I was expecting a five-act show, but by the time I got my ticket and photo pass and made it inside The Studio at The Factory in Deep Ellum, the first two bands had long finished playing. I had missed Zulu and TRiPPJONES, though I could hear the muffled sounds of their guitars, sample tracks, and shouted vocals from where I waited outside in the cold. Eventually, with the help of the tour manager, I made it into the venue.
From the back of the relatively small, crowded room, I caught the energetic final moments of Scowl’s set. Vocalist Kat Moss had clearly won the crowd over with her performance, ranging from pop-punk inspired singing to screaming and growling; even the guy running the merch stand was moshing in his own private pit.
I realized then that I had left my earplugs in my dorm room, so before making my way to the front of the crowd, I stopped by the restroom to fashion some make-shift earplugs out of toilet paper. I knew this was going to be a loud one.
It was my first time in front of the barrier at a concert, and the energy from the crowd was palpable at my back. Jesus Piece assembled onstage and commenced with a 30-minute onslaught of brutally heavy guitar riffs and a menacing vocal performance from frontman Aaron Heard.
Throughout Jesus Piece’s bombastic set, those more daring among the crowd fought their way on stage in order to launch themselves back into the crowd. I had never been to a show where audience members were permitted – assisted by security, even – to stagedive. It struck me as a form of expression wholly unique to the setting of a punk concert and turned the already high energy of the show up to 11.
Shortly after Jesus Piece finished their set, the headliner arrived on stage. Show Me the Body’s approach to performance could almost be described as stripped-back in comparison to Jesus Piece. Their stage lighting was much simpler, frontman Julian Cashwan Pratt’s audience interactions were sparse, and the band played a setlist with a more diverse array of tempo. None of this is meant as criticism, though, as the group clearly knew how to put on a show that was all killer no filler.
Show Me the Body’s performance was also marked by many an audience member running across stage and flying back into the crowd. It was quite mesmerizing to watch as these passionate, raging fans flung themselves with all their strength into the mass of people below; they almost resembled fighter jets flying over a battle field, which is fitting given the label “World War Tour.”
As Show Me the Body approached the conclusion of their set, Pratt stood eye-to-eye with his audience – right next to where I stood in the photo pit. As Pratt literally yelled in the faces of the crowd, the final stagediver leaped over him and grabbed the mic from his hands. The show came to an abrupt, but fitting conclusion when Pratt grabbed the mic back, said into it “We’ve been Show Me the Body,” and made his way onstage and out the back.