Proper hoodie weather has arrived in Houston at last, and that can mean only one thing -- it's time again for Fallcore. For 14 years running now, the two-day festival has served as the city's most essential hardcore throwdown, showcasing the best (and noisiest) bands from the Texas scene and beyond.
This year's fest promises to be no different, with H-Town veterans like Will to Live and Die Young sharing a stage with young local fixtures such as Back to Back and Black Coffee as well as out-of-town acts that include Dallas' Vulgar Display and San Antonio's SnakeWay. With all the whirling fists and gnarly stage dives they're likely to inspire, the middle of the floor at Walters Downtown -- Houston's hardcore home base -- isn't going to be a particularly safe place to be on Friday and Saturday.
There will be 19 bands in all at Fallcore, with a couple of choice bookings at the top of the bill. Headlining Friday night's action will be Hatebreed's Connecticut homies in Death Threat, who haven't played a show in Texas in six years. That's a pretty long time -- almost as long as the following night's headliner has been a band. Long Island's Incendiary, who will cap off the entire, breakdown-filled weekend on Saturday, will be making their very first appearance in the Lone Star State.
Since forming in 2007, the ferocious, metallic hardcore group has built a nationwide name for themselves the old-fashioned way: with the kind of intense, sweat-soaked performances that set limbs to pinwheeling in the pit. They've been to Europe twice and to California three times, but until now, they've never set foot on Texas soil.
When Rocks Off spoke to him earlier this week, Incendiary front man Brendan Garrone asked us not to take it too personally.
"We actually don't tour full-time," Garrone says. "That's one of the things we put in place when we first started. We kind of knew that this wasn't going to be that band, just due to the things that we had going on and the individuals we had in the group.
"We've really played in a lot of places, which we've been lucky to do," he continues. "For whatever reason, we just haven't been able to make it out to Texas, so I'm pretty excited to finally make it out there."
Houston scene kids are excited, too, and it seems they've built up something of a reputation for themselves -- even amongst East Coast hardcore bands who have never before paid them a visit.
"We have a ton of friends in bands who have played in Texas, specifically Houston, who have always said how great the hardcore scene is there lately and how great the shows are," Garrone says. "Our friends in Power Trip have always sort of waved the Texas flag really high, and always talked about how great the shows are. So it's really kind of serendipitous for us to be finally playing there now -- perfect timing!"
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Perfect timing, because Incendiary will arrive in Houston riding a cresting peak of their own. The band put out its second LP, Cost of Living, last year, and it's been something of a breakthrough for them. Composed almost entirely of chugging, metallic thrash riffs and barking, mosh-ready vocals, the record delivers everything fans expect from a New York hardcore band with the fresh enthusiasm and perspective only a new generation can provide.
"I don't know how you can be in a hardcore band, let alone a hardcore band from New York, and not be influenced by Madball and Cro-Mags and Agnostic Front," Garrone says. "But Long Island is also its own animal with hardcore. New York City has changed socioeconomically, where there's not as many local, middle-class city kids being in bands. A lot of hardcore has moved to the suburbs."
That's certainly true of Incendiary, who count fellow Long Islanders Vision of Disorder and Silent Majority among their main influences. And many of the people who'd know are now saying that Cost of Living is good enough to put Incendiary's suburban asses right up there with their forebears in the NYHC pantheon.
"We kind of did the whole recording process in a bubble," Garrone says. "We weren't showing people our progress or bringing people in. So when we released it, we really did have no idea what to expect. The way that it's been received has really been overwhelming, and overwhelmingly positive. And it's certainly led to us continuing to be able to play in new places."
Places like, say, Walters Downtown. Incendiary might be climbing on stage at the end of a long festival filled with too many microphone grabs and flying elbow drops, but Garrone cautions Houston kids to stay ready. This will not just be another stop on some endless tour. That ain't how Incendiary does it.
"I think we have a reputation as a very intense live band," he says. "We're traveling a very long way just to play this show, and we're all really, really excited that this is our first one there. We're looking forward to hanging out with some of our old friends and making some new ones."
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