Last night, the floor of the Glasshouse floor was packed. Pushed tight up against the stage, crowd surfers climbed over, jumped on, and smashed into one another. For one hour, Pennsylvania punk rockers Title Fight put on an amazing performance. The set included older songs like “Symmetry” and “No One Stays on Top Forever” along with the single “Be A Toy” from their upcoming release Spring Songs.
It was a high energy show. There were crowd surfers standing up and head walking, there were people who jumped from the five foot stage and fell flat on their back, their feet pushing off faces and rolling over the tops of heads. Through it all, Title Fight never stopped playing. The show was relentless.
See also: Title Fight Embraces the '90s
The current hardcore landscape can be a confusing muddled mess. There are heavy sounding straightedge bands that have stepped away from the original message and preach violence. There is a DIY scene of people preaching radical views whose music is often less heavy, and there is a pop-punk scene with bands that skyrocketed to mass popularity. These often straightedge groups claim to be a part of hardcore culture, but don't necessarily have all that much credibility.
Title Fight undoubtedly belongs in the pop-punk based category. Often wearing hardcore merch and practicing the principles of youth crew straightedge groups, the band had a hardcore element and considered themselves to be hardcore kids. But while they may have lived by the mindset and message of hardcore, they were in no way preaching it. Title Fight's first release in 2009, The Last Thing You Forget, the band found popularity in their hometown of Kingston, Pennsylvania shows, playing amongst other pop-punk bands in the local scene. The album was released by Run For Cover Records, known mostly for emo and pop-punk releases like Tigers Jaw, Turnover, and Basement. Now, the band has evolved to a place where they are no longer pop-punk, but are still far from being a hardline hardcore group.
The show opened with Slingshot Dakota, a female fronted two-piece that mostly lives in the DIY punk scene. Next was Cruel Hand, an aggressive modern hardcore band who gave shutouts to southern California groups Rotting Out and Alpha and Omega. The last two bands on the lineup, Balance and Composure and Title Fight, both fit into the punk scenes more mainstream end.
In a recent interview, the band's bassist and main vocalist Ned Russin spoke to this, saying, “I grew up in an area where all types of bands played together. It would be more melodic bands, hardcore bands, ska bands, it was all kind of under the umbrella of underground music.” Based on the band's history and knowing the genre lines within California's scene, it initially didn't seem that Russin was all that serious. At last night's show, however, it became clear that he's dedicated to fusing communities together and overcoming the stagnant pop-punk scene that Title Fight has been tied to.
The Crowd : Wall-to-wall Backtrack t-shirts
Overheard in the Crowd : “I can't crowd surf; I'm wearing a skirt.”