Sunday, Dec. 31, 2023

8:30 pm Doors, 9:30pm Show

$22 ADV | $25 DOS


Presented by:
Triple D's

  • Upchuck

  • Upchuck

    In the messiness of daily life, one rule rings true above all else: artistry always beats mastery. No amount of fine technique or studied precision can match the release of real feeling, the genuine thrill of human bodies and spirits finding each other in the heat of the night. On Bite the Hand That Feeds (Famous Class), Atlanta’s Upchuck offer such real feeling in droves. Channeling the speed of youth and the heaviness of a fleshy, lived life in equal proportion, Upchuck’s second LP is a Trojan Horse par excellence, craftily smuggling in waves of sentimental emotion and clever pop songwriting under a veil of pulsing rhythms and scorching riffs. They are loyal to no genre or stylistic strictures—Bite the Hand That Feeds shifts effortlessly between fuzzed out, Sabbath-worthy dirges and ripping, Spits-worship punk, hardcore-freak-psychedelia and bright garage pop. Where other bands might falter under the weight of stylistic overload, Upchuck carve forward across the cement with a sense of charmed ease. What binds Upchuck together is a purity of intention, an organic loyalty to a thick knot of uncalculated friendships, struggles, and desires. These are songs about the joy of continuing to live, songs that find each other in the rush of a crushing reality, propelling the listener onward towards a collective release, however brief it may last. Themes of surviving through the night, youth-blinded love, cheap champagne soaked back-alley parties, and chaotic street protests are subsumed under a single unifying thread: the needs we have for one another, our shared hunger for connection. In a world saturated with arbitrary rules and paper-thin moralism, Upchuck offer freedom through sensation, a type of unserious transcendence found through the swirl of bodies melting into one another in the passion of dance. With Bite the Hand That Feeds, Upchuck isn’t trying to tell anyone how to live. Rather, they are simply trying to find a way to make life more worth living for both themselves and their friends—if the music compels you to move, you might as well consider yourself their friend too. Formed in 2018 through shared connections in Atlanta’s teeming skate scene, Upchuck’s musical aspirations have always been uncomplicated. They play for each other, and for anyone who is willing to move alongside them—there are no trappings of genre worship or social politicking in their sound, only an open spirit of friendly connection. As guitarist Hoff recollects, “When we started the band, all we wanted was to be louder and have more fun than everyone else—we wanted to have as many amps as possible onstage, and we wanted to play with our favorite bands, that’s it.” 2022 saw the release of their first LP, Sense Yourself (Famous Class), which sports a cover photo of vocalist KT gripping a rusted mic as blood gushes down her body from a gash to her forehead, perfectly encapsulating the debut record’s ferocious sense of abandon. Shortly after the release of Sense Yourself, Upchuck absconded to Souther California to record Bite the Hand That Feeds, enlisting the production talents of Ty Segall and the airy reprieve of his secluded Topanga Canyon home studio. Upchuck credits Segall, who recorded the entire record live to tape over the span of five days, with helping to elevate the arrangements of their second record to bold new heights—fans of Segall’s extensive catalog will undoubtedly recognize the shadow of his creative touch in Bite the Hand That Feeds’ commanding, layered drum polyrhythms, tasteful use of oddball effects, and fuzzed out, every-guitar-pushed-into-the-red ethos. All the same, final credit for Upchuck’s evolution from Sense Yourself to Bite the Hand That Feeds must be paid to the band itself. Following the release of their debut LP, Upchuck embarked upon a break-neck string of live shows, touring alongside the likes of Segall’s Fuzz, Amyl and the Sniffers, Negative Approach, OFF!, and Subhumans. The razor tight focus of Bite the Hand That Feeds was forged in the fire of these live shows, speaking directly to the power of their in-person presence—these are songs meant to be heard pressed up against a barricade, blasted through dimed guitar amps placed so close to your ears that you can practically reach out and touch them. Live footage of Upchuck’s set is an undeniable spectacle within itself: before a single note is hit, oceans of teenage degenerates, punks, hoodie laden indie kids, and sneaker clad skaters thrust forth into a miasma of moshing bodies, beaming smiles and flailing limbs shooting out in every direction as the band teases the crowd with washes of blown out feedback. Upchuck places heavy emphasis upon the