5.25.12: Anti-Sect x Toxic Holocaust x Midnight

I moved out of Los Angeles recently to a town that lacks any kind of culture other than middle class culture. Basically, all lawns are groomed, and everyone has those decals on their car that depicts how many people there are in their family. *shudder* There’s no real music scene to speak of, and it’s quiet basically all hours of the day. I enjoy the serenity that surrounds me, but I really miss melting pot of cultures my former stomping ground provided. So a couple weeks ago I was really happy to make the 45+ minute drive to see Anti-Sect, Toxic Holocaust, and Midnight play at The Black Castle in Inglewood, CA. The hood, y’all.

“Yay, Crust punks!” I thought as I drove past the line forming outside the venue. I was so happy to see some “colorful” people as opposed to the milquetoast peeps that I now live amongst. The happiness I was experiencing quickly fading as I remembered that these Luddites are usually just smelly train hoppers. But the nerd in me smiled from ear to ear thinking about the value of true word-of-mouth marketing as I made my way inside the darkest, dirtiest venue I’ve ever seen. Two things were evident once I entered The Black Castle: It was going to be hot, and it was going to be smelly. However, the thought of sweating with crusties sporting Crass and Aus-Rotten patches on their pants didn’t quite bother me because I was pretty excited about what was to come.

The four openers were almost as unbearable as the heat that was brought upon by the other 499 people inside. There was no ventilation, and ins-and-outs were forbidden due to past incidents involving the police and various miscreants.  So after sweating out the equivalent of a couple basketball games, Midnight took the stage to a crowd ready to do some… venting, if you will.

Last time I saw Midnight, I didn’t get involved in the moshing. This time, I decided to flirt with Lindsay Lohan-like dehydration as I bounced off of, and into people for damn near the entirety of Midnight’s set. If you ask me, Midnight definitely stole the show. They’re easily one of the most entertaining bands around due to the shockingly fun and blasphemous nature of their music and appearance — ominous hoods, leather jackets, and tunes about loose women, and the devil — which is a sight to behold. Midnight wasted no time, zooming through a 30 minutes or less set, playing various cuts from old compilations, (“Black Rock n’ Roll,” and “All Hail Hell”) to newer material like, “You Can’t Stop Steel,” and “Violence on Violence” all while we sang along, stage dived, and embraced strangers in acknowledgement of how special this moment was. By the time Midnight closed their set with “Unholy and Rotten” I was practically drenched in sweat, and breathing heavily, but still mustered up the energy to elbow kids, and try to rip the strings off of Athenar’s bass. The patches I had bought earlier, and stuffed in my pockets, were now soggy, along with my money, and underwear. Thanks, Midnight!

Toxic Holocaust made their way to the stage as we were all still collectively trying to catch our breath. The heat generated by all the commotion, and lack of water being sold inside made for a slow start to Toxic Holocaust’s set. But it only took a few songs before the pit opened up somethin’ serious, and people were once again acting like neanderthals. Myself included. I credit Toxic Holocaust for being at the forefront of the re-thrash movement that is so beloved (in Los Angeles expecially). It’s as if their music was the first bit of exposure to new thrash bands for a lot of younger people, and I felt that was made evident by the abundance of their merch being worn, and the response they received from the crowd with each song they played. The fine members of society that were in attendance let the band members hear it when the first notes of set staples “In the Name of Science,” and “Nuke the Cross” were churned out, but also voiced their approval at new cuts like “Agony of the Damned,” “Nowhere to Run,” and new set closer “Bitch.” Stage dives, and sadistic, high-speed circle pits while Joel and co. stalked the stage were constant during what would have originally been the night’s last set, but Anti-Sect were in the back gearing up for what was to be their first gig as part of a tour in 20+ years.

I’d be lying if I said I knew anything about Anti-Sect. I didn’t even know who they were up until a few days prior to the show. Thankfully, their savagery caught my attention as I was gearing up to leave. I never knew crust could sound so massive, and so jarringly heavy. Part of the reason why I stayed was because the band came out, and went straight to playing without saying a word, or preaching whatever anti-establishment sermon they believed in. I got the sense that they felt like everyone who stuck around to watch them already knew what was about to happen. Also, when you’re old and gray (like they are) you usually calm way the fuck down, and prepare for death or whatever. I didn’t stick around for the whole set because it all started to sound the same to me after an hour of distorted guitars, and being splashed with other people’s sweat every few minutes was getting old. Plus, I didn’t know the towing laws in this particular part of the ghetto.

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