A Hardcore Festival - the EMP Persistence Tour 2015

Another jubilee! For the 10th time, EMP hosted the European Persistence Tour and once again brought seven hardcore bands, three of them who had been on the Persistence Tour before, to Werk at Backstage in Munich on January 22nd, 2015.

Opening act of the evening were the five guys from Broken Teeth, a Manchester-based hardcore punk band. Broken Teeth started with their 20 minute-lasting performance on time. And even though the hall was far from being filled already, they did not fail to prepare the small audience for an evening full of great music. This was mainly due to the animation by singer Dale Graham. And with songs like “The Evil Eyes” from the 2012 released EP “AIN’T NO REST FOR THE WICKED” or “My Law” of the latest album “SPLIT 7’’, they gave an acceptable head start into the night.
Next up were All For Nothing, the hardcore matadors from Rotterdam who had previously released their LP “WHAT LIES WITHIN US“ in 2014. The female-fronted hardcore band could easily win the already bigger crowd over with their energetic songs and sing-along choruses of songs like “Poison” or “Burn the Lies”, both of their new album. It did not take long until circle-pits were formed and the first fans began to stage-dive - things that continued throughout the entire evening. But All For Nothing also dove deeper into singer Cindy van der Heijden’s personal history with “Taking It Back” (MILES & MEMORIES, 2009) and delivered a clear anti-racism and anti-fascism statement during their performance, in view of the current Europe-wide demonstrations.
The third act of the evening, Turnstile, brought a slightly more alternative sound to the stage compared to the bands before. The five young males from Baltimore, Maryland, had only just published their new album “NONSTOP FEELING” a week ago and were, of course, playing some of their new songs like “Fazed Out”. But also older tracks from their formerly published EPs “PLEASURE TO SUCCEED” (2013) and “STEP 2 RHYME” (2011) contributed to the fun singer Brendan Yates and his fellow band members spread in the hall.
Ryker’s, a hardcore band from Kassel, followed up and from the first moment, were able to thrill almost everyone in the by now super full hall. Their riffs were noticeably harsher and singer Kid D. clearly knew how to work with the audience. It did not take him long until he was actually performing in the crowd. But Ryker’s could not just convince with their high-energy show and almost 23 year-long stage experience. Also their songs like “True Love” - a 1999 published anthem to hardcore music (LIFE IS A GAMBLE…SO IS DEATH) - “Hard to the Core” from the identically named album (2014) or “Cold Lost Sick” (A LESSON IN LOYALITY, 1997) found an echo in the audience.

Then, the first headlining act of the evening entered the stage: Walls of Jericho. For the fourth time attending the Persistence Tour, the second female-fronted hardcore band of the evening gave it all. Candace Kucsulain proved that she could easily keep up with her male counterparts - in terms of musical talent and powerful performance. Playing songs from their entire band history, the band from Detroit, Michigan, duly continued the party of the evening. However, the most breathtaking moment of their approximately 30-minute show was not when the entire crowd sang along songs like “The American Dream” from the eponymous LP (2008) or “All Hail the Dead” (ALL HAIL THE DEATH, 2004), but when Candace announced the band’s support for a foundation supporting children suffering from cancer and a fan who could not wait to buy merch after the show but gave Candace money without hesitation. The following performance of “Relentless”, the song that was written in thought of kids fighting their disease, was clearly thought-provoking and empowering.

After another rebuilding break, the Orange County-based melodic hardcore band Ignite entered the stage. The contrast to the acts before could not be stronger. Compared to the bands before and especially Walls of Jericho, Ignite almost sounded a bit too soft. Nevertheless, they could easily enthuse the crowd and carried the audience through their performance. With their catchy lyrics, everyone sang along on tracks like “Veteran” from their “A PLACE CALLED HOME” album (2000) or “Family”, a song from their identically named LP (1995). Between their songs, singer and front man Zoltán Téglás voiced the bands political and socio-critical opinions which were also mirrored in songs like “My Judgment Day” or “Fear Is Our Tradition”, both from “OUR DARKEST DAYS” (2006). Towards the end, Zoltán announced a new album which will be released soon this year and of which Ignite gave a foretaste with their new song “Oh No, Not Again”. Definitely something to look forward to for their fans.

Last but definitely not least, the hardcore beasts of Sick Of It All entered the stage. The vibe in the hall had definitely reached its maximum and the band around singer Lou Koller and his definitely not less eccentric brother and guitarist Pete Koller once more delivered a great performance. Also not new to the Persistence Tour, Sick Of It All had a wide variety of songs on their set list. Ranging from the 1994 published “Scratch the Surface” of the eponymous LP, over “Sanctuary” from their album “CALL TO ARMS” (1999) to “Us Vs. Them” from “XXV NONSTOP” (2011) and to several songs of their 2014 published long player “LAST ACT OF DEFIANCE”, the four New Yorkers traveled through their band history with their fans who could barely get enough.

Everyone who got out of this concert without bathing in swear, missed a huge part of the show which was not just well organized but entailed a lot of great performances by all seven acts of the night.

Text: Tanja Frank