special quality of these shared moments with the crowd, often putting on their own shows in repurposed locations like abandoned munitions warehouses—legend has it that a friend crowd surfed in a stolen shopping cart at one such warehouse show, leading to the bloody injury featured on the cover of Sense Yourself—and frequently enlisting the talents of special guests like Faye Webster onstage. Speaking on the importance of live performance to the band’s overall outlook, KT does not mince words: “With all of the shit life throws at you every day, sometimes I just need to release something—I need to feel freaky, to lean into my wild alter-ego. That’s what we want to give other people too—we wanna create a space for people to come and work out whatever has been dragging them down, but together, all at once.” Lyrically, Bite the Hand That Feeds is passionately impressionistic, following the reflections of a charmingly unreliable narrator as she clocks the shortcomings of the world around her. In the words of KT, “I’m trying to point things out as I see them, but without critiquing anyone—I see the ways certain people act and feel like I’ve got to say something about it, but I’m not trying to pretend like I don’t act the same way sometimes. It’s all you do you, live and let live.” Opening track “Freaky” places KT’s self-described alter-ego front and center, riffing upon her hunger to let loose, her hunger to lean into the open-ended freedom of the long, chaotic night. “Freaky” is an ode to unbridled joy, carving out a space to live loudly in the face of daily struggles. “Freedoom” spins this same sense of unfocused chaos on its head, negatively refiguring the racing pulse of “Freaky” in the form of flashing depictions of sprawling street protests, bodies ducking in and out of cover under the glare of police sirens. Riffing upon the band’s lived experiences with protesting against the state injustices that have plagued their hometown, “Freedoom” pounces with a sense of youthful hunger that convincingly drags the post-’68 fever-pitch spirit of The Rolling Stones’ “Street Fighting Man” into the 21st century. These themes of unrest and darting glances weave in and out of the record, such as on “Shaken,” which reflects upon the ways in which such moments of scattered chaos create complicated webs of complicity between all involved—who is using who, and to what end? That said, Bite the Hand That Feeds is far from a doom and gloom record. Its heaviest moments are counteracted by bursts of goofy levity, injecting natural breaths of fresh air into the LP’s frantic cadence. “Crashing” embodies this lightness directly, painting a portrait of what it feels like to continue living in the face of a young love that has come to an untimely end. Moving with the fragile emotionality of someone emerging into the light of day with a post-amphetamine hangover, “Crashing” burns with a gentle sweetness, the sadness of a love that has come to a close balanced out by the non-judgmental refrain, “I’m nice enough to let you live.” Throughout Bite the Hand That Feeds, the trials of moving from day to day are stripped of petty moralizing, clearing mental space to reflect upon the pleasures and desires that make it all worth going through in the first place. On Bite the Hand That Feeds, Upchuck’s signature blend of high-impact style is put on full, muscular display. “Freaky” jolts with weaving jungle-rhythms that evoke the finer side of such oddball-punk forebears as The Coneheads and CCTV, balanced against a sly, Hunx and His Punx-adjacent melodicism that places the song squarely in garage-pop territory without interrupting its overall frenetic cadence. “Crashing” showcases the band’s evolved songwriting prowess, coursing through cutely sentimental hooks that conjure shades of a more rosy-tinted, not yet roadworn Royal Headache. Elsewhere, Upchuck burrows fully into thundering doom theatrics, such as on “Toothless,” which whips a series of massive, Iommi-worthy riffs into a cascading, joyous fury. “Long Gone” pushes these heavier tendencies to an extreme, plodding like a rusted car sputtering on the brink of collapse before opening out onto a chilling highway of psych-inflected expanses. Working in contrast to Bite the Hand That Feeds’ bleaker depths, tracks like “Not Your Average Girl” inject a sense of playful good humor, motioning towards sunny heights while also keeping an eye firmly planted on the earthly clamor of empty beer bottles and thundering singalongs going on down below. In its totality, Bite the Hand That Feeds offers a sonic portrait of what it feels like to be young and caught up in the thrill of it all, coursing between ripping dance grooves and thundering dirges, anti-self-serious crowd anthems and charming pop hooks.

  • Kent Osborne

  • Psychic Death