Fun Fun Fun Fest Nites: Negative Approach at Red 7
By Andy O’Connor
Fun Fun Fun Fest is filled with bands that want you to forget about your worries and sing and dance in rapture. Detroit hardcore legends Negative Approach are not one of those bands. Their nihilistic hardcore stood in stark contrast to the exalted glory of Judas Priest, the sexual energy of Ginuwine, the opulence of 2 Chainz, and pretty much every other band of the festival.
Headlining the outside stage of Red 7, this much was confirmed: they come from one of the toughest cities in America, and they sound like it. Negative Approach didn’t bother to introduce themselves, simply plugging in and letting the kids beat themselves up on their own accord.
Vocalist John Brannon sounds like he eats hardcore singers for lunch — he’s one of the few who sounds nastier than he did in the 80s. “Ready to Fight” sounded less of call to action than a threat, and Brannon’s deeper voice made the already hopeless lyrical direction of “Nothing” sound scorched-earth bleak. He’s become somewhat of a hardcore Internet sensation for beginning nearly every tweet with “Check it out” following an often profane, always humorous observation, and he’s not unaware of this, as he would drop “check it out” every now and then.
Harold Richardson, the band’s guitarist, totally negated any want for celebrity, as he stood with his back to the crowd the entire set, wrangled tangled rhythms while still being aware of the chaos on the floor. Negative Approach’s directness is too brutal for a huge stage; they needed the intimacy brought be people blazingly disobeying Red 7’s no-stagediving rule.