This is Hardcore: Dig into the roots of the punk rock fest beginning tonight at Union Transfer

This is Hardcore Festival 2008 | Photo by Ken Penn |

Now in its seventh year, This is Hardcore Fest has evolved into a multi-site music festival which brings together bands less than a decade old – like Pennsylvania-based Title Fight – with bands like Suicidal Tendencies and the Cro-Mags, who first took to a stage in the early 1980s. Theoretically at least, what binds them all together is something called hardcore.

The word is vague, but if you were wondering, it refers to a spin-off sub-genre of punk rock that had fully taken on its own identity by the mid-1980s (or the early 1980s, depending on who you ask). Where punk bands were often deliberately shambling and sloppy, hardcore bands were generally tight and disciplined. Where punk bands were frequently androgynous, hardcore was intensely masculine. Whereas punk was generally libertine, hardcore was ascetic, with bands like Youth of Today emphasizing abstinence from drugs and alcohol, some, like Earth Crisis, focusing on strict veganism, and some Krishna-affiliated bands even calling for strict sexual abstinence. (Don’t believe me? Check it out.) Continue reading →