Negative Approach & the Casualties at Walters, 11/2/2013
Now that virtually every hardcore band that ever pushed a van in the early '80s has reformed for a trek or three around the country, it's fair to say that Detroit's Negative Approach stands out as one of the best. A lot of their peers are coasting, playing old favorites to old fans. But NA's performances still crackle with malice, and they still inspire wicked pits.
Their trip to Warehouse Live with OFF! last September was one of the gnarliest shows of the year, so I was especially interested in seeing what they could do with a headliner's slot. All the better that they were bringing along the Casualties, the long-running NYC street-punk band that always draws a crowd dressed to kill.
When I got to Walters, the floor was already crowded with colorful mohicans, liberty spikes and tattoo ink for the Krum Bums, the Austin punks well-known around these parts for their silly hair and shout-alongs. A big, energetic mosh pit roiled up front as the band egged everyone on with their metallic, twin leads.
"Tonight, let's fuck shit up!" insisted singer Dave Tejas, and the Krum Bums led the way by downing shots of whiskey between "whoas" and "whoa-ohs." Fans skanked up a storm right through the set's metallic, Maiden-esque outro.
While the stage was flipped, a strong ripple of anticipation went through the audience for the Casualties. These street soldiers from the Lower East Side enjoy a large and dedicated Latino fanbase in town, largely thanks to the pierced-and-dyed Brown Pride of singer Jorge Herrera. Houston's Latino punks, in particular, seemed to have had this date circled on the calendar.
After taking the stage to the Imperial March from Star Wars, the Casualties proved they're still 'bout dat life with a slew of hard, fast and heavy anthems that had fans rushing in from the patio, still exhaling smoke. The sheer glee that greeted their arrival wasn't enough for the band, who demanded stage divers.
Unsurprisingly, that request was met with some enthusiasm, and Walters' tiny stage was besieged before the next song even began. During "Constant Struggle, Constant Battle," boots pinwheeled as punks flipped into the faces of their fellow fans. Its heavy, metallic breakdown spurred on the biggest, most furious circles of the evening.
While the Casualties (and their 10-inch hair) are clearly somebody's idea of maximum punk, there was a hard, metallic edge to their snottiness, from Jake Kolatis' Flying V to Herrera's bullet belt. The front of several mohawks in the crowd began to droop with sweat as heads banged away to "Life on the Line." Despite the crunchier bits, though, the band proved their NYC punk bonafides with a snarling medley of Ramones tunes.
"Fuck yeah! This is probably one of the best shows we've done in a long time," Kolatis said, a big grin on his face. Herrera thanked the Latino fans for their support before the band ended with the crashing "Riot" and "We Are All We Have."
Review continues on the next page.