Walters Downtown is all set for a major beatdown this weekend. If you’re an angry young man who finds that screaming, shoving and swinging your fists around to music is the most satisfying way to confront your feelings — or if you’d simply like to hang out and share a Coke with folks like that — that’s the venue where you’ll want to be for Fallcore ’15 on Friday and Saturday. For the past decade and a half, it’s been the largest and most essential annual meet-and-greet in Houston’s hardcore scene, and it typically draws plenty of hoodied young tough guys from around the state as well.
If circle pits are your thing, you’ve probably already got a ticket. Godspeed. But if you haven’t been to a hardcore show in a while — or ever — this one is a damn fine place to start. The two-day fest features a legendary crossover crew, headliners playing exclusive Texas shows, local up-and-comers with something to prove and even a couple of metallic curveballs tossed into the mix. Consider yourself warned: It’s going to be loud, sweaty and violent in there.
To help you properly plan out which bands you’re most willing to put yourself in harm’s way for, we've compiled a handy little list here of a few acts that are sure to be highlights. Show up ready to throw down in the pit, and remember: If you knock some poor stretched-lobe simp on his ass this weekend, be a good scenester and pick him back up.
1. D.R.I., Saturday
More than 30 years into their career, D.R.I.’s shows have become something of a rite of passage for all aspiring slam-dancers. These grizzled vets of countless international tours started out back in 1982 right here in Houston, where the young Dirty Rotten Imbeciles quickly proved to play way too fast and loud to be taken seriously around these parts. After a timely relocation to the Bay Area, they began adding aggressive metal riffs to their repertoire, helping to create a crossover between hardcore punk and heavy metal that continues to blur lines today.
D.R.I. will cap off the whole shebang on Saturday night, and their homecoming shows are pretty dang riotous even without a festival crowd involved. Fallcore is going to go absolutely bananas when these guys crank up, so either get in the pit or get the hell out of the way.
2. Foundation, Friday
If you’ve never caught this hard-touring Atlanta crew before, this could be your very last chance. Foundation has already announced that they’ll be breaking up as soon as their current bookings are satisfied, and Fallcore is their only Texas date on the calendar. They’ve got a final disc due out in the coming weeks, an EP called Turncoat. You can bet it’ll be heavy stuff, and if you ever want to hear any of it live, you’ll need to show up on Friday and support Dirty South hardcore.
3. All Out War, Saturday
Warming up the stage (er, even further, that is) for D.R.I on Saturday will be upstate New York’s own crossover giants, All Out War. They haven’t played in Houston for well more than a decade now and chances are that they’ll want to make up for some lost time. All Out War has got a new EP out now called Dying Gods, and if that title doesn’t give you a sense of what you’re in for, there isn’t much we can do to help you. Fallcore is their only Texas booking for this cycle. Please know that the moshing will be faster and more furious than Vin Diesel on bath salts, so maybe tell your girlfriend to bring her first-aid kit. Just in case.
4. Sentenced to Burn, Friday
It’s been a weird year for these guys. This summer, the band found themselves embroiled in hardcore-scene controversy when they witnessed their friend Tom Alderson of the band Crosscheck be assaulted by two other relatively prominent hardcore musicians at a show in Philadelphia and spoke up about it on social media. Not too long after, they received a cease and desist letter forcing them to stop using their name, Drown, and take down their recordings from the Web under that moniker.
Given the hassles they’ve endured, the new name Sentenced to Burn sure seems to fit. They’re probably going to want to let off a hell of a lot of steam in their hometown on Friday, and they’re heavy as all hell no matter what they’re calling themselves. Show up and let ‘em know you care.
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5. Will to Live, Saturday
Possibly the most aptly named band in Houston history, Will to Live is the local hardcore crew that simply would not die. They’ve been around nearly as long as some of the kids who’ll be in attendance on Saturday have been alive. That has given their fans plenty of time to learn their songs, and you’d best believe that they’ll be singing along on Saturday. Their sheer longevity, not to mention their friendly and welcoming attitude toward touring bands, have made Will to Live heroes of Houston hardcore. It’s hard to think of a band that has played either Walters location more times than these guys, so while you’re in their house, treat them with a little respect.
6. Mastema, Saturday
Okay, this should be interesting. Perhaps inspirited by the crossover spirit of headliners D.R.I., Fallcore has booked a group that has pretty much nothing to do with hardcore or punk at all. Instead, Mastema is probably Houston’s best young thrash metal band, packing all the hair-whipping riffs and head-banging solos that such a title might imply. They’re certainly accomplished at revving up a mosh, and they can chug a riff faster and better than plenty hardcore types. But it should be an intriguing clash of styles at play in the pit when these guys come out and start tearing into material from their latest disc, Awake in the Grave.
7. Mind Kill, Friday
Think you’re pretty hardcore, huh? Got yourself some 00-gauge plugs in your ears and a fringe haircut under that hoodie? That’s nice and all, but the best way to prove that you’re truly hardcore is by showing up early to support the openers. Mind Kill are a raw and heavy local group that put out their first release in January, and they’re probably so pumped to be a part of Fallcore that they won’t mind if you haven’t learned all the words yet. Heck, I couldn't even find 'em on YouTube. The best part of music festivals is discovering something or somebody that you’ve never heard before, so get there early and check these guys out. You don’t have to mosh, but nobody will appreciate it more.