Words and Photos by Kyle Bergfors
Many venues have been re-opening their doors to concerts and live events over the last couple of months among a post-lockdown world, but a hidden gem located in notorious Gary, Indiana hadn’t seen its doors formally re-open to concerts since the winter of 2018.
The D Performance Comedy Theater, The D for short, doubles as both a comedy club for local stand-up acts in the Chicago-land and Northwest Indiana area as well as a concert venue for underground/DIY shows hosting a fairly wide range of genres including hardcore, punk, metal, and everything in between.
If you were driving past The D, you wouldn’t even know of the importance and how pivotal the space has been for Northwest Indiana and greater Chicago-land music community offering a formalized, all-ages space in a region that can be argued, in the eyes of the wider music community, as often being in the shadow of Chicago. The D has helped put Northwest Indiana on the map over the last few years with even some of your favorite bands, including Knocked Loose, Jesus Piece, Vein, Sanction, and Limp Wrist, having played there at some point.
With this show being The Ds formal return, there would be no better show to re-introduce it to the world than with a lineup filled with straight up, all killer-no filler hardcore featuring Baltimore’s End It, New Jersey’s Shackled, Grand Rapids’ Bitter Truth, and Chicago/NWI’s very own Purgatory, Grounds of Execution, MH Chaos, and Sector. Grounds of Execution opened up the show with what I would imagine would be the soundtrack to the end of the world making for the perfect music to jam to while you’re driving down the dilapidated highway in your supped-up SUV similar to Tallahassee’s truck in Zombieland.
Michigan’s Bitter Truth, fresh off their newest LP release Perfect World, brought that traditional, fast-paced, in-your-face style of hardcore in the vein of No Warning and Down to Nothing perfect for fans of a more old-school, classic approach to the genre. Chicago’s Sector and MH Chaos did a surprise split set bringing back-to-back heavy-hitting raw fury straight out of the Windy City.
Both Shackled and End It both delivered their own sounds of East Coast hardcore with Shackled focusing more on a straight-up, classic hardcore approach reminiscent of Madball, Cold World, or No Warning combining metallic hardcore with traditional punk resulting in fast-paced riffs and verses mixed with hard-hitting breakdowns; While End It is more reminiscent of a late ‘90s, East Coast sound with equally honest and unapologetic lyrics reminding listeners of when hardcore was hardcore without the trends and industry meddling.
Fresh off their newest LP release, Lawless to Grave, Purgatory delivered their own hybrid blend of hardcore and metal culminating into their own unique sound within “street metal” that would make for the perfect soundtrack to the apocalypse finding a home in Max Rockatansky’s car as he traverses the wasteland of the world.
Grounds of Execution
More photos from the show can be found here.