Club Congress is a ritzy-looking bar that borders on a dive, with its qualifications as such hinging on its historic use by renowned bank robber, John Dillinger, who used Congress’s dual hotel identity as a stop while on the lam. Since those days, Congress sits clenched within chaotic streets of downtown Tucson, enduring the area’s recent, revitalizing upheaval, acting as a mecca for college students and music enthusiasts alike. March 4th was a day of particular note, with the club’s usual tranquility consisting of clinking glasses and impromptu conversations broken by an unholy feast of punk, powerviolence and death metal, with Congress serving as the jumping point for Gatecreeper and Fuming Mouth’s west coast tour.
The stage, nestled in one of the hotel’s lower arms, was punished by an ever escalating violent energy, as each of the evening’s five bands exerted their unique brands upon it. Get a Grip, a local Tucsonan skate punk outfit, opened the ceremonies with their swift, though bludgeoning, old school punk, not unlike the punk bands of the late 80s.
Fuming Mouth, the evening’s only touring, non-Arizona band, took up arms next, with the Milford, MA outfit suffocating the crowd with their booming death metal and grating crust. Truly one of the evening’s best sights to behold, and feel, with their crushing performance rattling bones, threatening to churn your innards to mush, making for a highly recommended live set. Sorrower’s performance crawled onto the patio, signaling their arrival with a monstrous aura and guttural urgency, arresting us with their bombastic set, entrancing myself and other attendees into slow, neck-snapping headbangs.
Sex Prisoner churned those attending into a roiling mess, with their frenetic powerviolence blessed by a baptism of kicks, punches and general violent enthusiasm. Despite brief technical difficulties, Sex Prisoner’s renowned energy and attentive fan base kept the blood lust alive throughout their performance.
Gatecreeper opened with their usual “Void Below,” naturally exciting the crowd into a sea of headbangs. This band never ceases to amaze live, nor does one ever exit their sets unscathed. Bodies were flung from stage to floor, while clothes and glasses were ripped and crushed underfoot. With their buzz saw efficiency, Gatecreeper tore into the evening with a ravenous hunger, milking the heaviest parts of their songs to yield the most brutal output from the crowd. All in attendance were left awestruck, beaten and strung out by night’s end, and we’re grateful for it.
Gatecreeper and Fuming Mouth are currently on tour throughout the west coast. Dates can be found below.