We’re back again with another part of the ‘11 Bands To Listen To Playing Act Like You Know Fest’ series! This is my series to showcase all of the bands performing at the festival in November.
In case you missed it, For The Punks will be heading to Tulsa, Oklahoma this November 18 to 20 to cover the Act Like You Know Festival (previously Promcore) at the VFW Post 577. This is an annual punk and hardcore fest that is a benefit for Oklahomans For Equality. The two after shows are a benefit for the Terry Williams Memorial College Fund.
Oklahomans For Equality seeks equal rights for LGBTQ+ individuals and families through intersectional advocacy, education, programs, alliances, and the operation of the Dennis R. Neill Equality Center. Serving LGBTQ+ Oklahomans and their allies since 1980, Oklahomans for Equality is home to a diverse, vibrant, and engaged community of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender persons, knowledgeable staff, and dedicated volunteers.
In my second part of the series, I will be highlighting I Am, Gridiron, Living In Fear, Chemical Fix, Gates To Hell, First Day Out, End Game, Terminal Nation, Direct Measure, Amnesia Garden, and Last Gasp.
1. I Am
Texas-based deathcore band I Am is one of the most recent additions to the Act Like You Know festival. Their most recent album, Eternal Steel, was released on September 9. After three years in the making, the band is proud to have their eleven track album out to the world.
The album was recorded, mixed, and mastered by Randy Leboeuf and the album artwork done by Caelan Stokkermans Arts is unforgettable. The band needed three things on the album artwork: “A three headed panther, a powerful warrior grasping a skull and Landscape that provided the proper feel for the music.”
Guitarist Tom Reyes on the album said, “It’s faster than the last album, it’s heavier than the last album, and it expands on every other aspect of our sound. ‘Heavy’ doesn’t always have to mean ‘slow.’ Frequently for us, the faster parts are equally as heavy.”
I Am plays Friday of the festival.
Recommended songs: “Surrender to the Blade” and “The Iron Gate”
Gridiron was created in 2020 by members of Payback, Never Ending Game, Year of the Knife, and Simulakra – a pandemic project that has since turned very successful and loved in the hardcore scene.
In 2020, vocalist Matt Karll shared with No Echo, “We started this band with the intentions of just recording these songs and kind of having it be a one off thing …”
The band released their debut EP, Loyalty at All Costs, on Triple B and Streets of Hate in October of 2020 and followed it up in May of 2021 by releasing a split with Despiza called Worldwide Brotherhood.
Their two most recent releases are their debut album No Good At Goodbyes, which was released back in March of 2022 and a brand new track out on the One Scene Unity: A Hardcore Compilation: Vol 3, released on September 10, 2022. This comp features other Act Like You Know 2022 performers Broken Vow and Chemical Fix.
Gridiron has played FYA, This Is Hardcore, Sound and Fury, and will take the stage this November at the Act Like You Know festival on Saturday, November 19.
Recommended songs: “No Good At Goodbyes” and “Can’t Hide Forever”
3. Living In Fear
Living in Fear is a crossover band from Atlanta, Georgia. As of most recently, they have teamed up with End Game (another band playing the festival in November) to release a split called Combined Forces. Both bands recorded three songs and though the bands sound different, it’s still a super cool split with great artwork.
Before the split, Living In Fear released their sophomore album The Coward’s Path Ends Here… in 2020. Adam Yoe of No Echo shared in 2020 about the album, “Off the strength of these songs, Living in Fear should quickly find themselves shoulder to shoulder with modern giants…”
Their biography on Instagram says new music soon and I’m hoping it’s sooner than later. The band will be making a pre-festival stop in Springfield on November 17 with Broken Vow, Anklebiter, Prevention, Slug, and Side Eye.
Living In Fear will be playing the festival on Saturday.
Must listen songs: “Good For Nothin’” and “Cost Of Living’
4. Chemical Fix
Playing Act Like You Know on Saturday is Philadelphia based hardcore band Chemical Fix who is making their return to the festival. In 2021, the band performed and traveled down to the festival as part of their midwest tour with close friends in Fixation.
