The Hardcore Scene: Curse or Compromise?
For those of us that frequent the news of the music scene, it may seem that breaking up or taking an indefinite hiatus is something that’s becoming more and more common. For many bands, the pressure and stress of touring along with creative differences seems like too much work, leading to the loss of said bands all over the world. Is dedication to the music slipping, or is the industry itself becoming harder to keep your footing in?
In May of 2009, iconic positive hardcore band Have Heart announced their departure from the music industry altogether due to creative differences. Shorty after scheduling a massive world tour after obtaining the most positive commercial success that’ll probably ever be earned from a single hardcore group, Have Heart’s message struck a blow in straightedge hardcore scenes everywhere. Playing a final show on National Edge Day (October 17th for those of you that don’t know) that year, the band known for actually staying true through it all disbanded.
That same year, well-known post-hardcore group Scary Kids Scaring Kids decided to call it quits as well. Keyboardist and backing vocalist Pouyan Afkary’s blog post stated that the band would be taking a permanent break from performing together. Reasons for the band’s breakup were that although the band had been together since high school, the stress and pressure of touring and making music had caused the band to eventually grow apart. With a turn on 2009’s Vans Warped Tour and a lengthy farewell tour that included dates scattered around the US in early 2010, Scary Kids performed with friends Dance Gavin Dance and ModSun to sold out venues. Facing challenges like leaving fans after becoming such an appreciated band was something Scary Kids has to be credited for, especially when their crowds at Warped Tour (I myself saw them in 2009) were loud, passionate, and well received. Vocalist Tyson Stevens has since then begun a project called Currents, with hints that a possible Scary Kids reunion tour might be in the works sometime in the future.
After fans recovered from both bands saddening exits, another shock came almost exactly a year after Have Heart’s final show in the form of the announcement that Confide, another iconic post-hardcore band, would be breaking up after their tour in Japan and a handful of farewell shows. Confide was brutally honest about the reason for their breakup, all members contributing to the message that the breakup was a good thing and that members would all continue their ways in the industry but that touring was taking too much of a toll on their personal lives. This statement was met with a surprising amount of negativity, criticizing the band for leaving when their fanbase was developing so strongly. An equal amount of positive reviews ensued, fans supporting the band in their decision that it was right if the band thought it was right. Confide returned that year and played all their sold out farewell shows to select venues in Arizona, Nevada, Texas, and California. Confide played their final show on November 7th, 2010, playing with local bands they had previously shared the stage with and selling everything from instruments, microphones, merchandise, and the band’s very own band. The band met up for a single reunion show last year on September 4th, 2011, denying rumors of a speculating reunion tour in the works.
This string of bad luck isn’t completely over, however. In 2011, post-hardcore veterans Thursday decided to end their fifteen year reign over the scene with an announcement on their breakup on November 22nd. Personal reasons were listed as the cause, sort of promising sporadic performances by the band in the future, and a farewell tour shortly followed after. After a memorable presence on 2009’s Taste of Chaos Tour (they were the guys that went after Bring Me the Horizon) the band will be sorely missed for their revolutionary music that helped defined the genre that many concert goers know and love.
Overall, the hardcore scene has definitely faced a lot of hardships in the past. From the breakup of bands like Hopesfall to Alexisonfire (which led to the rise of guitarist and vocalist Dallas Green as successful folk act City and Colour) to the reformation of post hardcore band At the Drive-In, hardcore has had its ups and downs in the past years. I hope that hardcore bands (this can be applied to any artist in the industry), both new and old, can keep their strength and energy alive without compromising their priorities. With this, I pray that bands now can keep themselves together and focus on what they entered the industry for: the music, the fans, and the experience. Hardcore is a lifestyle, some can deal with it, and some simply can’t. Hats off to you if you do, it’s a lifestyle truly unlike any other.