As you might’ve seen or heard, there was a fire in an Oakland DIY space known as the Oakland Ghost Ship. If you want more information on the case, you can click here to read about it. During a show, which was specifically an electronic dance music (EDM) show, a fire broke out, costing 36 lives (as of the time I am writing this) and 2 non-fatal injuries. This is a tragedy no matter what way you look at it, but especially because it could have been prevented easily if the venue had sprinklers and other safety procedures installed. When it comes down to it, though, this really can happen anywhere, and it should be a warning to those in their local music scenes. DIY shows are usually fun and dandy, but the spaces can be very unsafe. We need to make sure our local venues are properly equipped with safety procedures so we can have fun and keep these problems to a minimum.
This post isn’t going to be a rant on safety concerns. As I went to check on a website I commonly use, CLRVYNT, I saw an article that truly left an awful taste in my mouth. A man by the name of Joe McKay wrote on a post about the Ghost Ship fire that, and I quote, “A bunch of underage ‘raver’ aka EDM people dying is a blessing in disguise…”
You can read the rest of the comment, alongside his “apology," by clicking here, but I am not going to let this slide for a few reasons. For starters, Joe McKay is the man behind This is Hardcore, a festival that happens annually at Philadelphia that has featured some of the biggest names in hardcore music, like Killswitch Engage, Lifetime, Defeater, etc. So this isn’t just some random hardcore kid commenting his bullshit on someone’s status. This is a man who is a prominent figure and voice in the hardcore community, and therefore, needs to really be called out for his shit.
I have made comments in the past about my feelings towards the hardcore scene. If you want to read my first post about the idea of respect in the scene, click here. The basic idea, however, is that the hardcore scene has its group of disgusting people who appropriate violent behaviors. Some of these behaviors include rape, misogyny, bigotry, and physical violence. When Mr. McKay writes his comments, his voice is louder than others in the hardcore scene advocating for violent behaviors. To call the deaths of 36 innocent people, alongside the injuries of 2, a “blessing in disguise” is one of the most disgusting and inhumane remarks I have ever heard in my life. How fucking dare you wish anyone death, let alone people that are doing the same exact things we are, but in a different music scene? You’re seriously going to fucking wish death upon someone just because they’d rather listen to Daft Punk over The Carrier? There is literally no justice in what you said, no matter what kind of bullshit apology you gave. You fucking wished death upon innocent people for being different than you, which other than disregarding the original concept of punk music, makes you an insufferable cunt who deserves no empathy.
At the end of his apology, Mr. McKay writes, “I'll bow my head and drop to my knees and apologize to my real friends, but I owe nothing to those who will use this against me, or those who will walk away out of fear of disassociation.” Honestly, anyone that excuses this sort of behavior is part of the problem that is currently happening in the hardcore scene. You’re all responsible for the violent behaviors of the people in your scene if you excuse actions like this or any of the other actions I mentioned. Hardcore music is my favorite genre of music, but the scene is royally fucked if we don’t disassociate the Joe McKay types within the scene.