Lie and Wait sound checks after other high-energy hardcore acts have been playing for hours, an hour past schedule in fact. Stale mosh sweat lingers. A few fans line the stagefront, and the casual head-bobbers are backs-to-the-wall. There’s a 10-foot patch of empty concrete no man’s land for the violent types. The all-agers loiter catching air outside, resting up for tonight’s main event — the last performance ever by S.A. scene vets and headliners Sudden Death. But by the time L&W lead singer Tyler Lutz finishes the mic check, the place is packed.
Not surprising considering the group’s rep, but maybe Lutz’s pre-show announcement has something to do with it: “Everybody outside needs to come inside,” he says nonchalantly while the band is tuning up, “or you’re going to be arrested. The cops are coming. I’m not kidding.” The kids file
indoors, and the buffer zone disappears. The guitar wails and wavers like a theramin whose parents never hugged it, while Lutz leans out over the audience screaming, every neck vein visible from 12 rows back. Those amplifiers seem unnecessary — the bar’s enveloped in Lutz’s vocal chords.
That elastic band holding his glasses on is no grandpa-affecting irony – he takes the pit onstage, stomping and headbanging to beat the fiercest thrasher. When the cathartic squall of “A Fool’s Prayer” breaks to a vicious thump, he pays tribute to the exiting champs. “Sudden Death,” he growls in a way that removes any remaining sports associations from the name, and the crowd goes ape shit, moshers pinwheeling appendages with abandon, checked only by a protective wall of fists. “Bang your fuckin’ heads,” he commands, and now it’s the anti-moshers fleeing to the patio, as-yet-unspilt drinks in hand. Those cops never seem to show.