Photo Essay & Review of
Borderland Massacre Fest ‘14
El Paso D.I.Y. Borderland Massacre Fest ‘14
Punk culture is known to be very independent from what any other “big band” is trying to get: fame, money, contracts, awards. Cities like New York, Los Angeles, Austin, Boston, Philadelphia, etc., are known for their big festivals, most of them full of young punk bands from all across the country, but what’s happening in the desert? What do the people from West Texas do? Are there any punks? Any D.I.Y. Culture? El Paso has been considered “the pass” for many touring bands for years; people are used to going out of town to see bands. But if we talk about underground art and music, El Paso is becoming one of the most important cities in Texas. El Paso has now established itself as the homebase for D.I.Y. underground shows as the host of Borderland Massacre Fest since 2013. The struggle to get bands to come down and play in this humble city has vanished, there is actually a very solid network of bands in the crust/thrash/punk/grind/hardcore genres that has been developing as local bands from El Paso meet bands on the road.
There is a growing collaboration between the cities of the southwest which has forged a lasting connection. Borderland Massacre Fest has put El Paso on the map for touring bands. Bands from Dallas, San Antonio, Austin and Houston had a pretty good set of bands to make the BMF happen. One of the cities that has a major role in making BMF special is Tijuana. For the second year in a row, El Paso had the honor of working together with some of the TJ’s most insane underground crust bands – Biocrisis in the 2013, and Coaccion in 2014 as the special guests of the night.
The first year of the Borderland Massacre Fest was a great experience and brought many bands involved in D.I.Y. subculture to El Paso. With a trusted group of people who were down to volunteer and help make this a reality, the first BMF went down without a hitch. The city was facing a venue crisis, and the authorities were cracking down hard on the D.I.Y venues at the time, so the first day of the BMF was hosted at a house because of that. Once the smoke cleared, it was more that obvious that people in El Paso would be down to support such an adventure, and that is why BMF 2014 happened.
This year, taking advantage of all of last year’s education, the Borderland Massacre Festival happened again, with better feedback than last year. Dozens of followers, fans, bands and interesting people showed up to support the touring bands. Patches, skateboards, alcohol, smoke and loud and fast music fulfilled the fan’s expectations of the festival. The BMF took place inside of what once was an empty warehouse by the name of the Sandbox, in the middle of an empty block. As the BMF was organized, the Sandbox had a stage built, and a bunch of work went into making it the homebase of BMF for 2014.
Local bands were straight to the point – fast music, angry riffs, violent lyrics and honest expression of their feelings. Bands like Cheap Disguise, Takanakuy and Oryx did a wonderful job of expressing their power with their music. Even out of town bands supported all the local bands, a clear example of D.I.Y. support between bands from this area. Communion of Thieves, personally my favorites from the night, were fucking great. I was in shock, and I saw more faces in the crowd with the same facial expression. Another band that deserves to be named are the powerful guys from Speech Impediment, one of the most impressive bands from the first night of the festival – low-tune screams, and fast blast beats. Cheap Art were my second favorite band from this night. They were extremely insane; their set was short, but straight to the point, short songs made of fast beats and faster screams. They are worth your time to check out: cheapart.bandcamp.com. Right after Steel Bearing Hand finished their set, the police showed up trying to end the show, but it didn’t happen, and I am glad because the last band from the night killed it – Cleric, a heavy death metal band from Dallas, TX.
The second night of the BMF was as energetic as the first one. Bands like Hanta, Dusted, Weaponizer, Turbokrieg, Mind Boil and Ballgag played so fucking amazingly, like there was no tomorrow. The band most worth remembering from the second night was Coaccion, the invited band from Tijuana who made this a real BORDERLAND Festival.
The goal really is to give hardworking D.I.Y. bands a festival of their own, and to bring the sickest, most underground music to the Borderland. Bands come to El Paso to be greeted with enthusiastic music fans who are truly appreciative of the consideration to play their city.