The second to last time I saw This Is Hell, was in the above photo. A tiny garage full of hunting/outdoors equipment with a plethora of deer antlers hanging from the ceiling. It was a ridiculous, testosterone overdosing, violent affair– and it was awesome. This Is Hell has long been one of my favorite hardcore bands and a band that, despite their longevity, output and touring, has never had that big of a following. They’re playing a show at that garage again in March, and I won’t be able to attend because of the school/work situation.
I can no longer count the number of times I’ve seen This Is Hell with my fingers, but I can easily count the number of shows that they’ve got a good reaction at on one hand. When they released their first full-length, ‘Sundowning’, they were something of a hype band, but ever since they didn’t release ‘Sundowning 2’, their popularity has curtailed. Chewed up and spit out by the cyclical and cynical nature of hardcore kids. Unlike most flash in the pan hardcore bands however, This Is Hell has continued to tour relentlessly and record new albums. They’re doing it out of love, living on the road, and playing anywhere that will host them– even if that means a garage full of hunting equipment in some weird neighborhood in Rockford, Illinois.
I try to see This Is Hell anytime I can. Whenever they pass through the area, I try my best to go because I know that there stands a good chance that nobody at that show will care about what they’re doing. So, I like to show up and buy a shirt that I might not necessarily want, or toss some money in the tip jar while singing along like a goon and climbing on top of boring people there for some other band.
When they played in that tiny garage with 20-30 people going apeshit, it was awesome. It’s the way aggressive music should be. I don’t understand the appeal of large open air concerts, or giant ballrooms with thousands of people in them. I like music I like because I feel a personal attachment to it. A room packed with kids who want to jump on each other and sing along to every word is always going to be something more than watching a band perform songs. In hardcore, nobody is better than anyone else, and that lack of a barrier is what embodies it more than anything to me.
That’s why missing this show is really disappointing to me. I know that this show is going to be everything that hardcore represents, and everything that I want it to be, and it This Is Hell will be center stage. Getting older sucks sometimes.
Listen to This Is Hell.