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LIVE: TERROR – November 30, 2015 (Pittsburgh, PA)

| 9 December 2015 | Reply


Venue: Th Alter Bar

City: Pittsburgh, PA

Date: November 30, 2015

Review by: Mike Hubbard

There is something about a hardcore show that one needs to experience to understand.  It’s not just listening to music and watching the bands perform.  It is a complete audience participation event.  Hardcore veterans Terror are currently on tour supporting their latest release, The 25th Hour, and I had the opportunity to catch them with supporting acts Code Orange, Take Offense, King Nine, and Malfunction.

I had never seen any of these bands previously, and only had a cursory familiarity with Terror and Code Orange, with no background on the other bands, so I was looking forward to hearing some new (for me) music.  The venue was also a new one for me, and it was set up perfectly for the chaos that was about to ensue.  Circle pits and moshing are a staple of most shows I attend.  Usually the stage is set up with a barrier between the stage and the audience to protect the band.  In this case the barriers were set up in a semi-circle about 20 feet into the audience, effectively making the moshing part of the show, and providing protection for those who chose not to participate, rather than protecting the bands.  My moshing days are well behind me so I appreciated the setup.

Unfortunately I got to the venue late and missed Malfunction, but I did get to catch King Nine.  They did a great job getting the crowd going and the participation starting by encouraging moshing and offering audience members to shout key lyrics into the mic.  King Nine only appears on the first four dates of the tour, but they were a great addition to the lineup this night.  Next up was Take Offense.  Their thrash oriented hardcore was a great change-up in style, but also kept the energy flowing.  Their vocalist was a ball of energy barely contained by the confines of the stage, and the technical ability of the lead guitarist and bassist kept my attention.  Bass players are usually the least conspicuous members of a band, but this guy was a beast on his ax.  The fourth band in the lineup was Pittsburgh’s own Code Orange.  This was when the audience really stepped it up.  The crowd’s collective familiarity and reverence for the band was evident as the mosh pit filled up with flailing arms, legs, and bodies.  Although they have been playing as a band since 2008, the band members are still fairly young.  Their experience outweighed their age in the maturity of their performance.  Their set was an integrated flow of energy, hitting you with punch after punch like a heavy weight fight without breaks in between rounds.  I loved the way they integrate the different sounds of their three vocalists.  Sticking with the boxing analogy, it was like a masterful mix of hooks, jabs, and upper-cuts that left me simultaneously exhausted and wanting more.  The set featured a number of guest vocalists as well.  I am not familiar with the local Pittsburgh hardcore scene, but I imagine that the guests were from other local bands who are friends with Code Orange.

Thinking that I had already seen the highlight of the evening with Code Orange, I stuck around to see Terror.  I had listened to their last few studio albums, and frankly I thought they were OK but nothing stood out to me.  However, I knew that they had a reputation for putting on a great show, so I held out hope that they would exceed my expectations.  And that they did.  Even though the themes of Terror’s lyrics tend to be dark and negative, the band brings an element of fun to their performances rarely seen in the hardcore scene.  Most of the evening thus far had been brutal and angry, and even though the rage remained during Terror’s set I couldn’t help smiling as they performed.  They make anger fun.  They also took the audience participation to a whole new level.  The dozen or so of moshers during the early sets of the evening swelled to dozens as vocalist Scott Vogel continuously encourage more and more people to join in between every song.  Vogel also invited everyone on stage, whether to stage dive or to grab the mic and join in on the songs.  This wasn’t a Terror concert, this was a Terror-facilitated free for all, a chance for everyone to become part of the performance and be in a band for a night.  This is what I remember from house shows I attended back in the day, but on a larger scale.  And I loved every minute of it.

The tour continues through December 19.  Terror spends a lot of time on the road, so if you can’t catch them this time around I highly recommend seeing them next time they come to your town.  A Terror show is an event worth experiencing.




Category: Live Reviews

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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