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Live Free, Diehard: In tough economic times, Syracuse’s hardcore fanatics keep this scene kicking at any cost (Pt. 3)

“There’s a lot of ground that has already been broken,” Weldon says. “So the bands that are coming out, they know where to start or they know people who can give them help or resources on how to get started.”

Though hardcore is often seen as a very “independent” genre, Dunn says there is a certain family aspect to it. Labels like Bridge 9, Deathwish and Malfunction “feed off each of the bands on their roster, and each assist the other to bring them to the forefront and get noticed and appreciated.”

Dunn points to bands like Forfeit, Ghost Ship and From The Ashes as additional examples of groups that are thriving in the upstate hardcore scene. The ones that stray away from this “all-for-one” attitude will be more susceptible to failure, he says.

Ryan Canavan, the owner of local label Hex Records, has also seen the scene grow stronger. Canavan became interested in hardcore around 1993 and started attending shows in 1994. He began booking small punk shows in 1997 and continues booking today. He also created punk and hardcore fanzines until 1999, the year he launched Hex.

When Canavan first got involved with the scene, there were only one or two shows a month. Today is different.

“Now there’s a lot more shows on a regular basis, so audiences aren’t as big, but there’s a lot more to go around,” he says.

But it’s not only venues that keep the genre alive. Step into Halo Tattoo on Marshall Street. The background silence is misleading: As each tattoo artist discusses his involve­ment in the hardcore scene, interrupted only by the buzzing of needles across skin, it’s clear this subculture continues to thrive in the face of economic doubt.


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