New York hardcore came through Chicago.
Date: Saturday, July 15, 2023
Place: Subterranean (2011 W North Ave, Chicago, IL 60647)
Ticket Price: $20 ($24.66 after fees)
This was an all-ages show with five hardcore bands. It was a matinee show too. I guess the show sold out. I had bought my tickets a bit earlier than usual because I figured Mindforce would sell it out. The show’s poster said, “New York invades Chicago.”
This was my first time using a “real” professional camera at a show like this. I had no idea what I was doing but think I got some good photos. I haven’t been to Subterranean in a long time, since before the pandemic started. The last show I saw here was Windhand in November 2018 (a great band by the way, go check them out.) Subterranean features a more intimate setting so it’s perfect for hardcore shows.
I’ve wanted to see Mindforce for a long time now. Their latest album New Lords came out last September on Triple B Records. The album is a follow-up to 2018’s Excalibur. New Lords is one of my favorite releases from last year. Mindforce formed in 2016 and are one of the best hardcore bands going right now.
- Mindforce-New Lords on Bandcamp
- Mindorce-Excalibur on Bandcamp
Age of Apocalypse are also from New York and formed in 2018. They were on this smaller tour with Mindforce. They have a more metal touch to their songs. The singer Dylan Kaplowitz is really good too. The band’s first full-length album called Grim Wisdom released in January 2022 on Closed Casket Activities. I hadn’t heard of them before so it was a new band to check out live.
Enervate are a newer hardcore band from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. It looks like they only formed a few years ago. Their first demo released in April 2020. I really liked the songs I heard from their first Spring Demo and EPs. They put out their latest EP on Rest Assured Records called All Said And Done in March. Enervate are another new band I discovered because of this show.
Matter of Fact are a hardcore band from Chicago. Apparently they just did their very first show on May 28 in Franklin, Wisconsin. The band has a six-song demo out from this May.
Subject 2 Change are from Chicago but I had no idea who these guys were. I couldn’t find them online before the show so I wasn’t sure what to expect from them.
The doors for this show opened at 2 p.m. This show was in the bigger, upstairs part of Subterranean. I don’t think I saw any kids at the show, even thought it was all-ages. It was mostly people probably 18 to in their early 20s. About half the crowd were wearing baseball hats so I knew I was at a hardcore show. The thing with these hardcore gigs is that most of the band’s don’t have a lot of music so the opening acts end up playing for like eight minutes. It takes longer for them to set up their gear than to actually play their songs.
Subject 2 Change opened the show at around 2:59pm and were a decent warm up. They played only four songs and ended after like 10 minutes. A few people were already kicking and jumping into people standing around the stage to the songs. It doesn’t take much to get people dancing at a hardcore show.
Matter of Fact had good energy. They started playing at 3:24. They also finished their set pretty quickly. They did around five songs in close to 15 minutes. The band kind of reminded me of a youth crew sound. They sounded good but didn’t do anything next level. The singer was kind of animated on stage, dancing and jumping around. That actually adds to their songs and brings good energy out of the crowd. Their songs had some good break down parts too. Several people in the crowd danced during the band’s songs.
A few people even sang on the mic with the lyrics, so they somehow knew these songs even though the band is relatively new. I actually thought that was hilarious in a way. I was like how how do people even know all the words to this band already? Matter of Fact have potential with what they played given how new the band is. I did like them.
It got pretty packed in the room by the time Matter of Fact finished. It definitely was a sold out show. It was also super hot at this point and the show didn’t even really start up yet.
Enervate seriously killed it. The crowd popped off for them immediately when the band opened with “Don’t Need You.” There’s five guys in the band. People can stand right up front to the the band at Subterranean so a ton of people were jumping off and stage diving. That’s what I really love about hardcore shows is that there’s no separation between the artists and the audience. Everyone is just thrown together into some chaos. The front of the stage was filled with people dancing and going wild. There’s not a lot of room for people in Subterranean so it get really crowded, especially when the pit got going.
People were going nuts the whole set. It was a pretty violent pit too. I saw this one dude get straight punched/elbowed in the face. People were jumping up and down so much that you could feel the shaking throughout the room.
The band’s singer Lan Milhomme is fantastic in that role. He started the set by telling everyone, “it’s a party, get off your fucking feet.” The band’s energy had this violent element to it along with some killer breakdowns. They ended their set at 4:07. Enervate were awesome live. They definitely could get big in a few years.
After they finished I was thinking what the hell Mindforce were going to be like if the crowd went this hard for Enervate.
I really liked Age of Apocalypse. They played for 18 minutes, starting their set at 4:24. Kaplowitz is a really good singer live. He’s got a unique voice that his good range to it. Age of Apocalypse is more of a mixture of hardcore and metal rather than just an all hardcore sound like the rest of the bands on this show. Their songs were longer too. I liked the band’s sound live. I think the crowd were still winding down from Enervate. People were more chill and laid back. They did eventually get people moshing and doing the windmill arm swinging thing.
Age of Apocalypse are really talented. They were pretty heavy. I want to catch them live again.
Mindforce were so awesome. They were definitely worth the wait to see. They started around 4:57 and played close to 30 minutes. The band’s singer Jay Peta sounds a lot younger on the songs than he looks in person. I think he’s older but I thought he was a guy like in his 20s. I had never seen what he looked like before. The band opened with “New Lords,” the title track from the new album. There were tons of people on stage singing along with Jay on the song. It was a really great, high energy way to open the show.
Jay definitely had that New York City vibe to him. He said this was his first time in Chicago and that he’s been hearing a lot about our city for years. I was kind of surprised this was the band’s first show in Chicago. I figured they would have already been here at some point. He kept saying where’s my kickboxers at during the show. There were definitely a ton in the crowd. He also said Chicago is the farthest place from New York that’s kind of like New York, and he felt kind of at home being here.
The band sounded tight together. The guitars ripped and the riffs were heavy. Mindforce played a lot of songs from New Lords but also from their last album Excalibur. The new songs sounded really awesome live. The crowd went really hard the whole set. There was a lot of audience participation, stage diving dancing and moshing going on. There was great energy in the room. Mindforce ended around 5:25.
I tried to get some merch after the show on the second floor but the lines were way too long. It was also super hot in the room so I just ended up leaving. It was a fun afternoon show though. Mindforce killed.