If you're gonna call a tour the World War Tour, you better earn it, and Show Me The Body, Jesus Piece, Scowl, Zulu, and Tripp Jones absolutely did. The USA leg of the tour wrapped up in Show Me The Body's hometown at Brooklyn Steel last night (3/24). It was one of the biggest venues of the tour (if not the biggest), and it was very sold out--Brooklyn Steel was as packed as I've ever seen it, both on the floor and on the balcony, and the place was a madhouse for every band.
Tripp Jones, a rapper/singer who's part of SMTB's Corpus collective, kicked things off at 8 PM, backed by DJ Bearcat. He opened the show lifting weights while rapping, and proceeded to deliver an energetic set that mixed it up between aggressive rap songs and melodic goth songs, and he brought out LustSickPuppy for a song too. It was a great note for the show to start out on, and it only got way crazier from there.
Zulu hit the stage next, and the LA band immediately whipped the crowd into a frenzy with the intro of their new album A New Tomorrow. The band was wreaking havoc on stage, the pit was gigantic and furious, and Zulu had only been on stage for a minute or two. Then technical difficulties threatened to kill the momentum, but Zulu stayed in great spirits, and once everything got working again, they picked up right where they left off. The show had a barrier, but Anaiah Lei encouraged the crowd to jump over it and get up on stage, and that started a constant barrage of stage divers that continued for every band of the night. It was endless fury, the band was so tight, and they brought out tons of guest vocalists throughout their 20-minute set, including Jesus Piece's Aaron Heard and--in what was an amazing surprise--Soul Glo's Pierce Jordan for his guest verse on A New Tomorrow highlight "Where I'm From." They also broke up the madness by playing a SZA song over the PA mid-set (as they do a lot), and they expressed on stage how grateful they were to be part of this amazing tour package and how bittersweet it was that the tour was ending last night--a sentiment that all the other bands shared as well.
After Zulu, their Flatspot labelmates Scowl kept things just as insane, both on and off stage. It was my first time seeing Scowl since they released the more melodic singles off their upcoming Psychic Dance Routine EP--"Opening Night" and "Shot Down"--and the melodic songs work perfectly with the more aggressive How Flowers Grow material live. Kat Moss' singing voice is as powerful as her piercing screams, and as always, her stage presence and crowd-work is next level.
One of the many great things about this tour is that it has three very different types of hardcore bands. Zulu have the powerviolence and the groove-based songs, Scowl lean on the punk side of hardcore, and Jesus Piece offer up bone-crushing, breakdown-infused metalcore. They put on the night's most purely heavy set, with a mix of established fan faves and singles from their upcoming LP ...So Unknown, and it was just nonstop intensity. Aaron has amazing stage presence, the band shreds, and the crowd gave back all the energy that Jesus Piece was putting out there. Aaron took a moment to specifically shout out his Zulu fandom on stage, and multiple Zulu members joined JP on stage for a song. It would've been one of the most amazing moments of the night regardless, but a 10/10 moment shot up to an 11 when flames shot up from a firebreather on stage and in the crowd. Given that the show was in a real venue and not, say, a Sonic drive-thru, the venue turned on the bright lights and cut the PA, and after Jesus Piece finished out their last song with just their on-stage amplification, the venue's general manager told the crowd he'd be forced to shut down the show if flames went up again. It was a moment I don't think anyone in attendance is gonna forget.
After all that, the headlining act finally took the stage. Show Me The Body opened up with almost no lights on, with the brooding, atmospheric "Out of Place." It was the calm before the storm, as SMTB quickly switched gears and went into a set that matched the energy of all the openers, complete with stage divers, huge mosh pits, guest vocalists from other bands, and the most amount of people singing along to every word of any band all night. With a banjo player instead of a guitarist, and a sound that's impossible to pigeonhole into any specific genre, Show Me The Body are one of those bands who fit in within multiple different musical environments, and a hardcore show is a perfect place to see them. They're not exactly a hardcore band themselves, but the influence and the spirit of hardcore is clearly there, and they were loud, tight, and reckless all night. They're a completely unique band, and that comes across live even more than it does on their great albums.