A couple weeks ago, Against the Grain Productions (run by Emma Boster, the vocalist of Portland-based band Dying Wish) put together a great show for all-ages at Black Water; a local, vegetarian bar in northeast Portland. As one of the few venues that hosts all-ages shows and regularly books punk/hardcore, it was the perfect partnership to present Old Wounds with Vatican and Heavens Die.
Portland locals Samsara AD and Dying Wish opened the show; I didn't manage to take photos during Samsara AD's set, and I can't say that they really caught my interest at all. I don't mean to be the grumbling voice in the "peanut gallery," but I also refuse to be dishonest.
On the other hand, Dying Wish was a more than fitting opener and a good representative for the hardcore bands local to Portland. Formerly known as Trust Issues, they're still coming into their own and have a more modern "metalcore" sound. As they continue to play live, I believe that they have potential to be a significant band on the west coast of the US and beyond. You can check them out on their Bandcamp page.
Heavens Die had been on the road alongside Vatican when they met up with Old Wounds for a few dates on the West Coast. Seeing them live would be my introduction their music, and I'm still trying to grasp their sound. All in all, Heavens Die immediately present themselves as a hard-working band that is ready to be on the road. Their latest release, The Hands of Man, can be found on their Bandcamp page.
Vatican was the band I'm most familiar with and they, without really needing to, solidified me as a fan through seeing them live. Whether you hear their releases — Spawn of All Pain Taken or Ache of Eternity — the heft and intensity of their music on the record is double live. Make sure to check them out and see them live if they come through your area.
Old Wounds would end the night on a high note; the intensity was such that drummer Matt Guyre had to switch snare drums during their set after literally hitting through the top head of his drum. I came to have an even deeper appreciation for the music of Old Wounds by hearing it live and seeing a great reminder of how a band, and in particular a frontman in Kevin Iavaroni, can take control of a room.
Moving back and forth between the floor and the stage, Iavaroni had no qualms about being face to face with the crowd. If Old Wounds isn't already a band you're aware of, I'd say its past time to get familiar.