Finally settling down to write a review of Chaos in Tejas this year, which was crazy, hot as hell, and amazing. So many great bands playing at least one or more shows in Austin, Texas. Thousands of punks, sweating, beer spraying everywhere (sigh), yummy food, swimming holes, running around downtown trying to see the bands you want to see, and navigating through all the drunk University of Texas students on the streets made up the weekend. With thousands of punks and two of the biggest anarchopunk bands EVER playing at the fest, some of us thought there might have been little more mischief, antics and actions with all the seemingly revolutionary potential. There was even a big radical queer event called Queerbomb that weekend that had no connection with Chaos! Step it up, Austin! Anyway, here is a day by day photo documentation of some of the bands we saw over the weekend…
THURSDAY, MAY 31TH–
For Mack, the fest started with a booty-bounce class taught by the queen diva herself, Big Freedia at a bar venue called Beerland with about 20-30 other punks. Followed by that was Crazy Spirit, Reality Crisis, No Statik, Katey Red, The Mob, then Big Freedia to finish off the night.
Reality Crisis (Japan) at Mohawk:
Reality Crisis at Mohawk, Chaos in Tejas 2012, photo by Mack
If you have always been intrigued by Japanese hardcore, but have found it inaccessible either sonically or in finding out about the bands, Chaos is a great place to get exposure to the sub-genre. There were 4 or 5 Japanese bands that played the fest, and I managed to catch three of them and was impressed by all of their sets. Apparently Reality Crisis played an afterparty the following night (which started at 2am) with Hoax, and they played AN HOUR AND A HALF-long set.
No Statik (Oakland) at Red 7 :
Both Frank and Mack agree that No Statik is one of the best – if not the best – hardcore band in North America right now. This was the first of 3 shows they played that weekend, and every time blew everyone away by their raging jams and intense amounts of energy and emotion. Try to find the part in one of the videos where Ruby (the singer) kicks the tough guy up front in the chest!
The Mob (UK) at Mohawk:
Out of all of the big “reunion bands” that played the fest (Antisect, Moss Icon, Tear It Up, and The Mob), I was most impressed with The Mob’s performance. Even for relatively stripped down music that is meant to be drawn out, their energy and their execution of the songs live kept my attention the entire time — even from old englishmen. I honestly felt bad that out of all my friends that are completely gaga over this band, I was the one seeing them. Right after this I went and shook my azz to BIG FREEDIA!
Big Freedia (NOLA) at Club DeVille:
[INSERT BIG FREEDIA PIC]
It was quite the spectacle seeing a bunch of punks shake their ass to New Orleans Bounce music. Yet not totally surprising, as Big Freedia played with Limp Wrist last July in L.A. She had a whole crew of professional ass-bouncers on the stage with her, and she looked fly as hell. Azz everywhere.
FRIDAY, JUNE 1st-
Friday there was a day show at Trailer Space Records with Negative Standards (crusty, doomy Oakland hardcore), Agents of Abhorrance (Australian grindcore), and Joyce Manor (SoCal pop-punk). It was an interesting combo and hot as hell, but a cool show.
Agents of Abhorrance (check out the drummer’s crazy face!)
Agents of Abhorrance at Trailer Space, Chaos in Tejas 2012, photo by Mack
After that show, the first band on the night shows we caught was MAUSER, raw d-beat hardcore from Gainesville, FL. During their set, me and some others noticed a guy in the pit with a bunch of Nazi tattoos all over his body. Right after the set some friends confronted him, trying to get his story, and although he wasn’t trying to start anything, he was trying to defend his tattoos and that shit just couldn’t be tolerated. A punk that worked there came up to us and said if we got into a fight we would all have to leave and we told him he was a Neo-nazi, and he went and told the manager. By then a bit of a mob began to form, shouting some anti-fascist rhetoric and telling him to get the fuck out, and he was escorted out of the venue by the staff shortly after. A nazi showing up to a Dropdead show is not a very common thing, and confronting one at a show was luckily something I had never had to do until now.
