On a wilting Saturday night in the dead of summer, a smattering of punks poured across the back lawn and into the side yard of a seemingly prosaic house whose basement plays host to many of Richmond’s raunchiest D.I.Y. gigs.
This evening was organized in conjunction with Great Dismal, a collective of artists and organizers curating events around the city for the past couple of years. On the bill, local crossover thrash crew Cremains opened for Canadian queercore outfit Cloaca and hometown screamo favorites, Ostraca. The latter recently returned from an extensive European tour and an east coast run with Texan emoviolence band Fleshborn, originally slated to play that night but unfortunately sidelined by a punctured gas-tank en route to the show.
Cremains kicked the music off with their pulse-pounding, neo-thrash assault infused with an immediately endearing enthusiasm and energy. Their songs come at you fast, only slowing long enough to shift into a higher gear, with subject matter ranging from the horror film The Re-animator to colorfully-worded criticisms of the US government. Fans of Municipal Waste and Toxic Holocaust would appreciate their whimsical and hammering attack (stick around for the Poison Idea cover).
Vancouver punx Cloaca took to the basement next and got the room moving with their confrontational brand of searing hardcore, pairing the aggression of Discharge with Flipper’s lurching groan and sardonic tone. The four-piece is propelled by the raw stage presence of vocalist Eris, who bares it all for the audience (very literally), swaying and swinging from the ceiling, joining the fray in the mosh pit mid-song and picking back up on the mic without a breath lost. Blue banter between songs centered on the heat, Canadian culture and “being gay.” Their set was brief in the way that leaves you wanting more, and that’s always a good place to be left off.
Ostraca closed the night out, shrouding the room in smoke-machine fog lit by a single red bulb, fitting the band’s austere tone balanced by their vocalist/bassist Gus Caldwell’s tongue-in-cheek glibness. Once the fog had properly permeated the crowd, the room was plunged into a tempest of shrieking emoviolence. Their set was mostly sourced from their most recent album last, released in May. The monolithic bass-tone is carved and etched by angular guitar riffs that swing from dissonance to delicate beauty within moments of one another, driven forward by the power and precision of drummer John Crogan.
Proceeds from the show were given to Cloaca for their continuing tour, with a portion donated to Fleshborn for auto repairs. Stay tuned to Great Dismal online for news on future shows. Or you can always Ask A Punk.
Check out photos by Jake Mayday below: