Punk’s (fortunately) Not Dead: Monsoon as a Riveting Reminder at Chase Fest

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Is there a name for the feeling of suddenly becoming consumed by an energy you’re seeing or experiencing for the first time? When in the presence of some force that’s bigger than you, bigger than any one person could be? Something transformative, some naturally explosive potential, that you feel everyone else needs to be in on or else they’re brutally missing out? Perhaps this feeling comes fairly often to impassioned music fans, and even more narrowly to frequented concert goers. It comes to me most especially as I’m first discovering an artist, or art, in real-time. All I know is that if there were a name for this distinct feeling, then I’d use it quite precisely to describe my experience at Chase Fest the other weekend.

Chase Fest was a wonderfully DIY arrangement of four artists playing outside a warehouse at Chase Park, with the night’s lineup featuring Henry Toland, Heffner, Fishbug, and Monsoon. Everything about the evening felt dynamic, metamorphic, and revitalizing, with all credit due to the intensity that the bands brought. Needless to say, the feeling noted earlier would only amplify as the performances continued through the night.

All were exhilarating live acts relentlessly erupting with raw talent, but the closing act, Monsoon, left an effortless impression on the crowd and vitality of the festival. Monsoon are a punk three-piece as well as a tremendous volume of energy beaming out of Athens, GA; with Sienna Chadler on guitar and vocals, Joey Kegel on drums, and Roan O’Reilly on bass. Perfectly encapsulating the spirit of the evening mini-fest with their high energy songs, their performance was a stark, inconceivably stimulating reminder of the kind of fiery energy I’d felt missing from life alongside the prolonged void of live music.

Aside the near-instant elation, thrill, and passion felt just by once again being immersed in a semi-‘normal’ musical atmosphere, I was also completely staggered by the sheer talent of Monsoon and the intoxicating energy that they casted over the crowd. Shortly into the start of their set was a prompt opening of the pit, and the near-forgotten punk tradition of moshing ensued till the show’s close. Being able to once again be consumed by the enriching energy of a pit played a huge role in affecting Chase Fest into this wildly collective hysteria that I felt infinitely lucky to be a part of.

Monsoon’s sound is fervidly punk, yet striking in its diverse styles and exotic lyrical quirks. Tracks like “Speakeasy” and “Miss Cadillac” off 2015 debut album Ride a Rolla flaunt their capacity for genre fluidity and transcendence within the realms of punk and rock, whereas “Dead,” “Monsoon,” and “Tuck Me In” exhibit a dual ability to merge with the sounds of more commercially refined punk. Upon hearing Ride a Rolla for the first time, I couldn’t help but feel immediately drawn to the music’s unique, comparable distinction to 80s & 90s era primal punk. I found Monsoon’s organic styles to range from Ramones-esque, classically uncut NYC punk to the socially stimulating, riveting riotgrrrl energy of Bratmobile and the Raincoats. And with the electrifying force of a female-led punk rocker, Monsoon are en route to what feels like a resurrection of authentic femme punk.

Stylistically straightforward, fast-tempo’d, and delightfully hardcore, Monsoon is surely on the come-up with an already released collection of diverse, energizing tunes. Through songs like “Geriatric” and “Intro,” we hear dynamic punk versatility, and an exciting glimpse into what could be next through Monsoon’s stylistic development, as we anticipate the release of their new record. If you’re probing for that distinct feeling of abundant and infinite potential, stream Monsoon’s Ride a Rolla, and stay closely tuned for future album and show announcements!

Check out their music, available on Bandcamp and all other major streaming platforms. Also, check out all the entrancing moments captured by talented photographer Kyler Vollmar–link to the show’s digitals, as well as the rest of his lively, visionary projects at https://teethinabag.com/work!

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