[Written by Aaron Lim]
Last Saturday, the mighty Wolf x Down brought their brand of anti-fascist, straight-edge vegan hardcore all the way from Germany to the land of the twin towers and the missing plane, as part of their Stray from the Path South East Asia tour, starting from Tokyo all the way to Singapore. The band, fronted by vocalist Larissa representing hardcore’s girl power, made a stop at the emerging hardcore scene in Kuala Lumpur. Performing with lupine savagery, WxD got fists whipping around and bodies bleeding with their ardent political stand and absolutely ferocious music.
Hardcore kids have their disposition to keep things underground, so I won’t name the location, but as soon as I arrived in the late afternoon, the local acts were getting the already large crowd moving and slowly building the momentum to its feverish tipping point.
With such a massive band coming down and playing along like heavyweight local acts, the mosh pits, a staple of hardcore shows, become severely violent. This guy got knocked out with a kick to the face and as soon as he hit the ground, the kids around him stopped, picked him up, and solemnly carried him away. A demonstration of the contradictory force that drives and sustains the scene. How people so violent could have so much camaraderie.
The reason for the larger-than-normal turnout is the arrival of a foreign band, something the kids don’t see as often as the just-as-good local acts. Foreign bands might also carry an air of transoceanic authenticity, because after all, hardcore, along with most of the music we listen to today, is imported in the age of Pax Americana and the whispers of British colonialism.
Shows like these also become a good place to show off your latest kicks, from Nike trainers to worn out Vans. Kids wearing the latest local streetwear and the rarest band tees all come to style on each other. See, hardcore is not just music, but a macrocosm where skaters, drug-free youths, pot heads, activists and hipsters all gravitate around. Don’t mistake hardcore as an all-male testosterone circle jerk- Larissa noted that as compared to their other shows, there was a notable presence of females in the crowd. “Don’t be afraid to mosh, stage dive. You are just as strong as the boys.”
Seemingly unfazed by their gruelling tour schedule, WxD played with an inhumane intensity, from the fast paced stage dive friendly drumming to the low menacing riffs that get the kids kicking and punching. The amount of perspiration turned the air into a steamy, half-water haze- just imagine three hundred howling kids packed into a mini-hall. Larissa and Co. played our favourite mosh friendly tracks from their EP Renegades (2012) and their album Stray from the Path (2013). Just as the energy in the hall threatened to turn into a full scale riot, they ended their set with Loss under the insistence of the kids chanting ‘WE WANT MORE’, then packing up as they set off to play their final show of the tour in Singapore.
We go to shows like this because it’s the ultimate outlet of societal pressure. We find strength in our numbers, seeing the hype for the show, meeting all our friends in the crowd and the infectious adrenaline. Shows like these are the ultimate negation of the individual. You lose yourself in the music and in the pit to become a united mass of the under appreciated and undiscovered subgenre that we love. Where everyone is your friend and your enemy. For a whole 5 hours it is okay to be juvenile, it is okay to punch that guy, it is okay to throw yourself into a screaming chaos of tangled bodies all in the name of good wholesome fun and music that just makes you want to throwdown. I see hardcore as the embodiment of the teenage spirit; reckless, political, violent and uncontrollable.
Long Live Hardcore. Wolf Down!