No matter how high they go, the Kentucky crew will best be felt as the ground level.
Words + Photos by Luis (@luis.hoa):
Upon the announcement of their recently concluded tour run, Knocked Loose was clear in their intention: small rooms, no barricades, friends. For a band that has amassed the cult following that they have over the years, one could surely wonder why a decision was made to stick to lower capacity venues. Having shot and covered their 2019 performance at the House of Blues in Anaheim, CA, there's clearly no doubt that they can pack a larger setting. However, it has never been about the bright lights and glamour for Knocked Loose. There's no need for cinematic intros, pyrotechnics, or festival sized lighting rigs for that Knocked Loose represent extends beyond that of commercial success. They have a community, a community of likeminded listeners that hold the hardcore unit in high regard as a band that excel musically with a driving message. As they continue to trailblaze through the genre's ranks, their October 4th performance at the Lodge Room in Highland Park (Los Angeles) proved that no matter how expansive their fan base has grown to be, Knocked Loose will forever and always remain grounded.
The unfortunate rainy day traffic and a long commute from a brief vacation in the California central valley of Paso Robles may have prevented us from catching opening acts Kharma and Magnitude, but we remained committed to witness the extremity. Just after checking in, co-headliners Gatecreeper were doing a routine soundcheck that began to draw the hundreds towards the stage room. Hallways were buzzing, merch lines were crowded, and the concert ambiance was in full swing. Once Eric Wagner's riffing reigned on, hell broke loose and the push pits began. Gatecreeper, who released An Unexpected Reality earlier this year, continue to resemble the contemporary strength of the death metal genre. Their live showings remain as vigorous as ever and frontman Chase Mason retains a commanding stage presence as he growls through a stable of standout tracks.
The revered Flamethrower from 2016's Sonoran Depravation, with exquisite opening riff and all, still pummels in you nicely, and even more so via the live setting. As Mason walked across the stage, Wagner and new guitarist Israel Garza let the riffs and their hair fly as they raged through a string of heavy-hitters, the likes of which included Puncture Wounds, Starved, Sterilized, and Patriarchal Grip.
Their setlist was divided well between their three full-lengths and MLP, An Unexpected Reality, Deserted (2019), and Sonoran Depravation, pleasing those who have been there from the start and those who have just jumped aboard the hype train. Gatecreeper delivered a thrilling affair amidst a smoky fog and vibrant green lights that made their stage persona that much more menacing. Pairing this Arizona force with an act as exhilarating as Knocked Loose was the ideal choice for a touring bill of underground scale, so kudos to the mind behind the decision! Enjoy a photo gallery of Mason and co. below.
From green we transitioned to blue. Knocked Loose was up next and a continued celebration of A Different Shade of Blue (2019) was in order. We may be past the pre and post-release excitement of the record, but what transpired tonight proved that it still explodes as hard as it first did two years ago. It was initially celebrated on a tour run of larger capacity venues, like the House of Blues in Anaheim, but it's truly a record that is best felt on a more personal level, up front and direct with frontman Bryan Garris. There weren't any crowd dives back in Anaheim due to the venue's strict security policies, but here at the Lodge Room, the circumstances were quite distinct. Bodies flew from the get go and the Knocked Loose was well underway.
The band squeezed in a few new offerings from their recently released A Tear in the Fabric of Life EP, a brief and brutal collection of the band in prime form. Where Light Divides the Holler from the EP made an appearance and though audiences were unfamiliar of the then-unannounced track, that didn't stop anyone from causing a storm. In true hardcore fashion, there was no shortage of ecstatic fans jumping off the stage as a large pit opened up in the center. With gems like Trapped In The Grasp of a Memory, Denied By Fate, Belleville, By The Grave, and more, the Lodge Room was turbulent every second of the way.
Frontman Bryan Garris, guitarists Isaac Hale and Nicko Calderon, bassist Kevin Otten, and drummer Kevin Kaine are a united front of imposing capabilities. As Hale jumps high, Garris kicks and parades around the stage while Kaine levels the venue with a drum performance to appreciate. Though much tamer, Calderon and Otten, who were on the right side of the stage, held their own and kept the rhythm and bass high octane at all times. Tre Harris, Bryan's brother, joined the group for Deadringer and like his sibling, let the audience have it with a signature Knocked Loose aggression. Each member built off the crowd and one another's energy with every facial expression being representative to that of the joyous camaraderie that was visible among the crowd. Fans cheers, hugged, and raised their fists in unison as Knocked Loose belted out the hits, one after the other.
Sure, a photo pit area and a barricade would've been of preference for photographers trying to avoid the wave of crowdsurfers and moshpits, yet it's this very dynamic of the show that makes getting shots all the more rewarding. Knocked Loose chose not to go the larger route, and rightfully so, for they remain true to their audience and prefer to be in the presence of those who have rode alongside them for the past several years. If you've yet to witness a Knocked Loose show, let this be a sign for making it a priority whenever they make it to your neck of the woods. They're relentless, electrifying, but more importantly, honest. What you see is what you get and Knocked Loose provide a genuine show for those with an itch for the extreme.
Knocked Loose is for the people.
A Different Shade Of Blue and A Tear in the Fabric of Life are now available via Pure Noise Records and can be purchased/streamed HERE.