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The Art of Performance: Jesus Piece at The Observatory

Unbridled, explosive, and downright uncompromising.

Photograph by Joshua Alvarez

Text, Photographs by Joshua Alvarez (@joshua.jam3s) in Santa Ana, CA:

On April 14th, Jesus Piece will release their sophomore full-length, ...So Unknown, via Century Media, further cementing themselves among hardcore's most prominent contemporary bands. Until then, the magnitude of this next chapter surrounds the band as they level stages across North America alongside Scowl, Zulu, and headliners Show Me The Body. We made it down to The Observatory in Santa Ana to document Jesus Piece spearheading this celebration of the genre's trailblazing efforts.

The Observatory was alive early on and it only escalated upon the entrance of the Aaron Heard-led Jesus Piece, who opened their performance with ripping fan favorite, Curse of the Serpent. There were no barricades and no photo pit, facilitating a true hardcore party comprised of on-stage camaraderie, crowd surfing, and joyous violence.

Photograph by Joshua Alvarez

The rhythmic thunder of Jesus Piece is a feat to behold beyond its studio recordings. No elaborate lighting rigs or props are needed to supplement the sheer power that radiates from their live stage, as one could see once An Offering To The Night had its turn. It followed up with a showcase of drummer Luis Aponte's excellence, which kept the tone alternating from breakneck barrages to filthy breakdowns while Anthony Marinaro delivered vibrant bass grooves. Santa Ana was a frenzy two tracks in, and it only continued as hits like Workhorse, Conjure Life, and Neuroprison came up.

There was little breathing room provided in between tracks, making for one intense outing that was worth photographing. David Updike and John Distefano held their own on the guitars were locked in throughout the madness. Heard made use of every inch of that Observatory stage — jumping, punching, and kicking. Jesus Piece built off the audience's energy, as one should, and closed the memorable outing with a bombastic double hitter that is Oppressor and Conjure Life.

Photograph by Joshua Alvarez

Jesus Piece are among the best live performers today. Their brilliance lies in both their invigorating physical expression and musical ability, each of which is on an upper echelon. It's an art form to harness sonic and lyrical rage, and have it only guide, not control, the performance. With Aaron Heard standing tall as a commanding presence at the helm, those lucky to be in attendance find themselves at the mercy of the band's blood-curling persona. From beginning to end, Jesus Piece batter you in and never once cease to amaze with peak performing ability, the likes of which is set to expand following the release of their highly anticipated new album.

Scroll through a performance photo gallery below and get tickets to upcoming shows.


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