Less than an hour north of Florida is a picturesque Georgia town called Valdosta. Known for a Valdosta State University, and Valdosta High School being the “winningest football program in the United States,” on its face it is a pretty wholesome locale.
Wholesome indeed but when it comes to music there’s a much different side to the town – full of heavy, ugly sounds and sweaty mosh pits. It’s beautiful. The Valdosta hardcore punk scene is its own intense musical world. I would even say it’s wholesome in a completely different, healthy-dose-of-madness kind of way.
Many in that scene are also friends to those of us here in South Florida who play the same kind of music.
A while ago I had the pleasure of organizing a Churchill’s show for Valdosta hardcore mainstays Machinist! and Dying Whale. Both groups have helped countless South Florida touring acts over the years – including my own by promoting our shows, giving us a place to stay the night, and even feeding us. Matthew Zagorski of Dying Whale let us stay with him while we toured with the amazing Carnivores at Grace. Then on tour with Moirae, Jeff Hill of Machinist! invited us over and gave us access to his personal bar and a place to sleep. I’ve got a strong respect for the people I’ve met and the experiences I’ve had there. Any band that has DIY (do-it-yourself) toured knows the value of generosity like this.
Both bands have a work ethic for touring that is relentless and admirable, living how they need to make it to the next show.
Dying Whale and Machinist! have come a long way since our show in Miami, with Machinist! getting signed to Eulogy Recordings and releasing their debut full-length, Pronegative, earlier this month.
Although Machinist! is signed now, the way they operate hasn’t changed much. It’s still just them loading into a van and going to the next town.
Their mastery of DIY has made them into something of a nonstop, consistent machine. But even the most label-made bands hit rough patches on tour which makes it really suck to see Machinist! take a massive setback while out promoting their new album. While on tour with Alabama/Florida-based Rebel Scum and Texas-based Insvrgence, their guitar amplifier got fried leaving Mr. Hill completely broke at the expense of a new one to finish the tour.
This kind of thing is not uncommon but when it happens we try to help each other out. This was just going to be a piece about the blistering Pronegative but it’s now also about helping out friends who have aided Miami touring acts to connect vital gig-dots on their the journey out of this long state. Maybe check out their album and if you like it, maybe make a purchase. They’re pretty rad.
Photos courtesy of the Machinist! Facebook and Bandcamp