Show Review: Punk at Newman Co-op 10/05/18

I arrived at the show at approximately 8:45 pm to the sounds of a DJ set up blasting eclectic electronic music that actually seemed to fit the theme of the show very well. The show took place at Newman Co-op which looks like a regular apartment complex from a distance but is very much one of the many Co-ops in Isla Vista with its own defining features. I walked up to the open courtyard greeted by the sounds of people chatting, dance tracks blasting, and beautiful portraits adorned all over the walls of Newman. The art on the walls of Newman give this house its character and actually makes it stand out in this section of the college town that is surrounded by older bland apartment residences contrasted with modern style high rise buildings in the distance. The house is at the end of a cul-de-sac which happens to attract much foot traffic from students crossing over from their residences on campus to parties and food places in Isla Vista.

At around 9:29 pm the first band started to strum into their first song as the DJ prepared to stop then at 9:30 the DJ’s music cut off giving the signal for the band to tear right into their set. Hailing from Los Angeles, CA Half/Cross was not shy about setting the tone for the night. Half/Cross has a Ceremonyesque style and sound with an awesome delivery from the vocalist. The vocalist immediately lunged into the crowd to get the movement going and continued to move around throughout the set. He swayed back and forth while singing and tucked/rolled on the floor throughout the performance. At one point during the set the mic cable disconnected from the PA but this did not deter him from continuing to sing just as loud and energetic as before, nothing seemed to faze him once he was in his mode. Closer to the end of the set I realized that he was providing this powerful performance over a brick floor while not wearing shoes! Just as fast as the set started it ended with only 11-15 minutes actually having passed by.

Up next was three-piece band Lead from Los Angeles, CA who shared members of Half/ Cross with the bassist and drummer staying on for their second performance of the night. Lead’s sound is reminiscent of post-punk with a cross of hardcore. The vocalist yelled into the mic with the reverb turned up providing a dark echoey goth tone and making for a uniquely dynamic experience. At this venue, the space between where bands perform and show attendees dance is nonexistent. Meaning, there are no distinct barriers or lines in which one begins or ends. During Lead’s set, many people began dancing and participating with the band but due to the nature of this show, the mics and guitar cables kept getting unplugged. This did not detract from the experience as the vocalist/guitarist was able to handle the situation well, demonstrating that this wasn’t his first rodeo.

Backs turned from the crowd and pedal boards a glow Los Angeles’s Nuvolascura contributed to the energy of the night with their mix of melodic hardcore fronted by thrashy vocals. Throughout the performance, the vocalist kept her back turned to the crowd and rocked back and forth to the melodic beats. At this point in the night, the foot traffic from students had increased by quite a bit. I noticed many people walking by with a tinge of curiosity in their steps as some even stopped and took a listen for a few moments before moving on with their night. In a town predominately overrun by the constant sounds of EDM, it’s no wonder that many people acted as if they have never seen anything like this before. The band did not engage in too much banter during their set nonetheless, the band finished strong with the vocalist stating, “Believe all survivors”, in reference to the current state of affairs, before diving into the last track.

After experiencing three amazing bands from Los Angeles the show still had one more band with Santa Barbara locals No Divide closing the night. I have had No Divide on my radar for quite some time now but have not had the opportunity to see them live until this show. They did not disappoint as they continued the energy of the night with their flavor of female fronted thrash punk. They had the most crowd participation and the biggest pit of the night. As many people were enthusiastically dancing to the tunes, I saw many bodies hit the ground at one point. In spite of that, there are rules for the pit so many were immediately lifted from the ground as folks standing nearby pitched in to help people get back up. No Divide was enthusiastically received. I can’t believe it took me this long to see them play but I look forward to being able to catch them again in the near future! They finished off their set right before the 12 am noise curfew making this event extremely successful for a backyard show considering that we did not receive a visit from the blue wearing badge-wielding pedestrians. When the show finished the crowds dispersed and became part of the ongoing foot traffic, one may have never known that such an event had taken place just moments ago.

For more information regarding these bands:

Half/Cross
https://halfcross.bandcamp.com/album/with-or-without-agoraphobia

Lead
https://lead.bandcamp.com/releases

Nuvolascura
https://nuvolascura.bandcamp.com/

No Divide
https://nodivide.bandcamp.com/