What happens when virtual reality comes to head-banging, ear-splitting, in-the-sweaty-flesh life? Area grindcore fans will get a chance to find out when the Global Grindcore Alliance descends upon Houston this Friday.
Gutwrench Booking’s Dave Tamayo is promoting the show which is bringing grind bands from around the state and country to The End, one of the city’s newest music venues. The lineup includes local grind legends P.L.F. and Lunatics, an upstart and upwardly-trending Houston thrash metal act. These Houston groups will bookend a quartet of visiting acts, many of which played the Alliance’s debut show during the height of COVID lockdown.
“What the Global Grindcore Alliance is, it started during the pandemic actually,” Tamayo said. “There were a lot of grind bands from around the world that did an online virtual festival, bands from the US, Brazil, Australia, England, Colombia, just doing this virtual festival.”
That festival was held over two days in December 2020 with 20 bands livestreaming their sets from all points across the globe. Tamayo said this week’s gathering will feature some of the acts which kicked things off back then.
“It’s not the full lineup, but the bands from Global Grindcore that are coming are Chepang, they’re a band from Nepal. They moved to New York, so they’re out of New York now,” he said. “And Bandit, they’re from Philadelphia. Gene (Meyer) from Bandit actually writes for Decibel Magazine, he actually did an article on my band SNAGG one time, that’s how I know him. Daggra is playing too, they’re from Brownsville, they were part of the Global Grindcore Alliance.”
These bands have a tight-knit community, an affinity forged by a love for the extreme mashup of metal, crust and hardcore punk that is grindcore. For instance, Meyer has not only written about SNAGG for Decibel, he’s also covered P.L.F. If you’re not up on the band and its sound, Meyer writes, "They sound like P.L.F. for fuck’s sake, they’ve been around for 20 years, you should have heard of ‘em by now.” Tamayo said the friends and contacts he’s made while touring meant he got the honors to book Houston’s iteration of the show.
“I started booking grind bands back in 2019 but then the pandemic hit, so I obviously didn’t book shows for a while. Before I started booking more grind bands, I had my old band that did tours so I met people from the Midwest and from the West Coast. Eventually it just got to where now I’m booking the Global Grindcore Alliance show because I know a band called Cognizant from Dallas, specifically (guitarist) Irving (Lopez), who messaged me and was just like, ‘Hey, do you wanna book the Global Grindcore Alliance Houston show?’ because he’s booking the Dallas one and I was like, ‘Well, yeah, of course I’d love to book that show.”
Cognizant also played the inaugural Global Grindcore Alliance show and will perform in Houston this week. Tamayo said the regional and national acts will have strong support from the locals.
“P.L.F. is just a legendary Houston grind band, they’ve been together forever, through different lineups of course, but they’ve gotten pretty popular in the underground over the years. Lunatics is a younger Houston thrash metal band. They’re doing really, really good. With that, I’m trying to open up some of the younger fans of heavy music. Hopefully they’ll bring in some fans to see all of this other music,” Tamayo said.
The proper setting might not be that critical for a virtual music fest but for this show in the physical world Tamayo chose The End, a recently opened spot on Lawndale. He said he thinks the venue will suit the show and its participants well.
“I started talking with them about booking there probably about a month-and-a-half ago. It seemed like they had the right sound system and they’re a decent-sized venue for the crowd that will come,” Tamayo noted. “The Global Grindcore bands were wanting to do a live recording and maybe try to capture some live video that they can edit later, so that was one of the main reasons why I chose to go to The End.”
Tamayo hopes the crowd will be ready for the night’s bombardment of music. Taco Rudo will be on hand with foodstuff to keep show-goers nourished and they’ll be fed a steady diet of loud, fast, live music.
“I have seen Lunatics and P.L.F., you know, being from Houston, and Cognizant since they’re from Dallas. I’m stoked to see all the bands. The most interesting one that I do think is going to be fun to see live is Chepang, just because they actually use two drummers. I’m interested to see what they do with that. You know, being a drummer myself, I’m like, ‘Hmm. How is this?…’” he trailed off, then excitedly said, “They can do a lot with two drummers live. I’m really stoked on that.”
Will other Houstonians be stoked, we asked? Is this a good grind scene?
“As far as grindcore, it’s pretty good,” Tamayo reported. “You have P.L.F. obviously from here, you have Cryptic Void which is another pretty-known grind band, they do tours all the time, when they can, and they do bigger releases. I hate to put my own band in, but SNAGG started too, we’re a mixture of grindcore and power violence. Also, we have Active Shooter here. They’ve gotten pretty popular over the years as well.
“There’s a lot of other younger bands that I see, none that I can name off the top of my head, but some younger bands trying to come up too, so hopefully that will get going, too,” Tamayo said.
We suggest there’s an urgency to grind music, the sort that could be enjoyed via livestream but surely is better when there’s give and take between live band and live crowd. Tamayo agreed but said the pandemic did create some opportunities for bands. For instance, it created Global Grindcore Alliance which will have boots on the ground this week in Houston.
“Doing the virtual stuff is all we could do during the pandemic, which was still good. I think it gave a lot of bands, not just grind bands but all bands, time to write and time to work on all the other stuff besides live playing and touring and stuff," he said. “As far as going back to playing live shows in front of people, to me that’s the main thing as far as being in a band, seeing people come out to your shows and having a good time. To me, some people might disagree, but that’s the epitome of being a musician, I think.”
“As far as the show happening in Houston, I think it’s going to be a good night. I think we’ll have a mix of an older crowd and a younger crowd with all the bands on it. I’m sure there’s going to be a lot of energy there. It should be a really good night.”
Global Grindcore Alliance hits Houston, Friday, May 27, 2022 at The End, 7126 Lawndale. With P.L.F., Chepang, Bandit, Cognizant, Daggra and Lunatics. Doors at 7 p.m. and bands an hour later. $15.
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Jesse’s been writing for the Houston Press since 2013. His work has appeared elsewhere, notably on the desk of the English teacher of his high school girlfriend, Tish. The teacher recognized Jesse’s writing and gave Tish a failing grade for the essay. Tish and Jesse celebrated their 33rd anniversary as a couple in October.