Since 2018, Chemical Fix has been active in the scene with one of their most recent releases being their first album Our Shade Casts Far released in August of 2021 (via Safe Inside Records). Just like Gridiron, Chemical Fix also has a song on the recently released One Scene Unity: A Hardcore Compilation: Vol 3.
Drawing from influences like American Nightmare, Carry On and Panic, Chemical Fix is a new iteration of a classic style being modernly reinvigorated and pushed into harder, more aggressive directions.
Chemical Fix will be playing FYA 2023, their first time playing Florida.
I’ve been lucky enough to watch Chemical Fix’s growth, as the first time I saw them was in November of 2018. Their growth has been exciting to see and I cannot wait to see them perform again this November.
Recommended songs: “Quench,” “Revolver,” and “Obsession”
5. Gates To Hell
Gates To Hell is one of the leading bands from the 502 (Louisville, Kentucky) area right now, alongside bands like Inclination, Constraint, XWeaponX, and Two Witnesses.
Their debut and self-titled LP was released on September 5, 2022. This new album, featuring nine new tracks including singles “Fortress Of Torture” and “Blood Lust,” is quickly becoming one of my favorite releases of the year.
The band is just finishing up their biggest tour yet, which was almost a month long West Coast and Canadian tour with Constraint (another band playing the festival). In October, the band will be playing a short run of shows with Slowbleed and Sentenced 2 Die (yes, another band playing the festival).
Back in 2020, I saw the band perform at the pre show for LDB 2020 so I am very excited to be able to see the band again this November.
Gates To Hell plays Saturday at the festival.
Recommended songs: “Fortress Of Torture” and “Hell’s Warrior”
6. First Day Out
Atlanta hardcore band First Day Out will be returning to the festival this year. In 2021, they played the pre show with Direct Measure and other friends. Along with this performance, they have played other shows with Dare, Life’s Question, Drain, Pain Of Truth, Ingrown, and Jivebomb.
Their newest EP Don’t Be Surprised was released on July 12 and features four new songs. They worked with Jon Ruggiero for the artwork on this EP, an artist from Buffalo who’s worked with countless other bands in the hardcore scene. The EP follows the release of a demo in 2020 and an album titled Cruel World in 2021.
If you are interested in seeing First Day Out before the festival in November, they will be heading on tour from September 30 to October 14 hitting various cities in the midwest and east coast like Cleveland, Des Moines, Little Rock, Buffalo, Wilkes-Barre, Baltimore, Raleigh, and more.
First Day Out is performing the festival on Saturday.
Recommended songs: “Don’t Be Surprised” and “Stuck In My Ways”
7. End Game
End Game is one of the rising hardcore bands from Calgary, Alberta, Canada, you should be listening to. Though they haven’t played the festival before, they still have a connection. Their guitarist is Spencer Pries, the owner of the podcast and video channel Scoped Exposure. Spencer has flown down to Tulsa in previous years to record the band performances and it’s great to see that his band will be performing at the festival.
One of my favorite tracks by the band is their March 2022 single “Devil In Disguise” which features a guest vocal spot from Scowl’s Kat Moss. Scowl is also playing the festival and I’m hoping that Kat may hop on stage for her part.
Along with that recent single release, they dropped the split with Living In Fear in July of 2021. I briefly mentioned this release earlier. I definitely recommend checking it out and supporting two of the bands playing this festival.
End Game is performing the festival on Saturday.
Recommended songs: “Devil In Disguise,” “Playin’ For Keeps” and “Above The Law.”
8. Terminal Nation
Ever since Terminal Nation released their split with Kruelty in June of 2022, I’ve been a fan. Thanks to Kruelty and this festival, I was able to find Terminal Nation. This five piece Little Rock, Arkansas based death metal and hardcore band formed in 2014 is probably one of my favorite finds of the year. Not only do I enjoy their music, they are using their platform and music to make a change.
Over the past few years, they have released songs and merchandise for abortion access and reproductive rights, Black Lives Matter, and others.
