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Photography by Amahli Vivian

By Amahli Vivian

On October 13, the post-hardcore/emo revival band Movements came to Santa Cruz with their three opening bands to perform their sold-out show at the main stage at the Catalyst. Movements’ new album RUKUS! was released in August 2023, so a tour promoting the album was seemingly inevitable. While I went mostly just to see Mannequin Pussy live, Movements and the two other opening bands, Heart to Gold and Solftcult, put on lively and memorable sets.

Heart of Gold kicked things off with their punk-tinted indie rock sound. Heart To Gold’s live performance matched their musical sound to a T. Loud, blaring guitar solos at the end of most of their songs, Whiteoak’s sometimes-singing-sometimes-shouting vocals, along with the band members interacting and jamming with each other, made Heart To Gold an excellent way to kick off the show. At least, that’s what I thought; the vast majority of the audience was motionless throughout Heart to Gold’s set for whatever reason.

Softcult came on next. They’re the most distinctive band that performed compared to the others. Lush and reverb-heavy guitar riffs paired with dreamy vocals sung by twin siblings Phoenix and Mercedes Arn-Horn served as a reminder that shoegaze is not dead. Towards the end of their set, Mercedes Arn-Horn did some powerful spoken word poetry that discussed consent and revenge, which got the crowd fired up. They ended their performance with “One Of A Million” with several minutes-long distorted albeit dreamy guitar solos with thundering heavy drum fills. The crowd responded with polite clapping, a little surprising considering how well Softcult sounded on stage.

For the first two opening acts, there were only minor reactions from the crowd: minimal body movements, only about half the audience looking at the stage, and very few people head bopping to the performance. But the minute Mannequin Pussy came on stage to set up their instruments, everyone broke into loud cheering and shouting. After Softcult left the stage, it became evident who most people were here to see. 

Mannequin Pussy opened with one of their most recognized songs, “Romantic,” much to the crowd’s excitement. Marisa “Missy” Dabice, lead vocalist and guitarist of the Philadelphia indie punk outfit, created an infectious energy in the crowd by interacting with them in between songs and dancing all over the stage during songs. The crowd responded to Dabice’s energy with ease by starting a mosh pit in the center of the crowd that lasted for the rest of Mannequin Pussy’s set. 

Later in their set, Dabice shared that Mannequin Pussy has a new album, I Got Heaven, coming out in March 2024, and ended up playing two (!) unreleased songs off the album. These two songs are surprisingly, pleasantly lean more into hardcore punk compared to the rest of Mannequin Pussy’s discography. Feeling faint from being in the sweaty mosh pit, I enjoyed the last couple of songs from a spot towards the back of the venue. Mannequin Pussy ended their set in their typical loud and angry manner with bassist Colin “Bear” Regisford on vocals for their political song “Pigs Is Pigs.” 

Well-known in the alternative music scene, Movements kicked things off with “You’re One of Us Now,” the first song off of RUKUS! The reaction from the crowd and the energy in the venue made it more than clear that Movements was the headlining act. Lead singer Patrick Miranda commanded the crowd, urging people to sing along to each song. The audience needed no convincing, as I’m sure most of the people there were part of Movements loyal fan base. The noise levels for Movements were perfectly balanced; I was able to focus on Miranda’s vocals without being distracted by the crushing sounds of drums alongside the fuzz and grained-up guitars and bass. The set list consisted of a hefty mix of new and older songs, such as “Daylily”—they ended up closing with that track—but they played a majority of newer songs off of RUKUS! 

The sold-out show resulted in limited standing room, even at the less crowded back of the venue and upstairs. It simply went to show how many people resonated with (and knew) Movements’ music. Perhaps it’s the honest and personal lyrics that address heavy subjects, such as mental health and issues, or simply the way Movements combine the sounds of post-hardcore, emo, and alternative rock. Either way, I left the concert as content as the other concertgoers, despite not being that familiar with Movements’ discography.