This weekend was a big one for DFW Hardcore, with emerging favorites in the scene, OZONE kicking off their latest tour with a local band super-show with Ballista, Gagging Order, and One in Tha Chamber. Ozone first emerged onto the scene in 2019, eschewing the traditional modern metal-adjacent hardcore sound for much welcomed return to punk roots. These guys are straight up, hard hitting hardcore that aren’t afraid of melody or embracing influences from other genres. Ozone is also signed to COREruption records, based out of San Antonio, and are putting out some of the best modern hardcore out there right now, even mailing out a monthly local music newsletter, Crazed Civilization, for free.
Denton’s Rubber Gloves was filled with camo hats and pants Thursday night as hardcore veterans came to spinkick each other while bands dropped beatdown after beatdown. Icons of the scene such as Mr. Grit, singer of outlaw country inspired local hardcore band “True Grit,” wearing his cowboy hat were there to support as 20-minute set after 20-minute set blew out the speakers. Trying to understand hardcore over music streaming is ultimately futile, as the excitement and angst of the genre can only be experienced when you’re guarding your temporarily unbroken nose, anxiously watching for crowd killers out of the corner of your eye. Gagging Order started off strong and carried the energy as their frontman disappeared for the last ten minutes of the set, carrying on the music while throwing down in the crowd. This is the same guy that yelled “punch the poser next to you” at the last Gagging Order show I attended.
As is typical for a Rubber Gloves show, after each violent set, everyone piles outside to the patio to have a cigarette and watch your favorite band members chase shots with beer at the bar. Always meet your heroes. Trying to get close enough to the stage to get shots of the bands had me feeling like a war reporter, trying to avoid a grown man stage diving onto the camera or a suckerpunch to the back of the head. Ballista followed soon after gracing us with some new songs from their upcoming EP, with singer River Elliott repping the 817 with a comically large Ozone hat, sadly absent from the merch table. After watching the One in Tha Chamber frontman scream into the mic in an Alien pick-me-up costume just to ultimately have it deflated by the mob below him, and guy next to me tell me about how he lost three teeth at the last show, Ozone took the stage, and the energy was indescribable. Playing their 20-minute album to completion, jackhammering crowd favorites like “Call the Shots” and “Give it a Rest” into the feral population below. Ending with what can only be interpreted as a warning “Stay Away,” played out the night with a slow, haunting chugfest. Tight, rhythmic riffs and fuzzy basslines joined forces with Joe Kelly’s passionate vocals and avant-garde appearance for a hardcore band to prove why they’re at the forefront of the Texas scene.