It looks like thousands of people showed up to Surabaya Hardcore Fest‘s 10th edition of the annual festivities…check out this recap video of the craziness! We wish we were there!
The organiers also released this super-cool collection of photos from the fest entitled Your Legacy, A Better Home…you can grab it for free at this link: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/12BR6GfPm4-h9HpvcTD1P6gWedqQQelbT
The photo collection also has some momentous words that the organizers of Surabaya Hardcore Fest were kind enough to translate into English for us!!! It’s awesome – go read it below.
HARDCORE LIVES IN SURABAYA!
Photo Credit: Bima Ramadhan
A Celebration of Nostalgia, Regeneration, and Surabaya Hardcore Heyday
James Joyce once dreamed that he could freeze time. His love for the city where he grew up, Dublin, caused him to summarize his memories under a premise: if the city one day suddenly disappeared from the Earth, it could be reconstructed out of my book. He entitled the manuscript as Dubliners. Through the book, Joyce summarized his memories of Dublin, that for him was the epitome of a jerk, an ignorant, warm, and eternal one.
Like Dublin, Surabaya was also built through various memories. A jerk of a city it is, an ignorant one, yet it is warm and eternal. As bad as it can be, Surabaya, with all its hubbub, is the perfect place to call home.
One of the moments of nostalgia is Surabaya Hardcore (SBHC).
After a hiatus that went on for four years, the periodical gigs initiated by the collective hardcore community throughout Surabaya was finally held again in 2020. Instead of only being a reunion concert, this year’s SBHC has become an inter-generation meeting venue. Older bands were back on stage and were united with a new audience, while the legions of the newer generations also received their most deserved spotlight.
Surabaya SBHC has routinely been an annual agenda since two decades ago. This event has been going on for two decades, totaling up to 10 shows since 2000. There were gap years here and there, but each time the event would come roaring back.
This year, SBHC took place at the Universitas Tujuh Belas Agustus Sports Building, Surabaya. The queue kept increasing during the afternoon. An hour and a half after the gate opened, 2000 tickets were sold out. Meanwhile, outside the arena, the audience waiting in line were already overflowing outside the building. Inside, the atmosphere was boisterous. The crowded sea of people never ceased to move. The moshpit split as if enraged, nobody could be stopped from stage diving. Some veteran gigs-goers seemed to blend in the atmosphere however, old-age prevented them from unleashing their true self for too long.
A few words about the creeping old age can be heard through the murmurs in the backstage. Old friends were greeting and hugging each other, praising their children from time to time to reminisce about their familiar past. The bands took turns occupying the spotlight, starting from the fierce new generation such as Crawl and Reminder, followed by older ones who defy time as Plester-X, Crucial Conflict, Fraud, The Riot, Speak Division, and Screaming Out, who had their reunion on stage.
Occasional chaos did occur. However, in the two decades running this festival SBHC has picked up some new ways of doing things. The most revolutionary is the awareness to create a safe space for women. Female audiences seemed to blend in just fine in the moshpit and had the time of their life without worry. While on stage, the bands kept their eyes on any chaos that might unravel.
When the youngsters with the style of Triple B Records a la Crawl stood on stage, a generation of veterans was seen throwing thems into the pit. Showers of sweat and applause were an expression of tribute to regeneration. Throughout the event, sentiments that relate to seniority were completely out of the conversation. When Reminder took over the show, there was no drastic change in the situation as the pit remained solid and heated.
The day descended into darkness and the space had gotten more cramped with enthusiasm. When Plester-X came on stage, the audience welcomed them with a long roar of applause.
Anthem repertoires like “Never Give Up, Point of Unity, Youth Crew”, as well as the legendary song “Family Pride” echoed through the night, dissolving the whole building with roars and choirs that were sung without command.
One moment of surprise occurred when Ayik, the former vocalist of Plester-X, suddenly went up on stage. His presence was welcomed by an embrace from his friends who longed for his return. He also took over the show and began to sing their repertoires. Several times his mic was snatched by the audience, yet he stood still and took his time relishing the moment as if he was scavenging his memories with the band throughout his youth.
After Plester-X got off the stage, the tension got heated up once again by the grindcore quartet performance, The Riot. Traces of their youth was gone, yet their performance on stage was absolutely excellent. Despite the lacking grinding speed compared to back in the old times, The Riot has not lost its fierce fire.
In addition, the appearance of Wolf Feet also captured the heart of the audience. One of the most boisterous, glorious, moments started when they set foot on the stage. When Blessed by The Street and their cover of Cock Sparer’s We Are Coming Back were sung, the whole building erupted their chants. Starting from the stage, the pit, up to the back, there was no space left sine the venue was fully loaded.
One of the sacred moments eventually arrived. When the end was approaching, and the last two bands were on stage, the audience increased instead. The one most expected performance was of Screaming Out, one of the bands from the old-school hardcore legion, a veteran who had decided to disband a few years ago, yet returned in their 10th SBHC reunion. It was as if they were repeating the event that happened two decades ago. Although not all members were present – without Firman ‘Badak’ – their performance was still tempestuous. During this reunion, they also presented Acun, their first vocalist.
Although their album was released a decade ago, the memory of Screaming Out remains in the hearts and minds of their audience. The songs on their only album were sung as if they were an ode to Surabaya. Screaming Out and the lyrics are close and interconnected with the everyday life of arek-arek (Surabaya youth), starting from the love of Persebaya, strong bonds among friends, and advice on this grim of a life.
Since “Sejati” was sung on stage, the audience never stopped to sing along until the end of the show. Their performance was so emotional since this might be their last performance on stage. The whole building chanted in unison when “Problematika Ego” roared the following verse: “God will not give his servant / a problem that can never be resolved.” The momentum was quite magical. When they finished the show, all personnel hugged and celebrated their
At the end of the event, Fraud, a hardcore monster of Surabaya, was most fitting to close the gig. Although they only performed three songs, the audience was allowed to choose their desired songs. Fraud never fails to present themselves with energy with jaw-collapsing sound quality. As usual, they could never avoid roars of applause and chants from their audience. “Today’s SBHC is a celebration of its two decades of life, as well as a reunion. It is a benchmark towards the heyday of hardcore like four years ago. Regeneration in the scene seems promising for the last two years. At the same time, this is proof that the fire incinerated by Surabaya Hardcore never goes out” stated Keceng, a guitarist from Fraud, as well as the event initiator.
Like Joyce’s Dubliners, SBHC is also a manuscript that captures memories through its gigs and music, in which a part of the stories expressed was of the grim life and the mischievous and beaten-up face of the youths frozen in a large diorama called Surabaya.