Thursday, March 10
Last night 21-year Orange County grindcore veterans Phobia turned their 90-second blasts of anger, hate, and bloody-mouthed frustration into goddamn national anthems, tapping into the boiling vein that fuels crust punks and metalheads alike via their common bond: rage. For a full hour, the Charleston’s basement became a kind of community center for all fans of extreme music: Everyone was an equal-opportunity punching bag.
Given that few grindcore songs exceed a minute and a half, a good set isn’t so much about individual numbers, but rather how effectively the band can create and sustain the violence of the pit. Never one to break the mood, stout-jawed Phobia vocalist Shane McLachlan returned none of the crowd’s love throughout the barrage of blast beats and proto-grind riffs, choosing instead to bait the crowd into moshing harder. At one point he stopped and told us, “You guys are fucking seriously irritating,” an insult that doubled as a great motivator. You probably don’t want to know how it all felt, but here’s what it looked like: