I’m sure there is someone, somewhere who can explain why we were waiting in line for half an hour on Tuesday night outside the Echoplex, wondering why nobody was being allowed inside, with even the members of Trash Talk themselves trying to talk to management. There were some whispers of the show being cancelled altogether when we arrived, but whatever was going on, it led to a fairly tense atmosphere outside the venue. You want to know how to get an angry hardcore crowd riled before a show? Make them wait outside in the cold for a while.
Once we did get inside, it was mere minutes before Trash Talk took to the stage and kicked off a half hour set of pure vitriol. Within seconds of the opening riff, a circle pit opened in the main square in front of the stage, Lee Spielman launched himself into the crowd for the first of what proved to be many occasions (seriously, he hardly seemed to spend any time on stage during the show), and the first of what felt like dozens of somersaulting stage divers appeared miraculously from nowhere and launched himself into the air, risking life and limb for the sake of visceral entertainment.
My trusty photographer (and wife) Laura managed to get a boot to the nose for her troubles, but deserves a shout out for being bad ass enough to stay professional and carry on shooting. The thirty minutes flew by in a mess of blood, sweat, and no doubt the odd tear in the crowd. At various points in the set we had simulated snow, an introduction for a friend of Lee’s from the UK, and I swear Tyler The Creator appeared to crowdsurf for all of five seconds before disappearing. When a set is this chaotic, it becomes more difficult to trust the memory.
What about the music? Well, Trash Talk gained some attention for being the first non-hip-hop act to sign with Odd Future Records. The Sacramento band might seem like an unusual fit for the LA crew, but in reality they have a lot in common, first and foremost being an obvious disdain for authority. Spielman took time out of screaming into his microphone to berate security in the venue for being overly zealous, but honestly I do not envy security at a show like this. Trash Talk’s brand of hardcore is the pure anger brand, played with little subtlety and designed entirely for venting fury. Technically speaking, they actually sounded a little sloppy, but accuracy is not high on their list of priorities.
The band members know their job and stick to it with vigor. As a rabble rouser they have few peers, and they certainly went over well with the “rambunctious hooligans,” as Spielman described their audience with no shortage of affection. It may have been the most intense moshpit I’ve seen, one I actually considered joining until I remembered my level of respect for my own personal safety. Kudos to the kids who stuck it out though. The crowd, like the band, gave it everything they had.
And then just as abruptly as it started, it was over. Mellowhype followed on the stage as headliners, but we decided to check out. How do you follow up watching a band like Trash Talk? The answer is that you don’t. You go home, tend to your bruises, take a shower, and gear up for the next release of pent-up energy. As a final show for 2012, it was certainly fitting. This was hardcore as it should be: loud, brutal, and ever so slightly dangerous. The prospect of it tipping into a full-scale riot is, after all, part of the fun.
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