Show Review: Backtrack Final Tour at the Beat Kitchen in Chicago

Words and Photos by Kyle Bergfors

Backtrack is one of the most well-known modern New York hardcore acts that both paved the way for many newer bands while also engaging new and old fans of hardcore alike for over 10 years, therefore it is only fitting they go out with a bang! With a discography spanning a demo, an EP, and three full lengths, Backtrack cemented themselves not only in New York hardcore, but across the entire board due to their fast, simple, & authentic approach to hardcore punk becoming a torch for new and old fans of hardcore. With this being Backtrack’s final tour, the idea of passing the torch on is apparent due to placing an emphasis on the concept of thinking about the future of hardcore, especially starting new bands and engaging new people to become involved.

Opening the show was no one more perfect then Chicago’s Life’s Question introducing a night of classic hardcore with their unique blend of both Midwest hardcore with an old-school NYHC sound making attendees feel as though they just stepped back into a time machine or maybe Life’s Question stepped out of one.

Rule Them All followed up bearing a similar resemblance as Life’s Question in that they followed a more classic style of 90s era hardcore throwing it back old school. This was a perfect fit for Backtrack’s final tour due to Backtrack being one of the perfect bridges for fans discovered newer, more modern hardcore, but also similarities between it and the original sound of hardcore.

Second to last was California’s very own, Dead Heat. Dead Heat could be considered the odd guys out here due to being more of a cross-over style hardcore between hardcore punk and thrash metal leaning more toward the thrash metal side due to their instrumentals, yet that didn’t stop anyone from having a good time. I personal had not listened to Dead Heat before, but was intrigued when I saw they had printed a t-shirt of that guy who lit himself on fire close to the White House lawn in Washington D.C. a few weeks back sparking my interest. I was not disappointed. Dead Heat blends two different, but similar, genres together creating a sound fueled by riffs, guitar solos, and hardcore punk style breakdowns with vocals in the vein of Magnitude, Abuse of Power, and King Nine.

Backtrack delivered a pure, 100% hardcore set…to the point and no bullshit. Running through their entire discography Backtrack hit every fan favorite, B-side, and then some, propelling the crowd to close up the horse-show hold in the crowd nonsense to instead pile on top of each other in a dog pile, launch themselves off the stage, leaving nothing leaving everything out there…. after all, it is literally your “last chance”. Backtrack has continually improved their live performance over the years through countless shows and tours resulting in a resume to brag and the experience to show why they are so manys’ favorite hardcore band or one of the bands who introduced them to hardcore punk. The passion and love for the genre never got lost upon for Backtrack over the course of 10 plus years being on full display during their final performance in Chicago reminiscing on old tours, old friends, but also new friends and a grateful, but also bittersweet future. Backtrack will forever be a staple in hardcore that, even though they are gone, they won’t be forgotten and will continue to bring new fans into hardcore for years.

See more from Backtrack’s set HERE

Life’s Question

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Rule Them All

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Dead Heat

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