This Is Hardcore 2007: Day 1 - live in Philadelphia (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

This Is Hardcore 2007: Day 1

live in Philadelphia (2007)

live show

This Is Hardcore Fest 2007 kicked off (officially) on Friday, August 17th, with a small, diverse gathering of bands under the fest's genre banner. Here's some thoughts on the bands that day, with overviews of Days 2 and 3 coming in the next week...

Up first was Reign Supreme (6:51-7:07), playing a set of thick and heavy hardcore not entirely unlike the other bookend of the festival. Their style isn't normally my thing, and the singer's mosh commands to the crowd were a little tired and cheesy, but he had a strong, somewhat original scream considering the style and they managed overall to kick things off to a decent start, with the swelling mob on the floor seeming pretty into it. They have an EP coming up on the newly Deathwish, Inc. imprinted (albeit several-years-running) Malfunction Records, as well.

If you were to tell me I'd find a band called Fight Like Hell to be half-decent, I'd fight you like hell (not really). But that was the case with a set from the band of that very name. Songs like "Ravenous Wolves" were carried by predictable but well-placed mosh parts, and while their crowd response seemed slow at first, audience members came out of the woodwork after several songs in.

This was roughly my eighth time seeing Verse, and it was easily the best. Everything from the song selection, to the performance, to the crowd response was nearly flawless. I even found out later they'd planned on playing "Stolen" (but simply forgot), which would've been my first time witnessing the live execution of my favorite track off last year's From Anger and Rage. Their passion came through more clearly than ever, and Sean Murphy's speech about the band's convictions was actually sort of inspiring (offering "no fucking apologies" for the leftist slant of the aforementioned album). Their response wasn't exactly overwhelming, which was a little disappointing, but I personally found them better than ever and deserving of much more.

Set list (7:45-8:12):

  1. Hard to Breathe
  2. Tear Down These Walls
  3. -----
  4. Weather to a Stone
  5. From Anger and Rage
  6. -----
  7. Saying Goodbye
  8. Lost
  9. -----
  10. ?
  11. -----
  12. Follow, Conform, Repeat
Wisdom in Chains (8:22-8:49) played a set of Oi!-influenced, working class hardcore that was actually rather refreshing in the context of the weekend. I wouldn't likely go out of my way to check out their albums, but they had a strong following piling on for a ton of their songs, including the stupidly catchy "Life Isn't Fair" and a Cocksparrer cover for good measure, and had me at least bobbing my head here and there.

I wasn't particularly into Iron Age's Constant Struggle when I first heard it, and their live show didn't change much. They played well enough (9:00-9:26) and didn't struggle in motivating bodies to dance across the floor, but listening to them all could be heard were decent metallic riffs and little else.

Have Heart was a spectacle as per the norm, and it was nice to get a solid half-hour set from them too. They pleased fans old and new with a set consisting of a couple from 2004's What Counts EP and a bunch from last year's The Things We Carry. Patrick Flynn stormed across the stage for nearly every note while the rest of his comrades energetically jumped around. Audience participation was predictably strong, and the band predictably ended with "Watch Me Rise," but both factors went a long way into ensuring Have Heart had one of the best sets of the weekend. That and the band always seem to play every one of their standouts (not that 18 songs is a huge stable, but you get the point).

Set list (9:38-10:09):
  1. The Unbreakable
  2. Lionheart
  3. -----
  4. Life Is Hard Enough
  5. Watch Me Sink
  6. -----
  7. Something More Than Ink
  8. The Machinist
  9. Armed with a Mind
  10. -----
  11. ?
  12. Watch Me Rise
Exhausted from the trip and a long night, we decided to call it a night after Bloodclot (10:35-11:16), forgoing All Out War and Agnostic Front. They played decent, traditional NYHC (think Sick of It All / Madball) and got massive responses when they threw in back-to-back covers of Bad Brains and Cro-Mags. They had the occasional political bend, which was nice, and a weird melodic vocal moment in one of their new songs, which wasn't so nice. Not a terrible finish to a good night overall.