Buzzard and Fanatics
Friday, January 9th, 2009
Carioca Café, Denver
Better Than: A show where everyone is a chin-stroking tourist.
When I finally got to the venue, Buzzard, which was playing its farewell show, had already started its set. I'd unfortunately missed Clusterfux, but the crowd wasn't crazy yet, so I made my way to the front and stood next to the pinball machine and surveyed the mayhem.
Fanatics closed out the night. Good thing, too because they're a hard act to follow. The set opened with "Greed," and the band laid into its music with a vengeance. It reminded me of all the great hardcore shows I got to see around a decade ago, when people played punk rock less as a fashion statement than as a way of life, and sang about things that had more weight and sincerity rather than just whining about one's pitiful love life. Fanatics were pioneers of the grind/crust sound that came out of hardcore, and with every song, it proved the continued relevance of that music when done properly. And the band certainly unleashed and exorcised the frustration and anger of many people in the crowd on this night and channeled that energy into sheer passion, vitality and joy.
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The songs "Brainwashed by Stupidity," about dealing with Nazis in the scene during the late '80s and early '90s, "Recognize the Foe," about waking up to who's really oppressing you, and "Questionable Existence," with its exploration of the seeming futility of so many of our lives in this society, were all incredibly energizing songs. But each was also a template for how punk rock can be politically conscious without being preachy or uninspiredly topical.
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Random Detail: Ran into Lloyd Arcesia at the show.
By the Way: Fanatics are based out of Pueblo, though some members live as far away as Denver and Longmont.