Crossover Kings Power Trip and Iron Reagan Rip It Up at Walters

Crossover Kings Power Trip and Iron Reagan Rip It Up at Walters
Photo by Francisco Montes
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Power Trip, Iron Reagan, Skourge, Omertà, Sexpill
Walter’s Downtown
February 24, 2017

It’s hard to say which out-of-town band has played the stage at Walters most often, but Dallas’s Power Trip has got to be a top contender. The state’s top hardcore draw have naturally made themselves at home many times at Houston’s scene outpost, Walter’s old Washington location before this one. Fitting, then, that the group would find themselves in the club’s sweaty environs once more on the release day for their latest album, Nightmare Logic.

They didn’t come alone, either. Richmond, Virginia’s Iron Reagan, Power Trip’s only competition for the nation’s top crossover thrash act, has a new album to hawk too, and the pair of groups figure to hit the road hard over the next two years. Houston got the first crack at them, though, and every kid in town with gauged ears and a snapback showed up ready to go nuts.

Iron Reagan took the stage after a strong slate of local openers, topped by Scourge. There was no Trump merchandise among their T-shirts; perhaps not surprisingly, Iron Reagan prefers political caricatures of the retro variety. Already primed for craziness by the openers, the audience moshed hard to older cuts like “Miserable Failure” and “Eyeball Gore,” but the best response the band got out of the crowd was for the new chantalong “Fuck the Neighbors.” No doubt late Walters founder Pam Robinson would have enjoyed that one, too.

Crossover Kings Power Trip and Iron Reagan Rip It Up at Walters
Photo by Francisco Montes

Before they left, Iron Reagan shouted out the man putting them up for the night — D.R.I. singer Kurt Brecht. In addition to being a friend to IR front man Tony Foresta, he’s also a clear influence who just so happens to have more or less started the whole crossover movement right here in Houston.

Last week, Power Trip front man Riley Gale told us that he couldn’t wait to play Nightmare Logic standout “Executioner’s Tax” at Walters, and he must have been serious, because the band lit into it as soon as it was their turn. Gale and his compadres had the hard, determined look of a band staring down a lot of tour dates; clearly they were in no mood to waste time. The pit started up immediately, but some of the karate kids held back. Some of them wanted to give the new song a proper listen. Others just wanted to holler the gang vocals, “Swing of the axe!” into Gale’s mike.

There would be plenty more new songs to come. The singer, for his part, did his best to keep the crowd interested and engaged through the new stuff.

Crossover Kings Power Trip and Iron Reagan Rip It Up at Walters
Photo by Francisco Montes

“We’re going to do things a little different tonight,” said Gale, already beginning to drip with sweat. “For every new song we play, we’re going to play an old one.”

The harder fans went off for the new stuff, the more old stuff they’d hear, he promised. The crowd seemed pleased by that arrangement, but nobody was keeping count. The pit was wild for everything, new or old. Walters was as hot and muggy as it's ever been as young thrashers flailed wildly, stomping across the floor and crashing into whoever looked amenable. One young crowdsurfer was caught in midair and spun around overhead a few times — gnarly.

Power Trip stayed fast, heavy and tight as they plowed through song after song. Drummer Chris Ulsh sweated and grimaced through the more challenging bits. Hell, we were all sweating. As the crowd inched further and further away from the maelstrom churning in the middle of the place, it grew harder to tell what was happening in the pit, but I’m pretty sure they weren’t hugging. Waves of stage divers leapedovertop as often as they could, forcing the band to back up and keep their heads on a swivel.

Crossover Kings Power Trip and Iron Reagan Rip It Up at Walters
Photo by Francisco Montes

By the end of Power Trip’s set, Gale’s long mop was dripping wet, and his microphone had come unplugged in the chaos. After uncorking new rippers like “Soul Sacrifice” and “Firing Squad,” the band teased briefly that they were finished. No one was fooled. The crowd practically demanded that they play one last old cut, and it was a good one — “Crossbreaker.” Those who hadn’t yet gotten their fill of the mayhem bounced around as the mosh pit devolved into rough pushing and shoving. The rest of us just shouted along.

“We’re Power Trip, and we need a place to stay tonight,” said Gale in benediction. “No cats.”

By that point, he'd have probably settled for an air conditioner. Houston's got plenty of those, guys. When can you move in?

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