For a band such as Beartooth, live performances are not only an integral part of their career—as is the case with almost all rock bands—but they also seem to be the prime reason for their existence as a band. Where most bands pour their most of their material and emotional resources into making records in the studio, and then tour in support of those albums, Beartooth’s LP and EP seem to function primarily as promotional material for the live shows that they put on.
The musical trajectory of the night was, as one could guess by now, not particularly complex: the band’s set was preceded by two support acts who played similar music to Beartooth, whose main goal that night was to keep the audience moshing—and whose names escape my memory. The songs from each band consistently delivered the typical post-hardcore formula of heavy, repetitive riffs, screamed vocals and, to their credit, sporadic reminders that we (the audience, as well as the performers) were there to have a good time, and that there was no excuse for not going as hard as possible. Indeed, the mosh pits grew increasingly enthusiastic, and towards the end of the night Beartooth had the audience—most of whom were under the age of eighteen—thrashing all over the place.
Despite being monotonic and forgettable, Beartooth’s performance is exactly what fans of the genre expect and desire. They offer a chance to really let loose, and the brand of aggression that bands like this express, as anyone who has ever been a teenager will understand, provides its audience with a beautifully simple kind of catharsis.