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Rain Fest returns

Hardcore festival at The Viaduct sure to make your ears bleed — just like you like it

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Three days of brutality: that is what the annual Rain Fest promises to give Tacoma, and the entire Pacific Northwest, in fact, Friday through Sunday at The Viaduct. With more than 30 bands and counting, the all-ages hardcore festival doesn’t even give an attendee time to rest — not that you are going to want it. Some of the bands include Sabertooth Zombie, Killing the Dream, Comeback Kid, Trash Talk, The Warriors, and many more that will drench your shorts in perspiration before you even hit the pit.

Playing on Friday, Killing the Dream is signed to Deathwish and is making the trek from Sacramento. Vocalist Elijah Horner says even though he’s biased because his “best homie” Matthew Weltner — a well known booker in the Northwest hardcore scene — started Rain Fest it’s still “one of the best shows of the year.” Not only is he excited about playing, Horner is looking forward to feeling the excitement of the throngs of kids.

“(The kids) are really the driving force behind hardcore … it just wouldn’t be possible if it were 21+,” says Horner of the excitement sure to be palpable at The Viaduct this weekend.

In truth, who wouldn’t want to watch Killing the Dream’s live show: a sweaty combination of “Patches and Chris playing the wrong notes and (Elijah) running around like a jackass and losing his voice,” according to the band. Sounds like an entertaining half an hour to say the least. Killing the Dream plans to kill the stage during Rain Fest.

Sabertooth Zombie will be playing on the last day of the festival and are also making a drive up from northern California to give the Northwest a taste of “energy, emotion, fun, circle pits, and head banging,” says guitarist Jay McNeilly. And they’ll be doing it for the third year in a row. According to McNeilly, Sabertooth Zombie, which is signed to Twelve Gauge Records, expects a solid turnout and considers Rain Fest a “great way to kick off summer.” 

Zack Ellis, one of the main forces behind The Viaduct and Rain Fest, expects the Fest to go well and to “be one of the most fun and exhausting weekends of (his) life.” Ellis purposefully psyches himself out so that when it’s over he’s “much more excited” than he expected. With three people booking the festival, it’s a lot of “insanely long lists,” according to Ellis, and there were many discussions about which bands to ask. Rain Fest provides an important addition to the all-ages scene and the hardcore scene. Ellis sees the all-ages scene as being “at a middle point.”

“It can turn into something incredible,” says Ellis, noting that this will take plenty of initiative and drive. “But if people stay lazy … then this scene will start to die.”

Which nobody wants to see happen.

Take a deep breath, clear your weekend, and show up to give the bands at Rain Fest a warm and brutal welcome to the Northwest. They deserve it.

[The Viaduct, Rain Fest, May 22-24, $20-$25, 3 day passes available for $57.57 at, 5412 S Tacoma Way, Tacoma, 253.472.1948,]

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