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Berserktown Festival Was a Flurry of Spikes, Charged Hair, Leather, and Ripping Punk

A report from the front lines of the badass punk festival in Los Angeles
August 18, 2014, 5:08pm

Dawn of Humans, and all photos by Samuel Dorian Perez

The mutant-punk underground collided this weekend over the course of three days (August 15-17) in Silver Lake, bringing raw hardcore and experimental noise from labels as varied as Toxic State to Matador to Sacred Bones. The first-ever Berserktown Fest, held at Los Globos, was the result of a collective that included DIY spaces the Church on York and East 7th, both of which were recently shut down by the city. Berserktown was their return fire—a barrage of caustic punk and noise devised to scare the fuck out of LA.

From day one, when Dawn of Humans played their first show on the West Coast, the fest lived up to the insane hype; their lead vocalist taped a feathered plant-like arrangement around his penis and growled into the microphone like a wounded animal. Berserktown also included an exhibition of violence by Western Mass's Hoax, who bled all over the faded tiles of Los Globos, where moments earlier, New York's Pharmakon was planting her face into a mic'd up sheet of metal and screaming with purposeful noise. The additions of L.A.'s Blazing Eye, whose bassist wears a leather bondage mask, powerviolence duo Iron Lung, Spain's Una Bestia Incontrolable, and others made Berserktown a parade of some of punk's finest in 2014, while classic names like Chrome, the Weirdos, Zeros, Final Conflict and A Global Threat represented the foundation.

But it would be Arizona's Destruction Unit (with Emil of Dawn of Humans on drums) who would ultimately steal the show. Their massive display of grunge-tinged noise was fed through three guitars, three drummers, a bassist, and various pedals that modulated their sound into a brooding, almost goth-like effect. Eerie, but killer. Like the weekend.

Berserktown Fest, Day 1
Berserktown Fest, Day 1
Berserktown Fest, Day 1
Berserktown Fest, Day 1
Berserktown Fest, Day 1
Berserktown Fest, Day 1
Berserktown Fest, Day 1
Berserktown Fest, Day 1
Berserktown Fest, Day 2
Berserktown Fest, Day 2
Berserktown Fest, Day 2
Berserktown Fest, Day 2
Berserktown Fest, Day 2
Berserktown Fest, Day 3
Berserktown Fest, Day 3
Berserktown Fest, Day 3
Berserktown Fest, Day 3
Berserktown Fest, Day 3
Berserktown Fest, Day 3
Berserktown Fest, Day 3

Bed Bugs Dirty Work Blazing Eye Dawn of Humans The Weirdos A Global Threat Hoax Pharmakon Green Beret Koward Iron Lung Una Bestia Incontrolable Ceremony