Dramatic circumstances surrounded this show at Barracuda in Austin, Texas, on Tuesday night, as rising metal superstars Code Orange were pinned to headline, only to drop out due to a medical emergency thirty minutes before doors opened. We’re all hoping for a speedy recovery and for Code Orange to get back on the road soon, but in the meantime, the openers for this hardcore quadruple stacked sandwich decided to make lemons out of lemonade and proceed with the show anyway at a discounted price. While many may have been deterred by the lack of the headliners, there was a solid showing from the Austin hardcore scene for some up and coming bands who gave it their all.
First up was Vein, whose stellar new record Errorzone is making waves online. After an incredible set at This is Hardcore in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, just over a year ago, Vein has steadily been gaining traction. With the release of Errorzone, they’re a full on locomotive, speeding ahead. It’s rare that a band has sounded this complete on their debut outing, and brings this much energy and passion live so early in their career. If they manage to keep this up, expect to see Vein headlining shows soon. Even though they played an early slot, they wowed the crowd with a visceral, gutwrenching performance of their unique blend of mathcore and modern hardcore. Do not sleep on this band.
Show Me the Body picked up next, and though they had the largest crowd of any band on the bill, they were definitely the weakest of the bunch. All credit to what they do, but their industrial leaning brand of New York hardcore punk perhaps fit in better on a bill with Code Orange on it. Here, it was just out of place and uncomfortable. While Show Me the Body provided some very solid mosh riffs and breakdowns, their energy left something to be desired following that showstopping Vein performance.
Twitching Tongues became the de facto headliners after Code Orange dropped off, but the crowd was already thinning out by the time they came on early at 9:30 PM. The air was thick with the disappointment over Code Orange’s cancelation, but Twitching Tongues more than brought life back into the room with their form of metalcore. Twitching Tongues has long stood out as one of the stranger bands in the hardcore scene today, melding influences from Ozzy Osbourne to Type O Negative into a modern day hardcore setting, but their formula has proved successful over the course of three full length albums.
They got started with the classic “Eyes Adjust” from their debut, In Love There Is No Law, and they were off to the races from there. Some of Twitching Tongues’ more recent material has proved controversial among their early supporters, but they provided a decent enough helping of songs from that debut record, including singalong “Preacher Man” and closer “World War V,” to satisfy fans of any era of the band. Notably, however, their newer material stood out much heavier and more distinctly live, a trait which has dogged the band since day one. Twitching Tongues material, for a variety of reasons, translates much better to the stage than the studio, and their live record World War V Live is a testament to that. Perhaps a new live album showcasing their more recent material might be necessary to give these songs the life that they had at Barracuda on Tuesday night.
Obviously, this show was not what it had been intended to be. The audience left wanting more and though all the bands performed admirably, nothing could make up for the lack of Code Orange, one of the most exciting metal bands in recent memory. But making lemonade out of lemons, everyone pulled together to give a good show and make whoever showed up happy. Vein continued to solidify their reputation as one of the fastest rising and most stunning new bands in the scene, while Twitching Tongues provided a perfect nightcap. Hopefully, all turns out well in the Code Orange camp and they can tear it up in Austin again soon. Until then, this show was a more than adequate consolation prize for the ravenous metal and hardcore audience.