Terence Hannum of experimental metal trio Locrian told us about his experience watching Assück, Hot Water Music, and Frodus in Florida.

Terence Hannum: The walls were sweating. The crowd was a mass, a swarm, total chaos of sweaty hardcore fans, metal heads, and emo nerds. An absolute freak show. It was dark, there were no stage lights in the commercial storefront of 403 Chaos that, by day was an indie record shop, but at night became the epicenter of underground punk and hardcore. It was packed. There was no crowd control or bouncers or people checking IDs or capacity concerns. It was loud. On this side of Tampa, across from the First Church of Christ, Scientist, no one was out checking decibels. In fact, this end of Tampa felt desolate. 

Tampa had a reputation as the heckling capital in those days. For a band, the space between songs was the worst place to be if you hadn’t seasoned yourself like a stand-up comic. Some phrase or banter could easily be turned against a band while someone was tuning and suddenly it was a comedy show. At this show, a group of guys came in wrestling gear, capes, masks, and mesh shirts challenging bands to wrestle them. During Hot Water Music, they moshed swinging large cookie sheets at one another, at the audience, the bands. Complete mayhem. Jason Hamacher, the drummer of Frodus, accepted their challenge and somehow returned to his kit — mid-song — wearing a wrestler’s mesh shirt and finished the set with no more hassle. Hecklers vanquished.

A crater opened in the space during Assück. They set up on the floor, not the tiny stage at the back of the shop where some of the audience cowered. We were ringed by massive deafening Ampeg amps whose punishing volume edged the thrashing crowd up the walls with each short blast. I was always a pretty cautious teenager, but I recalled crouching at the back of the venue pressed against this writhing mass — I might die here.  ❖

Locrian’s album End Terrain is out now.

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