Flint-Town punkers 1876 brought their raw, heavy hitting post hardcore sounds to Dirt Fest with an innovative blistering musical attack upon our senses.
One of the things I enjoyed most about Dirt Fest was wandering around the smaller local band stages and checking out numerous bands of which I have never heard of before. What I noticed is that the festival organizers did an excellent job picking the bands for these stages as most of these bands were as good as, if not better than, some of the bands playing among the larger stages. It was at one of these stages that I discovered my new favorite band, 1876.
This 4-piece, Fernando Solis (Vocals), Joseph Allsop (Guitar), Justin Benyo (Drums), and Joshua Porter (Bass) put on an exciting volatile live performance that sucked in every passerby who happened to be in the area.
Fernando had me mesmerized from the first scream into his microphone. Iâ€™ve never seen someone so into his singing.
Musically, I heard early 80â€™s influenced hardcore punk reminding me of such bands as Negative Approach and Black Flag mixed with Inside Out (late 80â€™s Zack de la Rocha pre-Rage Against The Machine) and a modern touch of Refused, Converge, and the Dillinger Escape Plan.
Fernando had me mesmerized from his first scream into the microphone. Iâ€™ve never seen someone so into his singing. He was a madman his whole time on stage. The area in front of the stage quickly filled up with others who were as enamored with his explosive performance as much as I was. There were times when his face would turn red and his eyes seemed to bulge out, as if his inner rage would surely send a stream of blood through his sockets. Then, sometimes he would switch to singing a chorus which, at times, reminded me of Cedric Bixler from At the Drive-In.
During the set, Fernando would dive into the crowd and wander out towards the back of the crowd to escort them to the front. Whether by singing to them, talking to them, touching them, or even by just looking at them, Fernando definitely had a way of communicating with his audience. Whichever way he used, he was able to draw a relatively large crowd within the first few songs of the bandâ€™s performance.
During the middle of one song, Fernando climbed up to the top of the speaker stack to take a look around. Without missing a word, he then climbed on top of the sun-shade roof covering the stage walking to the highest middle point. This was an amazing feat as the roof is simply nothing more than a canvas style material like that of a tent! He finished the song from probably the highest point possible of any performer there at Dirt Fest then grabbed ahold of the metal bar supporting the roof to swing down back into the crowd.
The band was drenched in sweat and exhausted by the last note of their last song as they put everything they had into their performance and played as if it were going to be the last time they ever played again.
Our photographer, Thom Seling, was on hand to catch some of this explosive performance in action. Here are some of those images.
I had some time to sit down with the band to ask them a few questions. We talked about the history of the band, touring, their recordings, and the future. Here is that interview.