Hardcore Heaven: Kublai Khan TX Sells Out First Avenue


Photos by Nikhil Kumaran

On Tuesday night, First Avenue hosted the hottest epitomes of hardcore music right now – Kublai Khan TX (FKA Kublai Khan) alongside a series of thrashing openers consisting of Momentum, Judiciary and Sunami. 

When driving through downtown Minneapolis to get to the venue, I started to notice that traffic was going slower and slower as I approached my favorite ramp, (that has never failed me once in the past 2 years I’ve been doing this). The word “FULL” was cascaded in red across every ramp I drove past. After swearing and circling frantically around the block, It all clicked. Both a Timberwolves and Twins game – somehow occurring all on the same night seemingly filled every parking spot in the downtown area. Okay, I’m being a little dramatic, but I spent close to 30 minutes scouring the roads of downtown Minneapolis for a single parking spot. Long story short, I missed the first act, but made it just in time for Judiciary to start.

After running seven blocks to get to the venue, I was sweaty and out of breath. However, So was most of the crowd. As I walked through the doors, people pushed their way out of the mosh pit essentially grasping for fresh air. I couldn’t help but think to myself, “What a way to start the night.”

Judiciary hit the stage with an overpowering energy that immediately brought a smile to my face. Also based out of Texas, vocalist Jake Collins spoke about how thankful the band was to Kublai Khan TX for having them on tour. “I remember listening to these guys when I was a kid,” he said. The set from the quintet was intense, fun, and almost overwhelming. Their blend of metal and hardcore was articulate when it came to the rhythms, but so sludgy and dark in the guitars and bass. After the first three songs, the audience started to introduce crowd surfing to the show, which would remain a staple throughout it. 

Next up was Sunami. I didn’t know a lot about this band, but after chatting with fans in the crowd, I realized that many were absolutely stoked to see this group live. The LA-based hardcore punk band brought the heat, with their fiery stage presence, violent vocals, and stomach-turning riffs (I mean that in a good way, of course). 

When Kublai Khan TX hit the stage the crowd went absolutely feral. Frontman Matt Honeycutt’s energy commands your attention. Blending punishing breakdowns with razor-sharp riffs, the band delivered a restless onslaught of power that had the mosh pit in a frenzy. Kublai Khan TX proved once again why they are a force to be reckoned with in the hardcore scene, leaving concert-goers exhilarated – or completely out of breath.