Whether you’re a botanist or a punk, if you commute on Metro’s Red Line, you’ve probably noticed the flowery graffiti adorning a retaining wall between Takoma and Silver Spring — a jumbo daisy with splotchy petals circumscribing the letter “G.”
The “G” stands for Give, a hardcore punk outfit from the District that has been cultivating its own mutant strain of flower power for more than a decade. When the band assembled back in 2008, that daisy logo felt like a rejoinder to the dour mood that permeated the greater American hardcore scene, and Give’s album covers have been petal-sprinkled ever since.
“Flowers were obviously a way to go against all the gloominess,” says “Crucial” John Scharbach, the band’s founding vocalist. “I’m into hippie aesthetics and club music from the early ’90s and late ’80s, all that Detroit and U.K. stuff. So it became a motif. And I like consistency.”
Fittingly, Scharbach’s optimistic roar has always resided at the center of Give’s sound, while his bandmates — bassist Doug “Free” Cho, guitarist Ian Marshall, drummer Gene Melkisethian and guitarist Ben Schultz — continue to channel a spectrum of feelings at high volumes. “When you first get into hardcore, you’re an angry teenager, but we’re older now,” Scharbach says. “Hardcore is in our bones, but I feel like Give is more like an art project. Anger gets expressed, but there’s a range of other emotions, too.”
So while most hardcore bands still aspire to be remembered by the scorch marks they leave on this world, Scharbach has a much different idea: “When people think of Give, I hope they think of happiness in Washington, D.C.”
Show: With Lifetime, Cold World and Post Pink on Friday at 8 p.m. at St. Stephen’s and the Incarnation Episcopal Church, 1525 Newton St. NW. $25.