Snapcase, “Filter / Steps / Incarnation / Windows” – 6.22.1995
How the hardcore movement ever made it out of New York, I’ll never understand. It’s never been easily classified, is too abrasive for most casual listeners, and is often too testosterone-driven for mass consumption. It bridges the gap between punk and metal, and while fans of both genres rejoiced in it, most blew it off as a bunch of skinheads with brass knuckles.
Nothing could be more wrong.
The energy and dynamics of the great hardcore bands – and, yes, I classify Snapcase as one of the greatest – is rarely captured outside of the genre. While bands like Hot Water Music pulled the energy/dynamic out of the circle-pit and into the punk mainstream, it was bands like Snapcase, Refused and Threadbare that brought the genre to its highest point.
Away from the sludge, they added this brilliant listenability to the genre.
What gets lost in this video is the closeness of everything. These were all kids, and they all knew each other, and they all knew the words, and the energy must have congealed into a teeming mass of awesome. There weren’t any fights, I’m sure. There were just a bunch of friends feeling the highs and lows of the music, collectively experienced.
There’s a part of me that misses these sweat-box shows. They happened in basements and garages and small bars and they highlighted the intimate connection between band and audience.
Now? I’m exhausted just watching it. Exhausted – and grinning ear to ear.