Hellmouth / Bolth / SSCP - live in Indianapolis  (Cover Artwork)

Hellmouth / Bolth / SSCP

live in Indianapolis (2008)

live show

Usually, when a high-profile band breaks up, its members use their past accomplishments as a springboard for whatever project they start next. I'm sure Tim Armstrong found that getting Rancid going was a lot easier following in the wake of Operation Ivy. The same goes for Cedric Bixler-Zavala when he transitioned from At the Drive-In to the Mars Volta. Jason Navarro (of Suicide Machines fame), however, decided to remove his ska-core laurels all together after the break-up of the Suicide Machines in 2006. With the formation of his new hardcore act, Hellmouth, Navarro has started from scratch. No easy rides. No free meals. Just guitars, sweat, blood and basement shows.

The show, at the Halloween House, opened with two-man progressive-hardcore act the Sorely Trying Days. Despite their lame name, the band was awesome. Imagine if Death from Above 1979 had been more song-oriented and less groove-oriented. As a fairly new band the STDs proved their worth. I hope to hear more from them in the future.

Next, Critical Response Team delivered the more traditional take on modern hardcore. It was fun and they put on a great performance.

Cleveland's SSCP (Swamp Stomping Cunt Punchers, for those of you who don't know) stormed the 'stage' next with a brutal set of 60-second songs. Sure, they were sloppy and stupid, but were also rowdy and fun, and isn't that what punk rock is all about?

Next up were hometown heroes Bolth, who had just finished a summer-long tour of the eastern United States. The crowd was really eager to see Bolth again and was naturally going bonkers to Bolth classics such as "Fuck the Monon," "Thank You" and "Short Sighted."

Hellmouth finally started playing around 11:30 and they gave nothing short of 100%. Although the band only has a demo released, they played a full set of brutal, metallic, hardcore punk. Mr. Navarro has had a lot happen in his life since he was last singing about 'new girls' and Van's shoes. The lyrics, when audible, were desolate and hopeless. There was no positive message or ray of light, but it was honest and not a load of faux-violent hogwash like the lyrics from most other bands on Ferret. To keep the mood of the set, the band refrained from any Suicide Machines' covers, but opted for a Cro-Mags cover instead.

When the show was over, I was drenched with sweat and beer and like the other punk rock morlocks emerging, I was sporting a pretty big smile. I talked to Mr. Navarro briefly but he had to go reset his nose. It was humbling for me to be chatting with the man whose voice I had been singing along to since I was in eighth grade but I was great to see what a down-to-earth kind of guy he was. In fact, he was more than down to earth -- he was below it. (The show was in a basement...) I doubt anyone will ever see Rancid or Mars Volta in a basement, but Jason Navarro knows where he came from.