Friday Night: Black Breath, Martyrdöd & More at Walter's
All of six months has gone by since Walter's on Washington reopened in its new location on Naylor St., and last week I realized I'd yet to take in a show at the new place. The old joint had a fairly long reign as the top dumpy little outpost for the city's underground metal, punk and hardcore devotees, and I had a lot of memorable times there as a younger dude.
My rotator cuffs are getting a little brittle for windmills at this point, but I was curious to see if the new Walter's still goes as hard as the one I remembered. Friday night seemed like a good opportunity to find out.
Righteous indie-metal label Southern Lord has organized a showcase tour of its current bumper crop of thrashcore acts, headlined by Seattle's Black Breath. All six bands on Friday's bill mash punk, hardcore and thrash together until they're indistinguishable, and I was interested to discover whether the rival clans of scenesters would show up and mesh just as seamlessly.
The new Walter's isn't easy to find if you don't know where you're going, and the road construction in the area took a little longer to work around than I'd planned. I arrived too late to catch Ft. Worth hardcore punks Wild//Tribe, but Dallas' Power Trip was whipping right along at full steam. The dance floor was wide open when I walked in, and it didn't take long to figure out why: fists, elbows and knees flew in every direction as soon as the band lit into a breakdown.
After a kid landed some kind of capoeira cartwheel kick onto my neck, I decided to move out of range. Walter's hasn't changed that much, it seems. Power Trip got a great response from the crowd with their furious stabs of crossover thrashcore, inspiring some vicious slamming from the dedicated 'core bros in attendance.
The next group up was Milwaukee's Enabler. The floor punchers must have come specifically for the early bands, because the crowd thinned out noticeably for these guys. It was their loss: Enabler rewarded the audience members who weren't outside smoking with a bleak and bitter blend of hardcore and metal.
"False Profit" was the set's highlight, a sharp, one-two whip-crack of supersonic hate followed by a pummeling metal riff. Heads banged hard.
"No one is coming back from the dead!" screamed vocalist Jeff Lohrber, and by God I believe he meant it.