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Photo Gallery: Knocked Loose / Stick To Your Guns / Rotting Out / Candy / SeeYouSpaceCowboy at The Bottleneck

Bryan Garris of Knocked Loose. Photo by Aaron Rhodes.
If you weren't yet convinced that Knocked Loose is dominating heavy hardcore this year, a Thursday night show in Lawrence, Kansas earlier this month with a turnout of nearly 500 should be evidence enough. Emerging after the PA playback of LeAnn Rimes' "Blue," bathed in blue light (to match their new album, "A Different Shade Of Blue"), the Oldham County, Kentucky crew let rip roughly an hour of sulky, metallic riffing and chugging, keenly accented by the piercing screams of vocalist Bryan Garris. The new "Blue" material is artistically a leap forward for the band, moving in a more mature -- but just as bold and aggressive -- direction in relation to its more heavy-handed beatdown past. Thankfully, almost every song new and old received a similarly rapturous response.

Warped Tour is over (if you want it). While Knocked Loose has made strides since the festival's recent demise, for Stick To Your Guns, it's business as usual. Though its melodic hardcore was executed with precision, the Orange County band's presence -- singer Jesse Barnett joked about begging to be added to the tour -- felt like an uncomfortable throwback on an otherwise forward-thinking bill. Following this acknowledgement of their sticking out, Barnett went on to rant in earnest about fans ditching "[their] Starbucks and Ariana Grande" for something more substantial.

Following an abrupt and slightly tumultuous breakup ahead of a 2015 Warped Tour schedule that included a Bonner Springs stop, Los Angeles hardcore band Rotting Out reformed last Spring, making this show its triumphant return to the area. The group's life-or-death urgency was palpable as it eagerly shared the stage with its fans in the most back-from-the-dead-type show the Kansas City area has seen since Tommy Wright III visited.

Rotting Out was preceded by Richmond's Candy. The phrase "genre-bending" is thrown around without much regard these days, but Candy's approach to hardcore could very easily be qualified as subgenre-bending. The band's hybrid sound -- able to deftly shift from East Coast hardcore mosh to death metal stomp to punk rock powerchords in the blink of an eye -- made its set highly rewarding for both hardcore nerds and mosh pit freaks alike.

The gig kicked off with a set from San Diego's SeeYouSpaceCowboy. The self-described sasscore outfit offered a punishing variant of nineties and aughts-indebted metalcore, punctuated by heart-on-sleeve emo guitar parts.

Full photo gallery here.

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