Vincent Matthew Franco
Hardcore music veterans, Ceremony, did what they do best and wrecked Los Angeles’ Echoplex on Oct.13, in their headlining tour that began in late September with up and coming hardcore band SPY as support.
SPY set the pace with their tenacious riffs and driving bass lines that had the crowd in a frenzy as the pit opened up in a matter of seconds after the first note was hit. With a set that lasted for about 20 minutes, there was no telling if the crowd would be able to keep that same energy once Ceremony hit the stage.
Once SPY finished up and what seemed like a lifetime, Ceremony’s drummer, Derek Kanowsky, hit the stage by himself and went straight into the steady drum beat intro of the song “Into the wayside part 1/Sick” off of their 2010 “Rohnert Park” album.
Just like that, as that wooden stick hit the floor tom, and before the rest of the band even went on stage, the entire club went berserk. Slowly but surely as the drum beat built, human bodies flying left and right, the rest of the band joined.
Following Kanowsky was Guitarist Anthony Anzaldo, Singer Ross Farrah, Second Guitarist Andy Nelson, and Bassist Jasmine Watson.
Farrah immediately snatched the mic, going right into the lines, “Sick of drying up in the sun, sick of this island, sick of fun, sick of going sober.”
And in classic Ceremony fashion, everyone who could make their way on top of the stage, circled Farrah in efforts to get ahold of the mic and sing along, eventually resulting in a dog pile until the last words, “Sick of mankind” were sung.
With a career spanning over 20 years, it is no surprise how diverse the band’s discography has become. Getting their start as a power-violence band in the early 2000s to eventually leaning towards a more hardcore sound and ultimately landing were they are now as a post-punk band.
With such drastic change in sounds and the common trait of stubbornness that any hardcore music fan has, their fan base has no issue sticking around to see what this band has in store next.
Beginning their set with older songs off the album “Violence Violence” they transitioned into post-punk Ceremony, with songs like “The Separation” and “The Doldrums (FriendlyCity)” as the show went on.
Still to no surprise, people were hitting stage dives, reminding folks of the first rule of any hardcore show; elbows out.
In a short break Anzaldo switched out his guitar for a keytar, to play a couple songs off of “In the Spirit World Now,” their latest release from 2020. Right before Anzaldo had thanked the crowd for their loyalty and for allowing the band to grow musically over the years.
The crowd roared as the song started, and everyone was grooving along to the synth pop sound of their single “Vanity Spawned by Fear.” If anyone were to walk into the show at this point, it would have been hard to believe the people were climbing the pillars of the stage and diving off into the crowd.
Ceremony dove deeper into their post-punk sound with this latest release, giving listeners a more atmospheric experience with softer melodies, while managing to keep that same Ceremony energy we all know and love. It sounded like a mixture of post-punk legends Wire and synth-pop pioneer Gary Numan.
As the set came to an end, Farrah hinted at what song was going to be last by shouting into the mic “This ones for the punks, this ones for the skins” and just like that it clicked for everyone just what was about to go down.
Packed like sardines in a can, it seemed as if everyone, myself included, in the venue rushed onto the stage as the feedback from the guitar amp pierced our ears and loud crashes came from the drums, indicating the start of the song “Kersed.”
Those who managed to dog pile onto Farrah shouted the opening line “Pack your fist full of hate and take a swing at the world” like their lives depended on it. Before the song ended wires were unplugged and symbols were crashing as a result of the chaos and all that was heard was the yelling of the hundreds of fans singing the song as if it were etched on the inside of their eyelids.
The band left the stage shortly after, but the crowd did not move an inch, unless they were stealing the handwritten setlist like I was. Without missing a beat the crowd went into a chant, begging for one more song.
“Otra! Otra! Otra!” shouted the crowd to the beat of hands slamming on the stage.
And at that very moment Ceremony rushed back on stage, got their gear ready and smashed out one more tune. Closing off the set for real this time with “I Want To Put This To An End,” the perfect song to finish up a seemingly perfect set.
Just like the rest of the show, it did not take long for the venue to turn into a warzone, demanding participation from everyone in attendance. No one was safe from this kind of intense energy. Barely reaching two minutes and starting off by raging fast, this song ends with a breakdown that invites everyone back onstage to sing along to line of, “I’ve got problems I’m a fucked up kid, I’ve got problems I’m alone again.”
Just like that Ceremony left this Los Angeles crowd beat and battered with a huge smile on their faces.
Vincent Matthew Franco can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Vincent Matthew Franco is a senior journalism major with a concentration in print and online journalism. He has been involved in journalism and print media in high school, community college and is now at the social media editor of the Campus Times and a staff photographer for the Campus Times and La Verne Magazine. He previously served as arts editor.