With blood-pumping riffs and a vintage hardcore approach, the GR band has new music on the way while imploring more venues to showcase the genre. The back story and concert video.
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Blood-pumping riffs, pummeling gang vocals and a punk sound that could easily be confused for classic ‘90s New York hardcore legends.
With that arsenal, Grand Rapids’ Bitter Truth aims to ignite West Michigan’s hardcore fans – on a mission to build a bigger audience for the “rough around the edges” scene and convince more venues to showcase the genre.
Singer and frontman Mnasse Tekle, guitarists Jon Barefoot and Cody DeWindt, bassist Jake Hudson and drummer Cameron Klingenberg formed as Bitter Truth after Tekle and Barefoot first jammed together for fun.
After writing songs reminiscent of some 2000s hardcore bands and adding close friends to the lineup, the band solidified and began recording material to release to the public.
“We honestly didn’t take it seriously until maybe a couple of years after originally getting together. It was just a band to say we had a band,” said Tekle.
After dropping a set of singles, followed by a full-length album, “Perfect World,” in September 2021, Bitter Truth started to pick up steam in West Michigan and surrounding states despite a surprising lack of venue support for more extreme bands.
LISTEN: Bitter Truth, “Perfect World”
Epitomizing their moniker, Bitter Truth, band members tend to speak their minds when it comes to topics they’re passionate about, specifically encouraging Grand Rapids’ music scene to give more local bands of their ilk a chance to play their hometown.
“If a venue is putting in work to book shows, and they care about the local scene, they should definitely try to branch out and look around because there are a ton of local bands with mad talent that need to get booked and given a fair shot,” said Tekle.
BEATING THE DRUM FOR MORE HARDCORE SHOWS
More all-age venues would give hardcore a boost, band members said.
“I think the main reason the Grand Rapids music scene was so vibrant a decade ago was thanks to all the all-age venues,” said DeWindt. “This affects the hardcore scene because this kind of music does not really translate well to bars. Also, the crowd at hardcore shows is typically younger.”
The recent return of Skelletones and The DAAC in Grand Rapids certainly has helped enhance all-ages alternatives in the area.
Bitter Truth would like to see even more venues jump aboard because hardcore revels in a live experience.
“I just want to add that if someone reading Local Spins sees this interview and has never been to a hardcore show, I encourage them to go and check it out,” said DeWindt.
“It’s a little bit more of a rough around the edges environment, and it can be violent, but that’s simply a part of the live experience.”
Bitter Truth plays Edgemen Screenprinting in Clinton Township north of Detroit on Oct. 22, joining Spaced, World I Hate and Sawchuk at this occasional “venue.”
More performances are coming, along with release of new music from Bitter Truth before the year’s end.
“We have some plans, and we have some stuff coming, but for right now, it’s all up in the air,” Tekle said.
Find more information about the band and upcoming shows by following Bitter Truth on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.
VIDEO: Bitter Truth (Live in Chicago)
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