After Denny’s Grand Slam, punks go hardcore at the Sonic Drive-In

Chicken tenders for the hardcore soul.

Punk bands and fans converged upon a New Jersey Sonic Drive-In last weekend (10 September) to mosh – not nosh – to sets from five bands.

The raucous combo of bands that night included Gel, Scowl, Exhibition, Chemical Fix and Phantom. Footage from the show has already made the rounds online, including coverage by Sunny Singh, the DIY show archivist better known as hate5six.

“Last night at sonic was mellow & nothing remarkable happened, said no one in attendance,” Singh wrote in a caption. Full sets from the bands are available via hate5six’s Patreon.

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A comment on Singh’s video offered an origin story to the Sonic show and said to be the fourth such show: The inaugural show was thrown by an employee at a next-door liquor store and the Sonic Drive-In’s manager in August 2021, who bonded over a love of punk rock and COVID-induced ennui.

Like chicken and waffles, hardcore punk and fast food are a surprising yet sumptuous fit – and both have actually been around longer than one might expect.

Ask a punk about the Denny’s Grand Slam, and you’ll be enlightened about a colourful show which took place at an abandoned Denny’s in 2013.

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In 2019, a ‘second’ Denny’s Grand Slam took place in Santa Ana, California – only this time at an outlet that was un-abandoned – or in other words, very much still in business.

Despite the Denny’s agreeing to book the show in the first place, the American hash-slinging, pancake-flippin’ chain eatery afterwards sought $1,000 in damages from the 17-year-old promoter who put on the show.

Wacko, one of the bands who played that night – alongside NNN, Ever Dead Babies Synnikill and Benoit – launched a GoFundMe campaign to help the promoter pay off the damages, raising over $2,000.

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