The entirety of Negative Approach’s recorded legacy can be taken in over the course of a half hour or so, but hardcore’s meant to be fast and to the point. The band’s frontman John Brannon—who also did time at the helm of Laughing Hyenas and Easy Action—has somehow continued screaming over the last several decades as convincingly as when he was eighteen. How his vocal chords hold up is a mystery. NA’s all pretty standard fare at this point. But when the Detroit band first recorded its slew of anthems, there weren’t more than a handful of bands taking such an aggressive approach to punk and shooting it through with a message of individuality. No one would call the music positive, but the band’s work was clearly a release of tension amassed during troubled childhoods. Hearing Brannon scream out “Nothing” over and over again while simultaneously preaching a twisted sort of independence exemplifies the despair Midwesterners harnessed in order to craft work that would influence both coastal punk scenes. In NA’s take on hardcore, listeners familiar with the genre should be able to pick out strains of the music SSD and the Boston Crew embraced. Even Connecticut’s The Pist seemed to have assimilated NA’s aggression with its earth-conscious lyrical bent. Regardless of who Brannon has impassioned with his work, the singer’s endurance and clear affinity for punk and underground music has driven him to dedicate his working life to it. And if we’re all lucky, Brannon’ll decide to trot out some of the songs that served as guidance for him. A Blitz or Stooges cover would suffice. Negative Approach headlines Day One of The Rumble, along with Murphy’s Law. Day Two features 100 Demons, Death Threat and others. (Dave Cantor)
April 27 at 4pm and April 28 at noon, Bottom Lounge, 1375 West Lake, (312)666-6775; Tickets to the Rumble hardcore festival are $25 for Friday, $35 for Saturday or $55 for both days. All ages.