With the number of times I can call a band “legendary,” one might think that the hardcore scene is nothing but legends. But here again, is the monicker accurate for the Buffalo hardcore stalwarts Snapcase. Gather together a large group of the bands who have influenced the most recent crop–your Converges, your Modern Life is Wars, your Have Hearts–and ask them the bands that influenced them. Nine times out of ten, Snapcase would be name dropped. The Victory band’s Lookingglassself and Progression Through Unlearning are seminal hardcore touchstones–eternal classics that cemented their legacy in the hardcore hall of legends. This was hardcore approached in a new way–angular, intelligent but lacking none of the brutality of their peers. This was a new way of doing things that created a sea change in the scene at the time and spread their influence beyond the confines of the genre.

To be honest, I never thought I would get to see them, so long ago did their split take place. But the band, to my infinite pleasure, recently reunited for a short stint of dates. Their only West Coast show landed them at the observatory, supported by none other than the incredible Modern Life is War, Gouge Away in their ascendant, and local openers Bertholdt City and Precious. Needless to say, it was a STACKED bill.

While no band on the list seemingly owes as much sonically to Snapcase as Precious, I unfortunately missed the former Threadbare members’ set due to the long drive, but if their albums are anything to go by, I cannot wait to catch them on their next local show. Berthold City acquitted themselves beautifully–eminently thankful to Snapcase for allowing them to open up and getting the crowd stirring with straightforward throwback straight edge hardcore that could have come from the very beginning of the Youth Crew movement.

Next up was Gouge Away, a band that I have been somehow missing every time they have come to LA. I’ll show up at the show and find I have just missed them by a matter of minutes. With how much I have enjoyed their output and their ascendancy to the hardcore upper echelons, particularly with their 2018 release Burnt Sugar, my expectations were high. Despite literally driving across the entire country for this show in a matter of days, the band didn’t disappoint. While I’m not sure they have a great closer for their sets just yet, every other aspect of their performance was dialed in and absolutely electric.

Modern Life is War are always a pleasure to shoot. It’s been awhile since their Witness 10 Year anniversary shows, but the band is just as powerful as ever. Their are an absolute wrecking ball of a live band–the kind of band that makes you want to pick up instruments and try to do them and their legacy some kind of justice. By the time they get to “DEAD RAMONES” you’re ready to tear through your shirt and join the screaming throngs and moshing hordes.

Finally it was time for the headliners, and I’m not sure anyone knew what it was going to be like. People shifted in anticipation. Was this going to be just another money grab from some burnt out old band? The lights came on and Snapcase were unleashed. I still think the audience was taken aback, not expecting the sheer energy and power ono display. It was as if the band hadn’t been gone for any time at all. While selects from Lookingglassself and Progression Through Unlearning got the biggest responses, their set ended up being a lively one. The crowd went nuts for Taken’s (and 100 Words or Less’) Ray Harkins’ guest vocal set on the penultimate song.