Photo Gallery: HIRS / G.N.A.T. / Doubledrag at Awful House

HIRS
HIRS is a Philadelphia thrash institution. The duo has been responsible for multiple releases every year since 2011, but it wasn't until the past year or two that they gained a critical amount of traction within the larger world of rock music outside of the DIY punk scene. This boost in visibility is largely thanks to their prolific tendencies and a new LP called "Friends. Lovers. Favorites.," a 30-song effort filled with grinding, hyper-urgent hardcore punk chaos and guest appearances from the likes of Shirley Manson, Laura Jane Grace, Martin Crudo, Alice Bag, Sadie Smith, and other punk rock royals.

The band's May 20 performance at Awful House was the stuff of maximalist, loud and heavy hardcore dreams and a moment of celebration for the city's queer punk population. Between HIRS' minute-long blasts were sampled dance songs, bits of feminist propaganda, and one brief confession from vocalist/drum programmer JP about overcoming a struggle with suicidal thoughts in earlier years. Before giving into the punks' demands for an encore -- which is itself a rarity -- JP proclaimed that she just wanted trans youth to wake up tomorrow. In a setting as cruel as America in 2018, it's rare to see so many societal outcasts beaming in unison and HIRS was to thank for that.

Five months after the release of their demo, St. Louis punks G.N.A.T. made their second visit to Kansas City. Their 10 minute set of tried-and-true Midwest hardcore punk was off to a strong start, but a percentage of the momentum they built during the first few songs was lost when they were forced to spend 30 minutes waiting for the PA to be fixed before playing their final few tracks.

Doubledrag's vocalist was drowned out by his band, possibly due in part to an inadequate PA, but that wall of sound the band was producing could compete with some of today's most popular acts within the genre. The enchanting lulls and passionate soloing showed the band's versatility.

The show was opened by Kansas City noise artist Cholera.

Full photo gallery here.

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