Saturday, May 18th was a day for the hardcore history books as Judge was once again poised to take the stage after calling it quits more than two decades earlier. Like many others, I was looking forward to this day as I had never seen Judge live. In fact, after the line-up for the Black N' Blue Bowl was announced with Judge as the headliner it was almost a down and out fight just to get an online ticket. The end result was good though as Black N' Blue Productions decided to add another whole day to this years event along with a live stream for those that couldn't make it to the show.
District 9 working over the BNB crowd.
Although wanting to be present for both days, circumstances permitted me to be in New York for only the Saturday show and due to some travel delays I almost missed out completely. That didn't happen, but the delays did cause me to get in late and miss the first four bands. When I finally arrived at Webster Hall it was just in time to catch the very end of The Old Firm Casuals. If you like street punk this is a band you need to checkout and after getting only a small dose of them live I'm determined to make up for my loss in the future. But more great bands were to come that night with Altercation soon taking the stage only to be followed by Take Offense, who were both very well received by the crowd. Next up was District 9. With the release of SouthBronxMemoirs this was another band I was really looking forward to and as to be expected Puerto Rican Myke and the crew killed it!
Strife was both on the stage and in the pit.
Strife was the next band scheduled for day one and they definitely provided a very memorable and explosive performance. The intensity was high and after getting just a few songs into their set you could see a stream of blood running down from a gash in the middle of vocalist Rick Rodney's forehead. Soon he would leave the stage behind to continue barking out anthems from the very center of the pit! As you could imagine this incited a massive pile on and sing-a-long only to be followed by some of the most aggressive dancing. Then with almost the look of a crazed animal in his eyes he marched through all the swinging arms and fists to the back of the pit just to put his hand out to an appreciative crowd member before turning around and heading back to the stage. Now that's the type of crazy shit that makes you remember a show 20 years from now!
An explosive set from Bane.
In the midst of the chaos came a brief change of pace with Black Train Jack taking the stage. Although the pit action slowed down quite a bit the bands distinct style was both welcomed and respected by the supportive crowd. There was even a little humor from the stage but the thing I found funny as hell was seeing someone from the Webster Hall staff go into the pit during a song to sweep up a piece of garbage with a broom and dust pan! But the calm didn't last long as Bane was up next and a repeat of the energy from the Strife set ensued.
Breakdown bringing the old school NYHC.
Breakdown would soon be on stage offering up some classic NYHC. Jeff and the original line up delivered a set including favorites like "Kickback" and "Sick People". This all set the stage for Judge. In between bands the room seemed to fill with more people than at any other time that night. You could feel the temperature in the building rising as the crowd packed in tight to the point that you could barely move. Then to announce the return of Judge the air filled with the sound of "The Imperial March" (Darth Vader's theme music) from Star Wars. This lead the band directly into "Take Me Away". The whole crowd immediately erupted and pushed forward while bodies started diving off the stage. The sing-a-long that ensued was like one large voice lead by none other than Mike Judge himself. More great songs followed like "Bringin' It Down", "In My Way", "Hear Me", "Just Like You", "Give It Up" and more. Finally, after playing "Where It Went", Mike brought Civ up on stage and they closed the night with "New York Crew".
Checkout the latest video from Cleveland hip-hop artist Big O entitled "Ticking Timebomb". True underground music with appearances by members of Cleveland hardcore band Hood Life, Puerto Rican Myke of District 9 (NYHC) and more. If you like what you hear be on the lookout this summer for the release of Big O's upcoming LP "Gravel Engravement".
STIGMA has released a video for the song "Don't Lose Faith" off their new album "For Love & Glory". Check out the video here along with the following links for a review of the record and an interview with Stigma bassist Mike Gallo.
I grew up outside of Buffalo, NY and got into hardcore around '89/'90 when a kid at school told me that if I liked Slayer I should check out this hardcore band called Sick Of It All. I figured what did I have to lose (other than a few bucks) and ordered Blood, Sweat & No Tears from some underground music catalog I had at the time. When it finally came in the mail and I got to check it out, that was it - there was no turning back! The first hardcore show I went to was an Agnostic Front show at the Skyroom in Buffalo with Sick Of It All on the bill. Several years later I ended up leaving the area and moving to Brooklyn where I lived from '94 to '98. During that time I would venture over to the city every now and then to catch a good hardcore show at places like CBGB's, Coney Island High, Tramps, and Irving Plaza. After that it was back to Buffalo and then on to Atlanta where I am currently.