Retox and Regents, Yucca Tap Room, 11/6/12
Mike Bogumill Retox live at Yucca Tap Room.
Retox and Regents @ Yucca Tap Room|11/6/12
By Mike Bogumill
While most people were at the Titus Andronicus and Ceremony show enjoying a bar rock act and a hardcore band, both of which escaped their respective niches to achieve crossover success among general indie audiences, two bands with similarly prefixed names, Retox and Regents, brought their own not-so-general-indie-audience friendly variations of hardcore to the Yucca Tap Room, fundamentally united by the desire to play angry, aggressive punk music.
In a way that I hope doesn't sound like writing them off. Retox sounds like what I would expect a band fronted by Justin Pearson (The Locust, Swing Kids, Some Girls, etc) would sound like: spazzy, sassy, with some noise rock influences thrown in. If I were to use some arithmetic to describe them, it would be as follows: straightforward hardcore sound of Some Girls - Wes Eisold's melodramatic vocals + the grind and thrash influence of the Locust - a lot of the more noisy stuff they do. The sum of this equation is a pretty intense hardcore band that is artsy but doesn't spend too much time dwelling on it. They burned through their set with so much urgency, that they didn't even wait when they needed a sandbag to hold their bass drum in place, instead utilizing a kid named Jeff from the opening local thrash band Der Blerg, in a similar role.
"When the opportunity came, I had to let the show go on. I saw Retox once before and I thought 'Man, if I could get on stage with them...'" says Jeff in regards to his tenure as a human sandbag. While Jeff lay tacit and supine on the stage in front of the drum kit, the members of Retox and the audience moved about spastically, evoking an image of a Void shirt clad Atlas holding the scene together. Pearson was kind enough to give him a dollar for his contribution.
The other touring band of the night, Regents, plays a kind of hardcore that one really does not hear a lot of these days. I would describe it as some overused term like "'90s emocore", but not in the sense of one of those Level Plane bands like Saetia that modern bands like La Dispute and Touche Amore rip off all the time, but more like the kind of bands one could find on labels like No Idea during the 90's like Palatka, True North, Planes Mistaken for Stars, and Assfactor 4.
It's the kind of very uptempo and melodic emocore that maintains a strong connection with the energy of hardcore punk while being informed by all kinds of post-hardcore experimentations. The members of Regents are all veterans of the D.C. and Richmond punk scenes, and the bands they were in during the '90s, such as Frodus, Maximillian Colby, and Sleepytime Trio sound like this. However, Regents didn't come off like a '90s throwback band, but rather members of an older generation of the hardcore scene who grew up with a different set of influences that have a strong influence on how they play today. They played with a greater sense of maturity than the '90s bands I compared them to while still emphasizing having fun. A highlight of their set was the band instructing the audience to occupy the stage while they (drum kit included) occupied the floor. One downside may have been that they sound at Yucca didn't really capture the more higher pitch guitar tones, which was fine with Retox, but made the more melodic guitar parts in Regents' songs feel understated.