By: Josh Rivera
Photo by: Donovan Visai Roub Souay
2016 may have been a slap in the face in many ways, but in its final hours, it did deliver something to be excited about – Fort Collins’ newest hardcore/punk band, Victim Culture. In just a few short months, these guys have burst onto the scene in a big way. The key? Staying busy. In the short time they have been together, they have played nearly a dozen shows all up and down the Front Range at places like The Marquis Theater, Hodi’s Half Note, Surfside 7, and Seventh Circle Music Collective.
I met up with the guys from Victim Culture (Zack Hill, Connor Hampton, and Noah Shockley) at Surfside 7 one week after they had played one of the craziest shows I have ever seen at the venue, opening for Colorado favorites, In The Whale, to a sold out crowd. The audience that night was definitely amped up, and by the end of the show there was a hole in Surfside’s floor to prove it! Having seen a few Victim Culture shows before this, I wasn’t too surprised. These guys hit the stage with an infectious energy rarely seen in a band that has only been playing together for such a short time.
Though the band is new, anyone who has been paying attention to the Fort Collins’ punk rock scene over the past five years should recognize Zack and Connor from their previous band, Head Injuries. Connor was their original bassist, and Zack only recently left to concentrate on Victim Culture and spend more time putting in the groundwork to help strengthen the Fort Collins underground music scene.
“The scene in Fort Collins fell apart a little bit over the past few years,” says Hill. “Surfside was in the process of moving, a ton of great bands either broke up or left town, and it sort of felt like heavy music was done in Fort Collins.” He’s not wrong. In a town dominated by indie, bluegrass, folk, and pop-rock, it has been a dark few years for punk, metal, and hardcore. The guys are optimistic about the future, though. Surfside has been open in its new location for a while now, Soda Jerk Presents (who bring a lot of the biggest names in punk and metal through Colorado) has started booking more shows in Fort Collins, and there are rumors around town about a new DIY venue on the horizon. When I ask the guys about their favorite local bands, our conversation veers off the rails for a solid hour as we chat about Chieftain, Soviet Mothers, Screwtape, and many more. Still, there is work to be done. If this is the type of music you like, get out to a show, and bring some friends. You are almost guaranteed to see Zack there, whether or not Victim Culture is on the bill. As he puts it, showing up to shows is the easiest way to support and grow the scene.
Victim Culture are currently in the studio recording their debut EP with Alan Hlavacek (of the Fort Collins based band Attack on Venus). They plan to release the EP in April, for free. Catch them live March 22nd at The Black Sheep in Colorado Springs, March 24th at Summit Music Hall in Denver, or March 28th at The Whiskey in Fort Collins.
March 22: The Black Sheep, Colorado Springs
March 24: Summit Music Hall, Denver
March 28: The Whisk[e]y, Fort Collins