Eliza Hill

Arts & Features Writer

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Legendary theatrical band, Daikaiju plays for fans wearing signature masks so no one knows their real identity

The Surf-rock band Harriers of Discord bring eclectic style and a dynamic, lively performance to Static Age Records, along with notorious theatrical rock group, Daikaiju and local acts Ancient Ethel and Tongues of Fire.

 Harriers of Discord totes a notable resume, including a shared bill with Blake Schwarzenbach of Jawbreaker, a South by Southwest appearance and a slot at the Las Vegas music festival, Punk Rock Bowling.

 Avid fan Deven Ivy speaks enthusiastically of the band’s high-intensity performances and one-of-a-kind musical style, saying the band combines surf rock and punk with a West Coast twist, differentiating their music and bringing a new flavor to Asheville. He admires frontwoman Aimee Oliver’s commanding voice and bass player Duane Hall’s high-energy crowd engagement. 

 “I think the uniqueness of their music and energy of their performance makes their shows particularly special. Their music is like spaghetti Western meets surf-punk. A lot of fun and easy to move to. Their performances are always high energy and Duane really likes to interact with the crowd and I think that has a lot to do with it. He’s always jumping into the crowd or climbing on people’s shoulders,” Ivy said. 

 Harriers of Discord originated in the Los Angeles and Las Vegas areas, moving to Asheville in August 2018, four years after Aimee Oliver cultivated and produced her freshman album titled “Thank God for Wood.”

 “I had done a medical study and got a bunch of money and was like, ‘I’m going to buy some recording equipment.’ I did nothing with it for six months and then started recording and released an album. Right when I did that, I was about to drop $2,000 on vinyl. I almost paid, and then I was like ‘No I’m not going to do it; I’m going to wait,’” Oliver said.

 The 27-year-old’s music perked the ears of vinyl distribution and subscription company Feedbands when a producer heard the album playing at The Buchi Bar in Downtown. The friend and employee who played Oliver’s music at the bar passed the man’s contact information to Oliver and Hall one morning during their first visit to Western North Carolina.

 “That morning she was like ‘Oh yeah I forgot I had this piece of paper in my pocket. Someone wants to talk to you about pressing your album into vinyl,’ and I was like ‘Fuck yeah, that’s exactly what I want,’” she said. 

 Feedbands soon tucked a copy of “Thank God for Wood” into all subscribers’ packages, inspiring Oliver to form a band and bring her recordings to life. Hall joined Harriers of Discord in 2015 and Marcus Trujillo joined as the official drummer after the band relocated in Asheville.

 Hall considers Asheville a refreshing musical taste breaker and change of pace, saying the band enjoys reemerging in the musically talented city. He said Los Angeles holds more variety and a plethora of bands, while Asheville carries fewer, more quality acts and shows. 

“We were kind of tired of Los Angeles. It’s expensive out there. And we weren’t progressing. Not band-wise, it’s just hard to move up there. It seems like it’s a lot easier to get people to go to shows out here because there’s not so much going on and it’s not oversaturated, as Los Angeles is. There’s so many bands in Los Angeles, so many local bands, so many touring bands, there’s shows every night all the time,” Hall said.

 Oliver and Hall say Harriers of Discord always enjoys transcending genre boundaries when booking shows. They said a variety of quality bands create an exciting bill, suiting listeners’ multidimensional music taste.

 “When we booked shows in Los Angeles, we would make it a point to put bands of different genres together, to bring groups of different people together. It doesn’t have to be all street punk shows,” Hall said. “That was our plan because we have so much variety in our stuff, we wanted our shows to have variety, too.”

 Hall encourages Asheville music enthusiasts to arrive prepared for an unordinary and incendiary experience. Touring for 20 years, Diakaiju, holds repute for sporting masks, moving equipment from room to room as they play and even setting instruments on fire.

 “Daikaiju comes down here like once a year and it’s worth it to see them. If you haven’t seen them, you should see them. Daikaiju means ‘Giant Monster’ in Japanese. Their shows and songs are based around them coming to town and destroying the town, like Godzilla would do. All the songs lead up to that and they always end with fire. To me, that symbolizes destroying the town,” Hall said. “They’ll go from one room to another, they’ll go on top of the bar, they’ll take the stuff outside and play the show and they have 100-foot extension cords. They’ll lift the drummer up and he’ll play in the air, they’ll light stuff on fire. It’s the best show I’ve ever seen besides GWAR.”

 Harriers of Discord invite fans to Static Age Records Nov. 11 at 9 p.m. for a $6 cover fee to participate in a rare and memorable night of music.

 “Harriers of Discord and Daikaiju are a powerhouse duo,” Ivy said. “They rock so hard, I’ll be surprised if the venue is still standing by the end of the night.”