Fun Fun Fun Fest With Forward, Long Knife, World to Burn, Power Trip and Wiccans The North Door, Austin Saturday, November 8, 2014
On Saturday night's edition of the Fun Fun Fun Fest Nites shows, two of Texas' best hardcore acts took the stage. Wiccans of Denton and Power Trip of Dallas played at the North Door to do a little experimentation as they opened for a host of metal and hardcore acts topped off by Japanese legends Forward. Shortly after the fest let out, Wiccans hit the stage at around 10 o'clock to play their brand of rock-'n'-roll-influenced hardcore punk. The band took the show as an opportunity to play four new songs off a new album that they will be recording soon. As a result, the show became a bit of a showcase for guitarist Shea Michael Brooks who helped to write the new songs.
Brooks only joined Wiccans last year and the new album will be his first instance of writing with the band. The crowd loved Wiccans. There were a variety of reactions ranging from circle pits to slam dancing and even a few stage dives. Wiccans have been the darlings of Austin for years, featuring at SXSW, Chaos in Tejas and larger hardcore punk shows that come through.
Guitarist Payton Green and Brooks along with drummer Greg Rutherford and bass player Harpal Assi laid down their parade of adventurous string work, complete with solos and arduous patterns. Vocalist Adam Cahoon, meanwhile, took a turn and transforming into a USHC frontman circa 1982, an act that he's honed into a truly memorable stage persona.
To close out the set, Wiccans played "Telepathy" off their second album, Field II. The song has become a fan favorite for its heavy bass and anxious guitar work.
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After Wiccans finished, Power Trip took the stage. Their 2013 debut album, Manifest Decimation, was praised by fans and critics alike for its ambitious scope. On that album, Power Trip begin their relationship with reverb, analog recording and a far deeper relationship with metal. At the heart of the album is Pennsylvania producer and musician, Arthur Rizk. For their Nites show, Power Trip enlisted Rizk to play guitar with them, along with Blake Ibanez and Nick Stewart, making the count three guitarists for the set.
The result was a bit mixed. Despite having some technical difficulties in the early going (guitar strings kept breaking), the band was able to perform as a six-piece. The hardcore punk crowd in Austin has been criticized as being a little stationary during shows, but for Power Trip the city has always seemed to make an exception. The rhythm section of bass player Chris Whetzel and drummer Chris Ulsh held it down for the band highlighting on the songs "Manifest Decimation" and "Crossbreaker." There were more stage dives, heavy moshing and circle pits for the entire set.
The band even offered up a rare in the form "Murderer's Row," a track off Manifest Decimation that isn't normally played live. Vocalist Riley Gale revealed a bit of trivia before the song: Rizk had written the solo on the song, and so with him sitting in they were including it tonight so he could play it. What's even rarer was the band played almost all of Manifest Decimation in its entirety (sans the song "Power Trip"). If you're a fan of the band who has complained about not hearing certain Manifest Decimation songs live, this was the night for you.
The show as a whole was a chance for North Texas hardcore to stand with the best of them. The show also featured Austin hardcore legends World Burns To Death, Portland hardcore starlets Long Knife, and Forward. For Wiccans and Power Trip to play with them is a testament to the quality of the North Texas scene today. To play an FFF Nites show is a badge; it means you have earned a place among a field of great acts. If last night was any indication of things to come, Wiccans and Power Trip have more ambition to do things bigger, faster and better in the future.