Published on April 9th, 2014 | by Daniel Salas


Five bands to catch at Bleak Outlook

April 11 through 13, local festival Bleak Outlook returns for its second year, with s.e.s. presents bringing together 28 bands from across the country to Tacoma for three days of metal, punk, and hardcore music.

Spanning eight shows at almost as many locations, the festival showcases many of the Northwest’s heaviest and loudest bands.bleak outlook

With less than a week before the festival kicks off, you may find it difficult to decide which bands from the expansive list you need to see, whether you’re a dyed-in-the-wool headbanger or you’re just beginning to venture into the chasm of loud rock music.

Here we offer a guiding light to help you traverse the packed weekend.

Kramer (TAC)

kramerTacoma-locals Kramer play scuzzy garage punk with a surfy vibe, but don’t let the sunny quality fool you; these guys play fast and hard. With a sound like The Sonics on pills, Kramer is upbeat and heavy with enough catchy hooks and energy to pull in fans of classic rock ‘n’ roll and punk rock alike. The New Frontier, April 13, 7 pm. 21+ Bandcamp

Agatha (OLY/SEA)


Agatha is one of the few groups playing the festival unafraid to put their politics at the forefront. As a hardcore punk group representing queer identities, the group’s multiple vocalists voice the anger and frustrations of being out in America, unapologetically and with aplomb. Hailing from Olympia, Agatha offers a refreshing change of pace from the overtly masculine personas of many of the festival’s other bands with their uncompromising, potent sound. Aurora House, April 13, 1 pm. Bandcamp

New Gods (SEA)

With a sound that recalls early Dischord and SST acts (think Black Flag or Minor Threat) Seattle’s New Gods scratches an itch for stripped down and raw hardcore punk. On “Sex & Destroy,” singer Alex Klump, who joined the band after his bandmates discovered videos of him moshing and stage diving on YouTube, deconstructs conservative societal views on human sexuality with a swagger and a snarl. Klump’s thoughtful lyrics and stage antics coupled with the group’s driven, classic sound make New Gods a band not to miss this weekend. The New Frontier, April 13, 5 pm, 21+. Bandcamp


Hazzard’s Cure (SF)

Hazzards Cure  Taylor Keahey

Photo by Taylor Keahey

If hardcore punk isn’t your thing, you might be interested in the doomy, epic sound of Hazzard’s Cure. Their complex, well-constructed metal is at once both classical and modern in its inclinations, fitting for the bearded wizard vibe they’ve got going for them. Hazzard’s Cure’s songs are heavy, grandiose, and slow-building, with a worthy payoff when everything kicks in. The Fifth Dimension, April 12, 1 pm. Bandcamp


Blank Boys (OLY)

blank boys murray bowles

Photo by Murray Bowles

Like New Gods, Blank Boys owe more to punk groups of the 80s than to their peers, but their speed and intensity is far from outdated. Frontwoman Kayla Blicker delivers introspective lyrics with raw power over blistering-fast instruments, combining for blazing, forceful hardcore punk. 2nd Cycle, April 13, 8 pm. Bandcamp

Last year, Bleak Outlook commemorated the closing of one of the only sanctioned all-ages venues in Tacoma. This year, the outlook is a perhaps a little less bleak – our all-ages options may be limited, but like Squeak N Squawk or the Alder Arts Walk, Bleak Outlook is another much-needed avenue through which bands and artists can gather to celebrate the importance of making and sharing live music.

 Featured photo of Blank Boys by Murray Bowles.

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About the Author

Daniel Salas is an intern at Post Defiance. A senior at University of Puget Sound, he enjoys playing guitar and drums in various local bands. His last name is a palindrome.

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