Preview: Soul Glo, Zulu, Playytime @ The Howard Theatre 9/29

Over the past decade or so, Philadelphia hardcore band Soul Glo has slowly made a name for themselves as one of the freshest hardcore punk groups in the US, pushing the boundaries of the genre to include elements of hip hop while  giving new attention to a more diverse cast of identities. Following the release of their 2022 LP Diaspora Problems and recent single “If I Speak (Shut the F**k Up),” Soul Glo will be back in DC on their joint tour with LA based hardcore punk band Zulu, who released their debut LP A New Tomorrow this year, a heavy but diverse set of punk tracks with elements of metal, hip hop, jazz, reggae, and funk playing roles. Opening for the two bands is Atlanta hardcore punk group Playytime, who gained notoriety prior to the pandemic for their explosive performances.

A common ideology unites Friday’s lineup. All three groups redefine what hardcore can be, incorporating influences from historically Black music like jazz and hip hop. Such experimentation could be understood as only an effort to create new sounds within hardcore, but their aims are not just musical. All three groups use musical experimentation to promote underrepresented voices in the genre and send political messages about race, class, and sexuality, bringing a new form of hardcore punk into the 2020s.

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