ALL INCLUSIVE: Terror at Back Booth in Orlando, FL

Photos & Story by Kevin Menendez

Orlando, Florida is a city that is obviously known for its wide range of theme parks and sensational year round weather, but what most are probably unaware of about Orlando is its passionate hardcore fanbase. I was lucky enough to be in town to check out Terror, who was out on the road in support of their latest release The 25th Hour. The show was at a small venue called Back Booth which is located in the heart of downtown Orlando, but you better know where you're going as there's not much signage out front to draw you in. However, once you're inside, you're in for a treat, especially with a lineup that I would consider the definition of complete. It was filled with bangers from top to bottom, and with hardcore heavyweights like Terror headlining, you know there is going to be a lot of movement in the pit. So if being shoulder to shoulder with the individual next to you is an issue, I suggest you get acquainted immediately. 

The lineup featured five acts, and the first two groups were Malfunction and Take Offense, neither of which carried the normal presence of openers. Malfunction from Buffalo, New York and Take Offense from Chula Vista, California both came out like they were shot from cannons, and without a single care if there was only one kid moshing around or a hundred. Both bands kept the crowd energized and moving. During the last song for Take Offense, the movement in the pit was so contagious that one of their own guitar players dropped his guitar and hit the pit, setting the tone for the rest of the night. 

Incendiary, from Long Island, New York was up next and it appeared early they were on a mission to prove a point, and that point was that they weren't going to be satisfied until everyone on the floor had jumped off stage. The tone that had been set prior to them taking the stage was raised, and the entire floor area had turned into one proverbial pit where everyone was welcome to join in - and just about everyone did (except for the guys like me who stood up on the back step out of harms way). The best part of the set came during their second to last song, though, where the microphone had gone out, and likely because of how many lunatics had sprinted across stage, grabbing ahold of it. But that didn't matter, because the second it blew, lead singer Brendan stood on stage yelling at the top of his lungs, and shortly after, everyone in the room was singing along a cappella style. It was easily on of the most fantastic things I've ever seen at a hardcore show. 

Now let me ask you a few questions, have you ever seen a band that's primary singer is their drummer? How about with a female guitar player that can rip with the big boys? Last but not least, have you even heard of Code Orange? They're from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and they're young and quickly making a name for themselves. From the second they hit the stage and exploded into "My World,” until the last note in "I Am King,” Code Orange proved that they're definitely not a gimmick. Drummer and main vocalist Jami brought it both with his pounding on the drums and furious vocals, and bassist Joe Goldman was running back and forth across stage simultaneously with stage divers. Anyone who wasn't taking them seriously instantly changed their minds as Code Orange came, was seen, and conquered the Orlando crowd. 

Now, before Terror could take the stage, I noticed something that was very out of the ordinary. One fan had finagled his way into the venue with a boogie board. Let me say that again: the dude had a fucking boogie board! From that second I saw it, I knew I was about to witness something remarkable. As the hardcore legends in Terror hit the stage, there was this synonymous feeling between band and crowd of two old friends running into each other after a long time apart, but they fell back into old routines instantly. Fans were encouraged and at times demanded to act a fool, to grab the microphone, and to even walk on someone's head. Vocalist Scott Vogel was able to turn the entire place into a frenzy, from front to back and even in the way back where I was standing. If that wasn't enough, the man with the boogie board plummeted off stage multiple times to try and ride the wave of fans for a far as they would take him. Terror played hardcore classics like "One With The Underdogs” and "Stick Tight,” as well as some new ones like the title track of their latest release entitled, "The 25th Hour" along with "Bad Signs" which already felt like a classic hit. Terror more than did their job in keeping the intensity level that was established by the openers up to maximum levels, and when they closed with "Keepers Of The Faith,” everyone in attendance knew it was last call for mayhem, and they held nothing back. The result was a thing of hardcore beauty. 

The people that come to Orlando and think it's all sunshine and theme parks are sadly mistaken. Orlando has a vibrant downtown area with a wide variety of bars, shops, and a fantastic hardcore scene. The most poignant takeaway from this show is that not only after numerous years of touring Terror is still on top of their game, but the future of hardcore is in good hands with acts such as Incendiary and Code Orange leading the charge.