Agnostic Front, The Hoodrats, The Mongoloids, Naysayer, Powertrip
September 18th, 2011
Better than: driving home hungover, sunburnt, and dehydrated from a long weekend at ACL.
If you needed a reminder of how old school hardcore hasn't been tainted by pandering, last night's Agnostic Front show was just that.
The New York Hard Core pioneers took stage a few minutes after 11 o'clock and delivered 20 songs over the course of an hour. Reaching back to their seminal work in the mid-80s with songs like "Victim in Pain" and touching on a number of songs from this year's My Life My Way, vocalist Roger Miret and guitarist Vinnie Stigma led the charge for the quintet.
Miret might be a couple of years away from hitting the mid-century mark, but he never came across as a codger. With a voice filled with strength and with stage presence that commanded the audience's attention, Miret showed everyone how things are done, no matter the age.
Sure, Miret and Stigma have played with a small army of drummers, bassists, and guitarists over the decades. But, last night, there wasn't a hint that their fellow bandmates were rent-a-punks, especially thumper Pokey Mo.
The crowd, who filled most of the venue's floor, spent hours waiting and saving their energy for the Front. While there was no shortage of windmill kicks, spinning back-fists, and pushing earlier in the evening, when the headliners took stage, the floor was open warfare. Didn't matter that it was late on a Sunday night for the audience -- who consisted mainly of 18- to 35-year-olds -- they were dedicated until the end.
The four opening bands -- two local, two from out of town -- had their merits and paced the audience. Powertrip had a Bay Area thrash sound with froggy vocals. Naysayer sounded like the bands Victory Records used to sign in the late '90s. The Mongoloids' shouty style had plenty of squeling guitar leads. And The Hoodrats were, frankly, a joke.
Recalling the self-loathing and self-deprecation of GG Allin and Guttermouth, the slurry/blabbering vocals made things worse for the metal/hardcore hybrid.
And on top of that, the band was filmed the entire time with a cameraman on the stage, flashing an incredibly blinding bright light onto the band and the crowd. (He also filmed half of AF's set.)
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It was as if the Cheap Lights store on I-35E expanded its eyesore.
Personal bias: The last time I went to a hardcore show, it was in '99, a few days before Halloween at the Galaxy Club. On the bill was Sick of It All, AFI, Hot Water Music, and Indecision. I was even in the pit during most of AFI's set. Last night's show, however, I stayed seated in the balcony.
By the way: Only a couple of fights broke out throughout the night. The bouncers quickly stepped in and took things outside. For the most part, it was the typical kind of friendly atmosphere you see at hardcore shows with plenty of bro side-hugs.
One other thing: A female audience member, who stayed on the stage a little too long during The Hoodrats' set, was gently pushed off the stage by the band's singer. Unfortunately, no one caught her in time and she fell flat on her back. Again, the bouncers quickly stepped in, took her outside and she later walked back in.