By: Tegan Retzer

On Tuesday, March 21st, Paradise Rock Club was one of 36 venues to host American hardcore band Show Me the Body on their World War Tour with support from Tripp Jones, Zulu, Scowl, and Jesus Piece. Although the tour’s name might suggest show dates across the world, it was contained mostly within the United States with a few shows spanning Canada. The tour arrived a few months after the release of Show Me the Body’s most recent album Trouble the Water with notable tracks such as “Loose Talk” and “Radiator”. 

With doors opening at 6PM, eager hardcore fans formed a line stretching down Commonwealth Ave. My friends and I sized up our competition as we walked towards the end of the line. We placed bets on which dudes would be leaving the venue with a couple cracked ribs and various bruises. I won’t use this article to start discourse about the ethics of crowd killing. Having dislocated my knee at a show several weeks ago, I braced myself (literally and figuratively) for some intense performances, and I was not disappointed. The show kicked off with rapper Tripp Jones. The proud NYC Lower East Side native hopped on stage and opened the show by curling a pair of weights as his first track began. Tripp Jones’s unique sound is often referred to as Phonk, a subgenre of trap characterized by nostalgic samples paired with dark lyrics. Freddie Dredd is a popular artist in the Phonk scene, and one can spot similarities between him and Tripp Jones, which is understandable considering they have collaborated on several tracks. Before this show, I had only heard this type of music in TikTok edits created by thirteen year old emo girls. Although I don’t particularly enjoy his style, I will admit that Tripp Jones brought good energy to the room. He danced around the stage encouraging the audience to get hype with him.

 The crowd was visibly anxious to mosh, and they were finally able to when Powerviolence band Zulu took stage. This Afro-centric heavy group amplifies issues within the black community. Hardcore has historically been a predominately white scene, and Zulu draws attention to this through their music. It is also important to note Zulu’s use of sampling from different music genres. R&B, funk, jazz, soul, and reggae have all influenced the group’s sound, and it’s given their music varying levels of complexity. During their performance, Zulu broke up their set with songs from non-heavy artists like SZA and Tony! Toni! Toné!. After Zulu successfully ignited the crowd, Californian hardcore band Scowl took stage. All eyes were on vocalist Kat Moss. I couldn’t help but smile from ear to ear while watching Moss dominate the stage. She demanded a circle pit from the crowd, in which participants run in a circular motion to clear out the center of the circle. Her vocals were killer, and she encouraged members of the audience to join in with her. By far my favorite performance was Jesus Piece, a metalcore band from Philly. They brought the heaviest set of the night, and the crowd went wild. At one point, the pit looked like an indistinguishable sea of flailing feet and fists. I watched as one of my favorite vocalists from a local Boston hardcore band got on stage and violently swung at the front row. Luckily, I did not bear any of the punches. 

Having fallen in love with Jesus Piece after their set, I rushed over to the merch table and bought a 2XL shirt to wear over my sweater. At that point, my legs were cramping, and I moved up to the balcony for Show Me the Body’s set. I saw them open up for British rapper Slowthai last spring at the Roadrunner. At that time, I was unprepared for the group’s unique combination of distorted banjo and genre-defying vocals. Since then, I had been anticipating their return to Boston. As the group entered the stage, the lights dimmed and stayed that way throughout most of their first song. I sat on the balcony and watched as the crowd moved to the music. The group performed a number of songs off of their most recent release and a few of their most popular tracks such as “Arcanum” and “Camp Orchestra”. I applaud the band for orchestrating a tour with an eclectic mix of talented groups, and I look forward to seeing how all of these artists continue to shape the next generation of hardcore.