Material: The men of hardcore punk/thrash metal crossover band Take Offense seem to be very proud of the fact that they’re from Chula Vista, but then that’s no surprise. Being territorial, for a hardcore band, comes with the territory. The headliners at this show were New York hardcore veterans Agnostic Front, and half of their set appeared to be about New York and, more specifically, their “Lower East Side crew.” Take Offense don’t quite go that far, but they plant their flag. Musically, they have a sound reminiscent of Suicidal Tendencies and the Stormtroopers of Death, with a bit of thrash pioneers Anthrax thrown in.
Musicianship: Thanks to those thrash influences, the musicians in Take Offense are fantastically intricate. There’s more of a hint of Scott Ian (Anthrax) and Kerry King (Slayer) about the guitarists, playing throwaway riffs and sharp widdles at the drop of a hat. Drummer Rodriguez is a machine—so precise that one could be forgiven for thinking he’s miming to electronically created beats, were that not so against what hardcore stands for. There’s not a guy in this band who doesn’t do his job tremendously well.
Performance: Herrera is a wonderful frontman, bouncing around the stage like a kangaroo on a pogo stick. His movements reflect the groove that is abundant in so many of these songs, and he’s also happy to charm the crowd between songs. Special mention must go to the guitarist wearing white high-top sneakers. If the music wasn’t already transporting us back to a very niche corner of the 1980s, those shoes certainly did.
Summary: Take Offense are, relatively speaking, younger than a lot of the hardcore bands on the circuit, but nobody should assume that they’re lightweight, diluted, or even less authentic because of that. Rather, this band gives off the vibe that they’re hungry, ambitious, and mad as all hell. They have everything to play for, and a ton of talent in their ranks to help them achieve it.
Venue: Alex's Bar in Long Beach, CA
The Players: Anthony Herrera, vocals; Ruben Benavides, guitar; Greg Cerwonka, guitar; Randy Noyes, guitar; Ray Mosher, bass; Joe Rodriguez, drums.