As I stormed through the door of the Beat Kitchen to avoid the pouring rain outside I was greeted by a stern looking bouncer with a long blue beard. He eyed me puzzledly, as my boyish good looks clearly betray my legal drinking age. He sighed and asked me to have a good time, clearly relieved he wasn’t letting a 15-year-old into the bar. The lighting was dim throughout the venue, with a warm red glow produced by strings of Christmas lights above the bar. I was handed a menu made out of old record sleeves. The spicy catfish sandwich I got was fantastic, and as I finished, the soundcheck in the other main room got louder and louder.
This band turned out to be Eidola (@eidola), an experimental post-hardcore band from Salt Lake City, Utah. The band’s music replaces the cartoony aesthetic of their post-hardcore labelmate band, Dance Gavin Dance, with a more spiritual, crystalline aesthetic. The composition of their songs shines with polish and technical proficiency. Their tightly packed, frantically paced song structure lends the band a sparkling, futuristic sound.
The vocals, performed by Andrew Michael Wells, show an impressive range that is able to hit shrieking highs as well as full-bodied lows, and display a type of confidence that is charming without being overpowering. The crowd was incredibly energetic, and a pit opened up almost immediately. The friendliness of the people in the crowd was equally juxtaposed by their intensity in the pit, with people throwing each other in the air and knocking each other over only to immediately extend a hand to pick them up. There was none of that tryhard hardcore dancing or crowdkilling nonsense, just a mosh pit in its purest form.
Later that night, after much anticipation from anxious fans, headlining band Hail the Sun (@hailthesun) finally took the stage. Based out of Chico, California, Hail the Sun is a post-hardcore band that, like Eidola and Dance Gavin Dance, is signed by Blue Swan Records. Their sound is technically advanced, with math-rock influenced guitars and drums, but their time signatures are conventional and their song structure is intentionally concise and simple. This unusual combination lends their music a sense of fanatic energy, allowing them to stand among the giants of the genre while still allowing room for more free-form experimentation. Front man Donovan Melero’s voice is sweet and vulnerable, but it is no way soft. His voice can carry passionate anger just as well as quiet introspection. Interestingly, Melero also serves as the band’s drummer, which was odd but mesmerizing to see up on stage. Melero repeatedly thanked his fans and the other bands on the tour for their support, and the atmosphere of the show was warm and inviting, but also hectic and energetic. Complete strangers in the pit were throwing their arms around each other and screaming at the top of their lungs. It was definitely one of the most intense shows I’ve ever been to, and I would happily see them again.
Hail the Sun Photo credit: IG @smashed_into_pieces_