Alt-punk band, Sad Park’s show stuns

Band plays music.
Sad Park had a memorable sold-out show that explored complex topics amid an eccentric, spirited crowd at the Smell this past Sunday. A&E writer Catherine Quiñones reflects on the unforgettable concert. (Catherine Quinones | Daily Trojan)

Emo-punk band Sad Park, seized the stage at the Smell Sunday, celebrating the prolonged success of their album “Sleep” after five years. Members Graham Steele, Grant Bubar, Sam Morton and Aidan Memory put on an unforgettable show through their impassioned performance. 

The labyrinth of scattered alleyways within downtown Los Angeles disguise a community constructed from a do-it-yourself scene: the Smell. Sad Park’s vocalist, Steele, belted angsty ballads with his transparently wistful tone as Memory and Morton plucked the strings of their spirited guitars with graceful mastery. At the heart of the set, Bubar fed the unforgiving beat of the drums to the starving crowd in front of him. 

The company of a vivacious tempo provided perfect conditions for chaos to prosper. Buoyant instruments became weapons for frenzy, promising riveting entertainment through a raging inferno of ringing ears and thrashing bodies. 

There was a feverish crowd of Doc Martens, battle jackets and crowd surfers. The lurking zeal from the crowd was ready to strike as the deafening silence from prior ballads suddenly erupted into pure mayhem when an eccentric man with liberty spikes riled up the crowd. He prepared the audience for an adrenaline-induced mosh pit of disorderly commotion. It is safe to say that within this unique, swaying mass of individuals, one was bound to meet a friend from the occasional bumping into and “sorry’s” sputtered in-between sets. 

The band performed fan favorites such as “I Should,” “Awake” and their most esteemed release, “In My Head,” specifically catered to the enjoyment of the audience. Sad Park’s ability to provide a safe haven for fans to feel seen, heard and recognized makes the band memorable. Many artists are able to produce amazing music with appealing beats and catchy rhythms. However, the tendency to fall into deceiving traps of meaningless production for individuals who happen to tune in is forever apparent. Musicians who limit themselves to aimless sounds neglect the need to create an art which influences as well as shapes those around them.

These members are true lyricists, allowing for an authentic dialogue about the troubling mechanisms of mental health and its impactful symptoms to be amplified. Their song, “It’s All Over,” opens up with a muted, barely there strumming of a guitar, allowing for the line “curl up and just die” to speak volumes for itself. This expressive melody illustrates the bitter and harsh realities for someone waging a war against the most intimidating enemy out there — ourselves. 

As Sad Park directs attention towards pessimistic perspectives and the oftentimes apparent bleakness of the world, they also explore positive values in life. This talent for melding the two contrasting ideas of introspective and expressive behaviors is of no simple feat and deserves acknowledgement. 

This sense of belonging and companionship was further illuminated at the band’s sold-out show, as a copious group of fans chanted their favorite tunes in harmony with the many others surrounding them. Sad Park together a hub of creators, imagineers and mavericks to relish in a realm of infinite possibilities. The next time it’s  in town, I highly suggest taking a chance to see Sad Park and enjoy it’s incredible performance.