CONCERT REVIEW: Knocked Loose – Show Me The Body – Loathe – Speed Live at Showbox Sodo

It is an odd thing to see bands on the rise. At capacity, Showbox Sodo in Seattle holds 1,800 people. To see Knocked Loose, Show Me The Body, Loathe, and Speed there for the Weapon of Choice Tour, is something is incredible to imagine. I have been to that venue many times, and of those, few were sold out. Still, the night was thick with hardcore energy and the venue floor filled up quickly.

Speed was a band that has garnered a ton of interest, and you could hear the fans in line say as much. A hardcore band from Australia, this was their first trip to the United States (and, subsequently, Seattle). However, when they took to the stage, the set wasn’t quite what you’d expect.  The band had good energy, their sound was good, the music was definitely hardcore you would want to throw down to, but the size of the room somehow consumed much of what was produced. Working in the photo pit, it was a great experience to see the band, but when our three songs were done and we moved to the side, the experience changed. To be clear, the band did nothing wrong, but you could almost see the energy change from the front row to the back, as though the performance was diluted.

When Loathe took the stage, I was hoping that things would change, as I believe Loathe have a bit of a fuller sounds, thick and layered (I’ll avoid making Deftones comparisons), but again this was all consumed by the size of the room (it is a tall room as well as large, which may have played a part). One advantage that Loathe certainly had was the vocals and lyrics, which called to the fans to sing and participate. In that participation, however, movement slowed down, and the set was again reduced to something less impressive than it was (having Loathe before in a smaller venue, I can say this with certainty). Reduction aside, the fans seemed quite happy, and I would say that the band put on a good set.

Show Me The Body (SMTB) is a curious trio. I have also seen them before and they emit an enchanting, bizarre, and slightly swampy, almost backwoods aura (in a good way), as though we are entering a territory we shouldn’t be in. Unpredictable and ill-fitting, SMTB embody a great punk spirit and hit the stage hard, which I hoped would overcome the sonic black hole residing in the room. Again, the band put on a great set but again it was lost to the air. SMTB seemed to have more luck in overcoming this than the first two acts and was rewarded with a much rowdier and active crowd. Moshing and crowdsurfing increased quickly during their set and the crowd looked truly alive for the first time of the night.

Again, none of the bands failed to put on a performance or play songs that the crowd wanted.  They were just up against a difficult and unseen obstacle. I worried that Knocked Loose (KL) would suffer this same fate and they did, but to a much, much lesser extent. The band is currently riding a strong wave and the crowd came to amplify that. The stage lit up with the signature cross that graces their new album, “You Won’t Go Before You’re Supposed To” (butt butt records) and the crowd roared, 1,800 voices that you could feel energy behind. The pit tripled in size from what it had been earlier, though it was fairly devoid of the hardcore dancing that was expected. Still, the crowdsurfing increased and the crowd surged. At one point, (GUITARIST) called for everyone to push the person next to them and nearly 1,300 people on the main floor ricocheted in all directions. 

Knocked Loose gave the crowd plenty of new material, plenty of favorites, and continued to ask the crowd to give everything they had. Bryan Garris gave a respectful shoutout to some local hardcore bands (Apex Predator, GAG, Odd Man Out) and the crowd may have cheered their loudest. KL’s set blazed by, and the night came to an end with a sea of smiling faces, but a notable number of disappointed fans as well, not due to the performance but due to the issues with the sound and energy, and the lack of a more aggressive, hardcore-typical pit.

It may be fair to label these things as growing pains, and I have no idea if other venues had this issue.  To see such a change from the front row to even the middle of the crowd was something I had not experienced many other times, but each of those seemed to be born of venue issues (or issues with the sound). As such, I’d have to see the bands in a different venue during this tour, which won’t happen, but this was a rough night to be a music fan. 

I have no idea how the musicians feel about each performance they play, but I’d be interested in hearing their thoughts


Buy music and merch from Knocked Loose:

Follow his work here: