Koyo, Anxious, One Step Closer & Stateside brought the melodic hardcore tour of the year to Brooklyn

My favorite kinds of package tours are the ones that feel like a community coming together to create something that’s truly greater than the sum of its parts, and that’s exactly what the Koyo, Anxious, One Step Closer tour felt like when it wrapped up at Brooklyn Monarch last night (3/28), one week after hitting LDB Fest. All three bands make melodic music that’s firmly rooted within hardcore, and as all three bands mentioned on stage, they all go way back with each other. Anxious and OSC started becoming sibling bands when then were just teenagers starting their bands in the late 2010s (they used to share members), and Koyo–who formed right before COVID lockdown–played some of their very first shows with both Anxious and OSC. The bands, who all put out early EPs on the hardcore label Triple B Records before moving to Run For Cover (Anxious, OSC) and Pure Noise (Koyo), have all shared bills with each other for very small crowds–like, less than ten people, according to an on-stage speech from Grady from Anxious–but last night they filled the over 1000-cap Brooklyn Monarch before doors even opened. Seeing these three young bands pack that place together really felt like a massive moment for melodic hardcore’s new guard.

The bands have been taking turns headlining, and this being pretty much a hometown show for Long Island’s Koyo, they headlined this one. They also invited their LIHC pals Hangman to open the show with something a little more aggressive before the melodic stuff kicked in. It was a treat to have them on the bill, and it set the tone right away for something that Joey from Koyo would stress a lot during their set: this was a hardcore show. All the touring bands have clean-sung vocals, and they all almost definitely have fans who found them through avenues other than hardcore, but the vibe was that of a hardcore show all night.

The tour’s first leg had support from the increasingly-melodic Chicago hardcore band Life’s Question, and this second leg had Stateside, a young Southern California band who couldn’t fit more perfectly with Koyo, Anxious, and OSC. Their name seems to reference Long Island melodic hardcore band Crime In Stereo, and they’ve got the late ’90s hardcore-adjacent pop punk vibes on lock (think very early New Found Glory, Saves The Day, Movielife, etc), and they bring it live too. If you haven’t checked them out yet, fix that now. I have a feeling this is a band you’re gonna be hearing a lot more about soon.

Up next were One Step Closer, who I was seeing for the first time since I saw them open for Drug Church a few months after they released This Place You Know, and they were like a thousand times better this time around. The place had fully packed in for their set, and from the start they were a total force and had the place going nuts. The band was as tight as can be and Ryan Savitski is a powerhouse screamer and a commanding frontperson. He stagedove on the second or third song and got the already-wild crowd going even wilder. They played a good chunk of This Place You Know and last year’s Songs for the Willow EP, and also played the two singles off their upcoming album All You Embrace. Ryan sings more on the new stuff, and new guitarist (and ex-Jail Socks drummer) Colman O’Brien’s shinier voice has a greater presence on these songs, which fit right in with the older stuff during their set. To end it, though, they brought things back to the early days, with “The Reach” from their 2019 Triple B EP From Me To You. Magnitude vocalist Russell Bussey took the mic for the first verse, and the song made for the most explosive part of their set.

Anxious followed with a set that stretched from “Small” (from their 2019 Triple B EP Never Better) to new single “Down, Down,” and of course had plenty of Little Green House. I’ve seen Anxious opening a lot of pop punk tours since their LP came out (The Wonder Years, Knuckle Puck, Boston Manor), and as great as they are every time, they really thrive in a more hardcore-centric setting without a barrier like last night’s show. From the very first second of set-opener “In April,” there was no space between the band and crowd at all, with constant stagediving, screamalongs, and overall madness. Even the slower songs (“Your One Way Street,” “Afternoon”) had bodies flying. When they ended with “Growing Up Song,” Grady told the crowd to get up here if you know it, and by the ending refrain, about 50 people took him up on that at once:

The night closed with Koyo, and they wasted no time claiming their throne as hometown heroes. Before getting into the songs from their Pure Noise-released debut album Would You Miss It?, they kicked off with “Moriches” from their Triple B EP Drives Out East, and there couldn’t have been a better way to start the set. All it took was the drummer teasing the song’s opening hi-hat hits for the packed crowd to get as close to the stage as possible, and it went from 0 to 100 and stayed there for the entirety of Koyo’s set. The last time I saw Koyo at Monarch, they were opening for The Movielife in late 2021, and they were great, but they were clearly an “opening band” with only a handful of people in the crowd who seemed like they already knew them (granted this was right when Omicron was hitting and even The Movielife’s crowd was smaller than usual that night), but now they returned as headliners and they brought The Movielife’s Vinnie Caruana with them to do his guest vocal on “What’s Left To Say?.” Joey said on stage that they’d never done it live with him before, and it felt like a real passing-of-the-torch moment. Koyo are not shy about their love for The Movielife, Silent Majority, Taking Back Sunday, and other late ’90s / early 2000s Long Island melodic hardcore and emo bands, and seeing them breathe new life into that style of music with a massive crowd that knew every word, it really felt like something new and exciting, not just a revival.

Anxious and One Step Closer will meet again at Sound and Fury, and Anxious are also playing Furnace Fest. No upcoming dates at the moment for Koyo or Stateside, though Koyo mentioned from stage that they’d be playing the refurbished Amityville Music Hall when it reopens. Stay tuned.