Concert Review: The Bervin House's D.C. Punk Revival

by Abigail DeRoberts
Special to iVoryTowerz

Is D.C.'s dark hardcore revival finally here?

Sunday night (July 27) in a small, sweaty basement, D.C. DIY (do-it-yourself) hardcore showed a glimpse of promise for the future. After almost two years of decline, it seems that this could be the start of an exciting D.C. hardcore revival. Over the past two years, darker bands such as An Alarm, Mass Movement of the Moth, and Attrition have broken up and left the scene, which has thus been dominated by more pop/posi punk music* as of late.

Sunday's show was held at the Bervin House at 929 Farragut St., NW in Washington, D.C.

The Bervin House is a rare gem in D.C., as it has space to sustain a DIY ethic. The Bervin House continues to have punk shows, and support both traveling and local bands in an accessible location, even as the city's rents skyrocket.

The show was a mix of local and traveling bands, with three new D.C. hardcore bands and two hardcore bands from Chicago. The local bands, Starve, The Guilt, and Lost Again, are all breaking onto the scene and are still in their first stages. Eske (pronounced es-kay) and No Slogan (the group is also jokingly billed as Slow Nogan) are both more established bands in town from Chicago.

The Guilt started out the evening with high energy, stripping down traditional hardcore punk into a very raw sound. Drummer Joey Doubek, of D.C. sensation Mass Movement of the Moth, hits harder than is heard in most hardcore bands, which really helped the audience to feel the music. Lost Again, with members of An Alarm, Magrudergrind, and Time to Escape, continued the energy with a quick set of crusty, fast hardcore. Starve rounded out the D.C. section of the show with metallic punk and growling vocals. The two Chicago bands, Eske and No Slogan, certainly did not disappoint. Preserving the mood, Eske played straight up punk that everyone could enjoy, even throwing in a great dance breakdown in one of their last songs, and No Slogan's hardcore was good and fast.

In classic D.C. punk fashion, the show was DIY in a basement that was a little dingy and a little smelly, making for the perfect atmosphere. With three new bands that are all on the darker side of hardcore, this show has hopefully marked a transformation in the D.C. punk scene. Starve, The Guilt, and Lost Again are all filling a void in local punk music that has been there for years.

And while we're at it, what ever happened to Tradition Dies Here?

*Editor's Note: Posi punk is a genre term for bands that acquire a punk sound but not the punk political ethos. Some may actually consider such bands as post-punk. The term seems to have its genesis with referencing various British hardcore punk bands from the early 1980s that struck a lyrically positive tone, thus "posi" for a shorter reference.

(The promotional photo shows some of the members of No Slogan and is from the band's label Southkore Records.)

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