Orange County hosted two notable concerts this past weekend: one band sought inclusivity, while the other, according to Weekly’s Gabriel San Román, sought racial superiority. I’m talking about the Horna show at Karman Bar last Thursday, and the Gorilla Biscuits show at the Garden Grove Amphitheater Friday night. My experience of attending each concert couldn’t have been more different.
Read San Román’s take on Horna’s Nazi ties Here
Half expecting to see a line of face–painted Satanists goose–stepping their way into Laguna Niguel’s Karman Bar on Thursday night, I was surprised at venue’s placidity. Other than blaring feed-back from overdriven amplifiers, and the snake-like rasping voice of Horna’s singer, Spellgoth, the bar was tranquil. A sea of black leather jacket clad Horna fans stood relatively motionless throughout the set, making Karman Bar’s extra security on that night seem a bit ridiculous. Other than a few people bobbing their heads, nobody did much. No mosh, no brawls, and most importantly, no good music. I bailed early, cursing the $20 ticket. Who knows, maybe it got better after I left.
The only redeemable quality of the Horna show was the handful of Latino and African Americans in the crowd, which goes to prove that even Nazi black metal shows can be inclusive . . . I guess?
Now the Gorilla Biscuits’ show at the Garden Grove Amphitheater Friday night, that was a show.
With tickets selling out two days before the show, and fans anticipating the band’s first Orange County show since the death of former guitarist Alex Brown on February 4, 2019, all early signs pointed to a night of brotherly love amidst face bashing music. Happily, the Gorilla Biscuits provided just that.
Gorilla Biscuits showed OC love early, recruiting local trumpet players Donovan Mercado, Nick Ramos, and Daniel Morales to hail in Friday night’s opening song, “New Direction”. By the time the furious rumblings of the bass kicked in on the opening track, the sold–out crowd had stormed the stage, turning every open inch of ground into a seething mosh. Throughout the night, the crowd’s energy never dissipated.
As if this wasn’t enough to set Gorilla Biscuits show apart from Horna’s concert the night before, Anthony “Civ” Civarelli, vocalist for Gorilla Biscuits, took time between songs to speak out for inclusivity and brotherhood.
Speaking to the crowd about Nazis, Civarelli said. “It went away for a while, but now it’s rearing its head again, and it’s coming back. So everybody in this scene knows, it doesn’t matter [if you are] white, brown, black, green, blue, gay straight, atheist. You mother f*****s [Nazis] gotta get back under the rock. We are one people, we are one family.”
See videos of Civarelli’s anti–Nazi speech at the links below!
Civarelli’s anti-Nazi speech pt. 1
Civarelli’s anti-Nazi speech pt. 2
Civarelli’s anti-Nazi speech pt. 3
At other points, Civarelli spoke out in support of women’s rights, California’s role in environmental protection, and unity, telling the crowd, “Some people think that s**t is weak, but I’m into unity.”
The Gorilla Biscuits and their crowd displayed all the best qualities of how humans should treat each other. The mosh pit was a lesson in controlled chaos: things got crazy, but never out of hand. People were surely kicked, smashed, and beaten in the process, but if anyone ever went down, they’d instantly be helped to their feet by a host of strangers. Additionally, Civarelli continuously gave the microphone to audience members, allowing an open pulpit for fans to participate. At one point, he even allowed a fan, who looked less than 12 years–old, to sing the entirety of the song Do Something. There was no ring–leader, no master, no Almighty Guide––the crowd was as active as the band in producing an amazing show.
Civarelli’s parting words, before finishing the show with “Let’s Start Today”, sum up the band’s all-inclusive message, “We get one shot at this life. Do not turn into your parents, do not suck. I know it sounds cheesy motherf•••••s, follow your dreams.”