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Xerxes drives up the energy. Photo by David Summers

The Noise Academy is really just a long room adjacent to Aladdin Jr.’s, a Mediterranean restaurant in Pomona. But as far as a hardcore venue goes, it’s perfect. There were other bands (Stresscase and Plagues) playing this show but I only got there in time to catch Code Orange Kids and Xerxes. Both bands eschewed the stage and played on the floor, really driving up the energy of the room.

Code Orange Kids, recently signed to Deathwish Inc., hail from Pittsburgh and are incredibly young—most of the members are just out of high school. That being said, the style of hardcore that these guys (and girl) play is incredible. The riffs alternate between jagged and sludgy while their three(!) vocalists scream over them. In fact, the only word I can use to describe their music is heavy, and not just in the traditional sense. Every song feels like it’s physically crushing you as you listen, and that’s just on the album. Live, this feeling of incredible weight is even greater. The energy that this band brings to their performance is incredible, perhaps the most I have ever seen. Drummer/main vocalist Jami has to be seen to be believed, as the intensity he brings to both of his roles simultaneously boggles the mind. Their set was twenty minutes of pure chaos and saw a few halfhearted attempts at moshing/hardcore dancing, but these attempts petered out by the end, probably due to the emotional and even physical exhaustion that their music brings.

After the absolute devastation that Code Orange Kids brought came Xerxes (No Sleep Records). Xerxes are a band from Louisville, KY that blend straightforward hardcore aggression with melodic instrumentation that, at times, approaches post-rock. Their songs have fast parts, slow parts, heavy parts, and melodic parts, but never quiet parts. Like Code Orange Kids, the intensity of Xerxes’s performance was incredible, but unlike Code Orange Kids, the chaotic element was restrained. Their set was polished to a degree that hardcore bands rarely are, but their intensity and energy didn’t suffer for it, a rare trait in any band.

Check out Code Orange Kids and Xerxes and keep an eye peeled for them coming back to LA/the Inland Empire.

Julian Rippy