After a triumphant 20th anniversary setlist on the last day of this year’s This Is Hardcore Fest at the Electric Factory, New York punk royalty H2O returned to the area to lead a killer six band lineup on Saturday night just next door at Voltage Lounge.
Opening the show were young NYHC heavy hitters Regulate, followed by melodic hardcore punkers On Bodies and fellow TIHC alums Fuck You Pay Me. FYPM’s vocalist damn near stole the show jumping from one high speaker to the next, zipping through the crowd and even blowing a fireball, but the chaos was only about to begin. DC funk rockers Give slowed things down a bit before the real madness unfolded and DC’s Angel Du$t unleashed hell. AD got the most insane reaction of the night, with bodies flying everywhere from the stage to the floor and back again as the band delivered their infectiously quick and dangerously heavy hardcore attack.
H2O had their work cut out for them trying to top those guys and they fact that they managed to do it was an impressive feat indeed, with ageless frontman Toby Morse having his voice drowned out almost completely from the capacity crowd reciting his every word, dancing, jumping and just basking in the glow of the joyous rapture and positivity of the band’s catalog of super catchy material from their full 20 year history. H2O never got the mainstream adoration that punk contemporaries like Blink 182 and New Found Glory received in the early aughts and it’s a wonder why given the quality of their material and their ability to captivate an audience, but maybe that’s a blessing given the deterioration of those acts over the years and the fact that H2O have lost none of their passion or purity over the two decades they’ve been on the scene. H2O may have “nothing to prove”, but they have proven that they more than deserve their bulletproof reputation and their fans’ undying admiration.
Words by Kevin Hawkey Photos by Megan Hawkey