It’s a Friday afternoon in Coney Island, and the weather is perfect for a day at the beach -- cloudy, warm, and a bit humid, but not swelteringly, swamp ass-inducingly hot like it’s been in New York City recently. Whether people are lined up for roller coasters, various carnival games, fishing off the pier, or just to grab a Nathan’s hotdog and an ice-cold, extra large beer, everyone seems to be in a fantastic mood. As the sun starts to set, the boardwalk slowly begins to fill with young people heading up the beach in the direction of Ford Amphitheater. Grey Day, one of the absolute coolest tours of the summer bringing together hardcore and hip hop -- featuring $uicideboy$, Denzel Curry, Turnstile, Trash Talk, City Morgue, Germ, and Shakewell -- is about to begin.
As everyone files into the amphitheater and heads to their designated spot the venue is, confusingly enough, blasting John Mellencamp, Tom Petty, and Bob Seger. If there’s one thing this tour stands for, it’s that “genre” might very well be dead and you can like whatever the hell you want, so no one seems to mind (and even if they do, they’re too engrossed in their excited chatter to pay it much notice). Before the show even starts, the line to buy merch -- from both the hip-hop and hardcore bands -- wraps all the way across the back of the venue and out the door.
The show kicks off when LA’s Shakewell -- previously of the hardcore/metalcore band Betrayal -- takes the stage. The rapper seems entirely comfortable being the gateway to the evening, walking to the edge of the stage and telling the crowd to start a wall of death. “Let’s start this off right,” he commands. “Split this room in half.” It’s only 7pm and still light out, but the crowd obeys. Two masses of bodies rush toward each other and clash, but some look on in confusion from the back of the pit. “If you’re looking at me and not responding, then fuck you,” he says.
Atlanta’s Germ is up next. Signed to $uicideboy$’ own label, G59, it makes sense that he’s one of the openers, and he is met with rapt attention from the audience. He, too, commands bodies to crash together in the general admission up front. “Open this pit up. Open it the fuck up,” he insists. When an apparent fight breaks out in front of him, he pauses to say, “None of that fighting shit.” Shakewell comes back onstage, briefly, and the two alternate taking long drags straight from a bottle of cough syrup. The bass in their production is so heavy that the screens to the sides of the stage are visibly shaking.