Riotnine shakes the Cactus Club with “Death Before Detransition” EP release show

Skramz band Riotnine during their EP release show at Cactus Club. The band released their music amid attacks on the transgender and LGBTQ+ community, urging people to fight complacency or else be consumed by fascism. Photo by Ethan Duran.

To commemorate the release of their latest EP, Death Before Detransition, post-hardcore band RIOTNINE on Saturday played a packed show at the Cactus Club.

The band, which includes guitarist Cleo Jackowick and bassist Daniel Calderon, played a balance of twinkly, complicated emo riffs and outright sonic chaos. They’re into that sweet vein of late 90’s emo/screamo, evident from the monochromatic album cover to the thrashing rhythms they play. Their message is clear: fight complacency, or be consumed by fascism.

With enough acidity and power to strip paint, RIOTNINE consistently struck the crowd with wall-of-noise guitars, bottom-of-the-lung screams and battering drums. On par with any good punk show, a mosh pit half the size of the room and at full speed broke out in front of the stage. Both Calderon and Jackowick screamed with seemingly the force of their whole bodies, expelling enough energy to derail a train or crumble a mountain.

The show hit an apex when the lights went out and the two singers and the crowd chanted “Death before detransition,” only visible from the flash of photographers’ cameras.

“Our community united over a shared catharsis of anger and love. And it’s only fitting that all the voices in the room, trans and cis alike, drowned out the sounds of our amplifiers and drums with a defiant scream: DEATH BEFORE DETRANSITION!” the band said in all its social media channels.

The EP and live show aired around the politicization and attacks on the LGBTQ+ community, and like at their show the band urged people to not to stand by idly while hatred infiltrated many spaces.

“Death Before Detransition is an EP of fear, anger and distraught. The politicization, and consequential polarization, of our identities has infested many LGBT freedoms, spaces and art forms with hatred. We do not know a way out of this, but we must continue our fight together,” the band added.

Openers were Milwaukee-based punks Social Caterpillar, Chicago-based cybergrind group Blind Equation and experimental artist Flowers.

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