Better than... the Bee Gees cover band of the same name.
Most musicians nowadays are accessible via Twitter or Facebook, making Portland hardcore/crust punk group Tragedy quite the anomaly. Since their formation in 2000, they have shunned interviews, photo shoots, and other forms of publicity. All of which makes their sold-out show at the Echoplex last night even more impressive.
When supporting act Nails took the stage, the pit opened up like a chasm getting ready to swallow the earth. Since the release of their 2010 album Unsilent Death, the hardcore trio from Oxnard has been slowly building a loyal following through their crushing live performances.
Back from a two-week Japanese tour, Nails culled songs from both Unsilent Death and their debut album Obscene Humanity. Blending everything together seamlessly, they whipped the crowd into a furious frenzy, with the mosh pit at times even reaching back behind the soundboard. Nails were a very hearty appetizer.
But then Tragedy took the stage.
When the band launched into opener "Conflicting Ideas," the chasm in the middle of the building opened up even further. It has been four years since they last played Los Angeles, and the pent-up energy exploded into an all-consuming force that could not be escaped.
The dirty crust of Tragedy's D-beat hardcore rendered a level of darkness that few bands match. The song selection seemed to focus mostly on 2006's Nerve Damage ("Incendiary" and "Crucifier") and 2002's Vengeance ("Call To Arms" and "Vengeance"), with scattered pockets from the rest of their catalog throughout.
This was the first time most Tragedy fans heard music from their new album, Darker Days Ahead, which was released this past week. Tracks like "The Feeding Hour" kept them viciously pitting it up like they were old favorites.
Given the band's lack of accessibility, their live shows are the only way for most Tragedy fans to get some extra insight into what the quartet is about -- hell, it's the only way to even see what they look like. Their show last night indicated that what Tragedy is all about can be summed up in two words: relentless brutality.
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Personal Bias: I do wish that the members of Tragedy that were in the band His Hero Is Gone could get back together, even just for one show.
The Crowd: Moshers, windmillers, slam-dancers, and circle-pitters galore.
Notebook Dump: "Damn, I cannot avoid making physical contact with anyone tonight."