At the Soul Glo performance at the Zebulon, I got elbowed in the throat and threw up in my mask. It was the liveliest show I’ve been to all year.
As I made the trek- leaving work in Riverside to Los Angeles on a hot summer's evening, I took a moment to ask myself: will the show be packed on a Tuesday with the main act going on past 10 pm? The answer was yes, and no.
Philadelphia hardcore punk band: Soul Glo are gaining traction with each day passing, scoring accolades on all accords over their latest project Diaspora Problems, which dropped back in March.
Despite being very new to the hardcore genre, Diaspora Problems wowed me since my first introduction t0 “Jump!! (Or Get Jumped!!!) (by the future)”, which slowly became one of my favorites of 2022 with its abrasive protest against fascist politics through music.
When I heard they were touring on the West Coast, I knew I had to come through.
The closest venue to me would be the Zebulon, a venue that strives itself in its “safe space” identity and space in the hardcore/punk music scene in L.A. A fitting venue for the group.
Now I’m not a full (maybe half) poser when it comes to hardcore shows. Despite the two years without attending concerts due to a pandemic, I’ve had my fair share of backyard shows and local garages hosting the local pit. Not at my local Denny's tho. I’ve witnessed to more established heavy acts like Okilly Dokilly, the heavy metal Ned Flanders cover band, back in 2017, so I’m familiar with how intense the mosh pit can get. What I wasn’t prepared for was a few hours of a heavy rotating pit led by someone who could pass for Eddie Munson. Wait. It was in fact, Eddie Munson.
The two bands that opened, Entry and Lagrimas I was unfamiliar with, despite both being hardcore bands based in Los Angeles. Although I had no prior knowledge of the two, both performed well, with sets averaging fifteen to twenty minutes that got the crowd jazzed up, while still building up excitement for the main act.
Terrified of jumping straight into the pit off half an edible, I took my time observing for the first two acts, but once Soul Glo hopped on stage for “ROLLING LOUD, HEAR MY CRY”, it was my cue to jump in.
Despite a few audio hick-ups with the mic not picking up Jordan's voice in the first few songs and the feedback eating most of the sound, the group persisted, and it was resolved quickly.
They gave the crowd a wonderful mix of songs from the EP released prior to their latest album, closing out with “Gold Chain Punk", which was just given a recent music video.
There was a very active crowd, but not a violent one. There was utter chaos moving all around me, with a rotating mosh pit, dudes flinging themselves on and off the stage, and even Jordan coming off to surf the crowd, yet everyone seemed so lost and simultaneously controlled in what they were doing. People were waving kicks in the air, pummelling everything forward, but not looking for a fight.
There’s a concept present in Diaspora Problems, the sentiment of fighting individualism, which fuels so many progressive combatants here in the United States. The album specifically lines out the dangers of capitalism layered with individualist pursuits and the need to build sustainable communities while physically fighting for something better for the larger good. You could feel that same sentiment present through Soul Glo’s close fans, which made up the majority of the crowd, as demonstrated by the merch worn and responses to lead singer Pierce Jordan asking the crowd if they “knew who we are”.
You could feel the emotion, and every participant just letting out their frustrations of the world while still simultaneously respecting the boundaries of one another.
The crowd was a little intimidating, with a handful of men looking and moving like they just came to fight, but at the end of the show when the music died down, when we all collectively stopped is when so many people paused and enjoyed each other. Nothing but daps and handshakes to go around.
The merch was good quality and affordable. The crowd was friendly and members reconvened after physically getting thrown off stage. The perils of the world are around us, but not in this room. Life is good.
Stream Diaspora Problems now.