Shortly after that, I indulged myself in some straight edge mosh with No Tolerance who was playing next door at Club DeVille with BREAKDOWN and OMEGAS. No Tolerance is a fast, moshy straight edge band from Boston featuring the singer of Mind Eraser. Their set was ripping, but there was a little bit too much tough guy mosh to stick around to enjoy all of Omegas’ set, so I only caught a song or two of those jokers.
No Tolerance @ Club DeVille
[INSERT NO TOLERANCE VIDEO HERE]
After that, I went back to Mohawk to catch DROPDEAD. Their set was fast, energetic, and overtly-political at always. They really never disappoint. I will post a video of their day show the next day further down. After that, I hustled my ass half a mile or so to catch CHELSEA WOLFE, epic electronic goth rock from L.A. that was hypnotic, powerful, and it blew me away. Here is her video and a picture from her set:
SATURDAY, JUNE 2ND-
Saturday was by far the craziest, busiest day of the fest. There were FOUR different day shows, on top of the main shows happening at night. We caught the Prank Records Breakfast Show bright and early at 11AM (I hadn’t actually seen people drink alcohol that early before until that show). NEGATIVE STANDARDS from Oakland kicked off the day with a heavy, brutal, ripping set, complete with misanthropic sound clips and creepy images projected from old TV sets attached to their amps. Then Chris Bickel from the legendary emoviolence band IN/HUMANITY hosted some Karaoke while No Statik was setting up (Mack sang”Boys Don’t Cry” by The Cure!). Then NO STATIK played, and Ruby was climbing all over the tables at the venue throughout the set as moshing into everybody. For Noon on a Saturday, they absolutely killed it.
Negative Standards @ Cheer Up Charlie’s
[INSERT VIDEO HERE]
Someone kicking ass at karaoke while showin some skin.
No Statik @ Cheer Up Charlie’s
[INSERT NO STATIK VIDS/PICS HERE]
Almost immediately after that show ended, there was a 2PM show with local grindcore heroes HATRED SURGE, along with SCHIZOPHRENIA (Japan), BOSTON STRANGLER (Boston, duh), and DROPDEAD (RI). Every band absolutely ripped, but Frank and the No Statik/Oakland crew dipped out early to go swimming. Hatred Surge wasn’t quite as amazing as they would have been now that they no longer have their vocalist Faiza (who is now in MINDLESS, who unfortunately didn’t play the fest), and the crowd was fairly tame for them – except one dickhead who kept moshing super hard and punching people, at which point I used what Frank referred to as “the foot of justice”, and kicked him in the ribs – but I digress. Despite the minimal douchebagery, they still packed a very hate-filled, headbang-inducing set. Then Schizophrenia played, having great clothing style and awesome energy, and punks seemed to be super into it. Boston Strangler’s set was wild and stagedive-filled. And Dropdead was. . . well, was Dropdead! Check out the photos and videos from the show:
[INSERT VIDEOS AND PHOTOS OF HATRED SURGE, BOSTON STRANGLER AND DROPDEAD FROM THE RED 7 DAY SHOW]
The first band I caught of the night show was HOAX at Mohawk, opening up for WINTER and ANTISECT. They are perhaps the most hardcore band in the country right now, and they played an intense and mysterious set (as those Youth Attack bands are known for), with the singer making creepy wide-eyed looks at the crowd and hitting himself in the head with the mic – and having scabs on his forehead from shows in the past. Then caught MINDSET – a fast, catchy straight edge band with worthwhile things to say, and opened up their set with “Glue” by SSD! They were followed by CULO, a gnarly Oi!-influenced hardcore band who all seemed to be either drunk or on some type of weird drug, and getting through their set seemed to be a challenge for them. Regardless, kids went nuts during their set, and it was entertaining to say the least. I went back to the Mohawk to catch part of ANTISECT’s set, which was epic, then ended the night watching DOUBLE NEGATIVE and TEAR IT UP, which were both fast, energetic sets. We didn’t get any fucking photos or videos of any of these sets! What the fuck were we thinking? I guess we were just too busy enjoying ourselves to dwell on having material for the website. We suck, right?
SUNDAY, JUNE 3RD