After a successful inaugural year, Philadelphia’s Break Free Fest returns to The Rotunda this weekend for two days, bringing POC and other marginalized voices in the punk scene together and to the front. All week long leading up to the event, we’re highlighting some of the performers on the bill.
Kind! Crew / Boston, MA
Kind! Crew is a Boston youth crew hardcore band. Their music is fast and heavy and their socially conscious lyrics – “Spreading a message of love, equality, and well-being” according to their Bandcamp – are delivered in both English and Spanish. Break Free Fest is their first time playing Philadelphia. For this interview we spoke with guitarist Seth.
1) Who is in the band, how long have you been around for, and how would you describe what you’re doing to someone who might not be familiar?
Kind! Crew formed just over a year ago with Fernando (vocals), George (drums) and Seth (guitar). Our original bassist, Zumi had to move back to his native Japan due to his visa expiring and we have since added Craig as a second guitarist, and our new bassist Tanner.
Our main influences as far as ethos are bands like 7 Seconds, Insted, and Turning Point: bands who could unite a scene and had a certain social consciousness in their music. Musically, growing up in a place like Boston with a lengthy history of hardcore, our influence falls more in line with bands like Righteous Jams, Mental, and Ten Yard Fight.
2) What are you most excited about when it comes to Break Free Fest?
As a general rule, Kind! Crew wants to play to any crowd that will give us ten minutes of their time and energy. That being said, this band is fronted by a bilingual Latinx vocalist and the primary songwriting is done by an interracial-transnational Korean-American adoptee and in the context of our scene, we feel most comfortable with our peoples.
Break Free Fest is an outstanding platform for marginalized groups to be our true selves in a way that only people with those shared experiences can identify with. This is our first time playing the fest, but on a personal level I am already expecting it to feel something like a homecoming for anyone who ever felt like an outsider or “token” attending shows in a predominately white scene.
3) Talk to me about your local scene/community and some bands or anything else going on that you want to rep:
Boston Hardcore has been in a bit of a lull but there are plenty of indicators that the tides are turning. First, newer bands like Pummel and Vantage Point have become local staples and in a way carry much of the weight of the future on their backs.
Next, bonds of friendship are being formed beyond Boston in the New England scene and new bands seem to be feeding off each other’s achievements. Connecticut has great newer bands and I’d like to personally shout out Anxious and the Darien youth, Restraining Order, Side Piece, and Kidnapped.
Younger people in Boston are stepping up as far as booking shows, putting out zines, and making efforts to engage new heads in the scene.
The older heads still care and have been very passionate about elevating younger bands. FREE is coming out with a much anticipated full length. COA still is an incomparable force. The scene vets in No Exceptions are taking the kids to school.
Despite the lull, it’s a very exciting time to be involved in Boston.
Break Free Fest takes place April 26th and 27th at The Rotunda at 40th and Walnut in West Philadelphia; single-day tickets and all-weekend passes to the all-ages event are available here.
Break Free Fest, Complex