Three loud festivals rock the Triangle this weekend
Loud rock fans in the Triangle are going to have to make some tough decisions this weekend, as three high-decibel mini-fests converge on the calendar. In Durham, Death To False Hope Records hosts its eponymous festival, now in its second year. Meanwhile, Carrboro boasts the 10-band Dirty South Fest while the three-day, metal-leaning Buried Underground rages in nearby Chapel Hill. Sure, each of the three has its niche, but if you’re like us, that doesn’t mean much. So what to do?
Maybe this’ll help.
June 28-30 @ Chapel Hill Underground, Chapel Hill
Each of this festival’s three nights offers more than enough heavy goodness. Thursday night’s bill is topped with the expansive post-doom of MAKE, while Friday’s headliner Caltrop delivers bluesy bludgeoning immediately after the expansive, visceral pummelings of Systems and Grohg. The best run, though, comes Saturday when Buried Underground unearths a daunting triple-(be)header. First, Greensboro’s Torch Runner sprint through blindingly fast, bruisingly heavy grind that, in its best moments, suggests Napalm Death. The veteran Chapel Hill band Fin Fang Foom’s approach is more nuanced and spacious, toeing a line between loud-indie and post-rock. Then, Atlanta noise-rockers Hawks collapse the joint with jagged, infectious squall enhanced by their chaotic performance.
June 29-30 @ Motorco, Durham
In its second year, the annual festival coordinated by Death To False Hope Records — a pay-what-you-want digital-only punk rock label — has scaled back from three stages to two. This only ensures a more concentrated dose of melodic punk rock and Revival-Tour twang than last year’s event. Loaded with upbeat pop-punk (see: Almost People, Let Me Run, Banquets, etc.), grungy Americana (see: Pullman Strike, Old Flings, Eno Mountain Boys, etc.), and sounds between, DTFH keeps a healthy variety in its bill. The must-sees, then, embrace this sonic versatility. The Slow Death (featuring pop-punk royal Mikey Erg, who also performs solo), takes cues from Dillinger Four and Jawbreaker, marrying grungy bar-rock with punk urgency and big hooks. Red Collar’s agile motions from earnest Americana to blistering post-punk make them a must-see at any occasion, but at the top of this bill they provide an ideal encapsulation of the festival’s strengths: heartfelt intensity, sing-along inclusiveness and bombastic release.
June 30 @ Cat’s Cradle, Carrboro
This one’s a top-heavy bill for certain. It’s a bit strange to think about a kill-your-idols punk rock band reuniting, but there won’t be much time to think about it between blasts from the reformed New York hardcore legends Cro-Mags. One of the early innovators of mid-’80s crossover (alongside bands like Agnostic Front, Corrosion of Conformity and DRI), Cro-Mags bridged the more musically complex arrangements with the direct structure and urgent delivery of hardcore punk. They’ll make for an explosive end to the bill they share with the soul-driven third-wave ska band Pietasters and pop-punk progenitors The Queers — whose unflagging immaturity is as charming now as it was in the band’s mid-90s heyday.
—Bryan C. Reed