Ascend/Descend rise from the ashes of a Brighton fire, play debut show tonight in Cambridge


Exactly one year ago today, a deadly fire ripped through a Brighton apartment house, killing one resident and displacing several others. Two of those residents, who both lost a majority of their personal items and were forced to find new homes, were Kyle Neeson and Michelle Dugan, and tonight on the one-year anniversary of the blaze their respective bands are playing a show together alongside Trap Them at the Middle East: Neeson with his hardcore/metal band I am become Death, and Dugan with her new band, Ascend/Descend.

While I am become Death are firmly entrenched in the Boston music scene, even with Neeson having since relocated to Los Angeles, last month Ascend/Descend released their first single, the pummeling “Manipulator”, and tonight marks their first-ever live show.

“Backstory is that I wrote an EP specifically for Michelle to sing over in the wake of the Murdock Street fire that left her homeless,” guitarist Nick Wolf tells Vanyaland. “I enlisted Alex Garcia-Rivera to record it and play drums. What started as a one-time studio project took on a life of its own and became Ascend/Descend.”


While Dugan had never played in a band before, the rest of the project are veterans on the scene, with guitarist Nicholas Wolf playing in the Proselyte and Phantom Glue, while drummer Alex Garcia-Rivera known for his work in Chrome Over Brass, Confessions, and other bands. Ascend/Descend was rounded out by bassist Erik Wormwood, also of I am become Death and Wormwood Joint show promoter. What started as a way for Dugan to help with the healing process in the year since the fire quickly became a viable band with plans to record and play shows, and her lyric writing was a perfect fit for Wolf’s music.

“It all came to fruition after the fire,” Dugan says. “I had so much anger from that and other things I was going through, and I was writing a lot. I thought might as well put all this to good use. It was a total catharsis, not just from the fire but for other things as well.”

She adds: “It’s been incredible, and I’m totally grateful playing with these guys. It started out as a project and went really well, and now we’re all throwing it all in and contributing equally.”


Beyond tonight’s show with Trap Them (see flyer below for details), Ascend/Descend have two additional shows this fall, with Kenmode and Cult Leader, respectively, and are working on completing their debut EP.

In the meantime, check out “Manipulator” below…