Move the fuck up.” Vocalist Kat Moss skipped the subtleties and got right to business in what was not only a flex of the band’s punk pedigree, but their ability to play to the room wisely. For the band’s first song, they took on a cover of “Waiting Room” by Fugazi which sent an already stoked crowd into an absolute frenzy.
Arguably one of the most anticipated bands of the entire weekend, Aussie hardcore practitioners Speed have only been around since 2019 and have a very limited resume of live shows – but the hype propelling the wrecking crew is very real. Gang vocals, down-tuning, the occasional guitar dive-bomb and the charge of frontman Jem Siow deliver on the credo of this “Gang Called Speed”. In fact, when the title track hit, the level of violence was amplified setting the tone for what was one of the most intense sets of day one.
Over a weekend that packed two days of beatdown into a festival roster, Connecticut standouts Anxious managed to notch a highlight that didn’t need the same violent spectacle to be memorable. Cut from the same cloth as post-hardcore greats like Title Fight, Sunny Day Real Estate, Touche Amore and Basement the band’s 90’s college-rock era suburban angst and aesthetic resonated as both classic and contemporary at the same time. Combined with incendiary song writing well beyond their years, songs from their Run for Cover released Little Green House were executed flawlessly capturing the same energy live that exudes from such a killer studio record.
With Mindforce frontman Jay Petagine pulling double duty, his homage to hardcore and sucker free hip hop in Pillars of Ivory proved especially effective for their Los Angeles showing. Asserting their familiarity with the cross section of fans that appreciate both Mobb Deep and Madball, the band set it off with their opening banger “L.O.W.” that sampled “Shook Ones, Pt. II” from the former. Apart from the hip hop hands and the requisite weed references, the set was live and a genuine meld of hardcore stylized with a healthy dose of swag.
As one of the standouts from the 2019 installment of the S+F gathering, Santa Cruz outfit DRAIN have since become a leading name among the new school of hardcore’s next on deck. Given the praise of their 2020 LP California Cursed and the preview of their Epitaph era in “Watch You Burn”, the band earned day one’s headlining spot and made sure to pull out all the stops. Emerging onstage to “California Sun” by The Rivieras, Drain embraced the gravity of the moment and delivered a rousing set that included their anthems as well as a preview of new music – both which hit their mark and then some with the rabid Saturday night crowd.
Rolling into Sound and Fury having just announced their pending Triple B Records full length New Lords, Jay Petagine and Mindforce pieced together the kind of set that was worth the price of admission on it’s own. The initial breakdown on the track “Nightmare” incited an onstage dog-pile, with fans all attempting to scream into the microphone that Petagine was more than willing to share with the fans. Dropping their latest single “Survival Is Vengeance” as well as cuts from their Swingin Swords, Choppin Lords EP, the band finished their time with hardcore’s equivalent to a walk off home run, ripping “Excalibur” leaving the Sound and Fury faithful convinced they just saw their favorite set of the day.
When it comes to powerviolence, fun isn’t a descriptor that would normally make sense, but then again, Zulu isn’t your typical band. Vocalist Anaiah Lei fluidly went from emptying his guts into the microphone to dancing onstage. In between wholly hostile tracks including a preview of the band’s latest studio effort, A New Tomorrow, the band dropped snippets of songs that showcased their versatility and vast musical foundation – from classic soul in Debbie Taylor’s “Touching You” to contemporary R&B in Llyod’s “I Want You”. There was an element of party in ZULU’s set that made the pit no less violent, but a damn good time.
There’s a case to be made that even if tonight wasn’t the band’s final set, the San Jose brawlers likely still would have topped the bill. It also speaks volumes that after a two days of stage dives, slam pits, and unhinged violence that when Gulch hit the stage, the energy seemed to amplify. GULCH live is a visceral experience, the kind that is both intriguing and terrifying to watch. Holding court over some 5,000 fans all hoping to help send the band off properly, Gulch did what few bands have the guts to, go out on their own terms. Even with the set being cut short, Gulch closing out Sound and Fury 22 will instantly became the stuff of hardcore lore.