I found out about Ostraca literally three days before this concert, and only because I saw the event page for this show and got curious. The event page read “An evening of skramz at The Silent Barn!”, and I hadn’t been to a show in a few weeks, so I decided to check out the bands. Within those three days, Ostraca became one of my favorite current bands. Their latest LP, Last, came out back in May, and if you’re a fan of screamo and emotional hardcore like pg.99, Jeromes Dream, and Orchid, then there is no reason you shouldn’t listen to this LP. It is roughly 30 minutes of the most intense emotion you could possibly imagine, and has quickly become one of my favorite LPs of this year. You can listen to it for yourself here to understand what I mean. I was going to write a review for it, but being that it has been out for a while now and also for the fact that I was going to this show, I decided that it was time for another concert review. After all, this was a pretty stacked lineup. On tour with Ostraca is Texas’ own Flesh Born. The two released a split back in February which can be listened to and purchased here. Flesh Born takes a much more chaotic hardcore approach, packing tons of raw emotion into the mix like Converge and Botch, and just as kickass.
People’s Temple Project started the night off. I wish I had more to say about them, but I really don’t. They pretty much played color-by-numbers screamo music. The passion and energy expected of screamo and emotional hardcore wasn't quite there with this group. Their music doesn't sound as intense as it should’ve, and band kind of just stood there. It didn’t help that later that night, one of the members (I can’t recall if it was specified who) defended an outed abuser whose actions have severely affected the tri-state DIY community. Stuff like this really needs to be brought to light at these shows so they can be as safe for everyone as possible, and I am very happy that someone did come up to the microphone and say something when they felt there was a danger to this safety. As Gus from Ostraca said later that night, “Safety is more important than emo.”
Up next was Massa Nera, who came from New Jersey to play this show right after one of their members got tattooed. Their music was relatively solid screamo, but what really made their performance was the passion and energy they demonstrated, especially after the previous band. They didn’t do anything insane, but it was obvious that these guys love what they are doing, and it really made their performance incredibly enjoyable. Being that I had already been up for something like 14 hours and came to the show after a long day at work, this was when I started waking up. I could feel that the night was about to get pretty wild.
Soul Glo was up next. I’ve seen their name pop up a few times, especially at bills that were either at New York’s own ABC No Rio or affiliated with the people behind ABC No Rio. This Philadelphia band is very much loved in the community, and after seeing them, there’s no difficulty in understanding why. They were sort of the odd ones out being more of a hardcore band with some experimental elements than a screamo band, but they were still incredibly fun live. They instantly put me in a good mood, and I found I couldn't stop smiling. My only complaint was the brevity of their set. Maybe I was just having too good time to notice how quickly it flew by, but I felt like they could’ve easily played for an extra ten minutes and I would’ve been more than fine with it.
Up next was Flesh Born, whose energy on their studio recordings translates perfectly live. These guys are a relentlessly heavy, angry wave, and surely the heaviest band of the night, which the audience responded to in kind. While only two people were “moshing” during their set, the room was headbanging to each and every breakdown. It was similar to the mood of The Body and Full of Hell’s collaborative set in September of last year. I have a newfound interest in Flesh Born, and I am really stoked to see these guys come back to melt faces in the future.
At roughly 10:30, Ostraca came out to finish the night. The band showcases intense, raw passion on their studio recordings, but seeing them live… holy shit. Everything about these guys is just astonishing in its passion. There wasn’t a moment while they were performing music that wasn’t absolutely intense. Everyone in the room was reacting just as they were supposed to: moshing around the room and going absolutely crazy. Every time I thought that they couldn’t top their own intensity, they went ahead and did it. Their closing song had the band screaming at the top of their lungs , pulling some serious Jeromes Dream shit. I already thought of Ostraca as one of the best in modern music, but their performance at this show just solidified that fact. These guys are arguably the best thing modern screamo has to offer.
Overall, with the exception of one band, this was one of the best local lineups I have seen in a long time. Great music performed by great bands in a room that knew how to party while also respecting others’ boundaries. This is what DIY hardcore is about, and this is why I love the community as much as I do.
Prisms is where Brian, Alex, and Dakota give their unique, unfiltered perspectives on shows they attend together.