Their album Holocene Extinction was released in August of 2020 and features 13 tracks. The band also added their song “Cop Drop” to streaming platforms outside of Bandcamp in May. During the height of the Black Lives Matter protests, they dropped this song exclusively on the “Shut It Down” compilation on Bandcamp. The band said they wanted to keep the song on Bandcamp to push people to go there and donate, as the compilation was a benefit for Movement for Black Lives and they believe well over 20k was raised since going live.
Terminal Nation is performing the festival on Saturday. They shared, “So many homies on this one that I am stoked to finally play with. The only thing I love more than a sick ass fest, is a sick ass fest that benefits an awesome cause.”
Recommended songs: “Curators of Brutality,” “Ice Watch,” “Cop Drop,” and “Holocene Extinction”
9. Direct Measure
Direct Measure is a five piece hardcore band from St. Louis, Missouri on Patient Zero Records that recently released a self-titled six track EP in October of 2021. The band is making their return to Tulsa this year after playing the festival pre show last year.
The first single from this EP “Realm of Grief” was released in early 2021 and in an interview with No Echo Direct Measure guitarist Jake Meyer shared, “[Vocalist] Jack [Zempel] and I sort of wrote this song together when we were going through some thoughts of relationships with partners that we had…”
Jake continued with, “You can ignore them and pretend that your life goes back to normal, or you can swallow your pride and accept that a piece of you has died. I guess the overall message would be that true toughness isn’t just “acting like a man” and not showing your sadness, but rather recognizing loss, and reaffirming yourself with personal growth and allowing yourself to progress.”
As of recently, the band has performed shows with Prevention, Gates To Hell, Squint (three bands playing the festival). In November of 2021, like Last Gasp (more below, they’re number #11), contributed a track for the Action For Afghanistan compilation that was released in November of 2021.
Direct Measure is performing the festival on Sunday.
Recommended songs: “Vessel” and “Realm Of Grief”
10. Amnesia Garden
From the first time I read the Act Like You Know lineup, the name Amnesia Garden has stuck out to me. This Dallas, Texas based band released their debut EP in November 2021 and recently released a single called “Obsidian Shiv Wrapped in Velvet”; a tribute to Emily Aideen.
The band played So What?! Music Festival back in May and has played other recent shows with The Callous Daoboys, Fromjoy, Bodybox, Ballista, and Deepincision (another band playing the festival).
Bored Magazine, a sponsor of Act Like You Know, wrote an article in November 2021 around the time that Amnesia Garden released their four track EP A Kingdom Where Hyenas May Jest and Prance. Bored Magazine says, “What’s captivating about this EP, sonically, is the contrast that portrays an eerie and haunting presence of this EP.”
They continue the paragraph with a quote from Morgan, the vocalist, “Christian hymns, gospel and southern gothic music was a huge influence on the aesthetics for this record… We use these hymns and samples to create a juxtaposition between the heavy sections and the moments of calm. We wanted the ambient sections to be their own beasts along with the riffs.”
Read the rest of the article here.
“Praise be the gravel you die on,” their Bandcamp biography states.
Amnesia Garden is performing the festival on Saturday.
11. Last Gasp
Last Gasp is a Cleveland, Ohio based band featuring band members from Committed, Wreak Havoc, Names for Graves, Cheap Tragedies, and Lawskof. Their first demo was released in March of 2020. Their most recent release is the February 2022 single “Greetings From Nightmare City.”
The band has been able to play a handful of shows recently, including performances with Praise, Mil-Spec, Simulakra, Bitter Truth, Gel, and more. The band also contributed a track for the Action For Afghanistan compilation that was released in November of 2021.
Last Gasp is one of those bands I wish I found out about sooner. Being only a few hours away from Cleveland in New York, I just recently found out they have played in my area a few times. With that being said, I’m excited to be able to check out their performance in November if I don’t have the chance to see them beforehand.
Last Gasp is performing the festival on Sunday.
Recommended songs: “Greetings From Nightmare City” and “Believe Me”