Over time, I began to include a few pictures of the crowds expressions, participation and overall reaction to particular acts, sets and song. For as long as I’ve attended shows and gone to concerts, every act with little to no exception, had a particular song that the audience knew every word, hook and breakdown. While it was always a great opportunity to capture the moment when a singer reaches his emotional halcyon or time the moment when the guitarist launches in the air. It might also be the perfect opportunity to catch the reaction to the crowd. The images to your right were captured about eight years apart. The above captures the crowd at a Revelation Records showcase at CBGB’s. While the one below shows the emotion of the crowd during a set by the band Thursday at Atlantic City’s House of Blues.
Here’s another photo from that Staten Island VFW show. Though I could be wrong, I believe this be the Aaron Lazausk of the Rockville, Connecticut emo/noise-core band Cable. Like I said in my earlier post featuring an image of Three Steps Up, there were some really amazing bands on this bill. At the time, the band had a split ‘7 inch with Staten Island’s Malcom’s Lost (also on the bill) and were just about to release ‘Variable Speed Drive’ on Doghouse records. An eight song powerhouse that I would come to know the band best for. When I think of all the now highly regarded bands I saw in basements, cavernous clubs and VFW halls, it gives me somewhat of a rush. Almost as if I was on to something long before all the squares got a hold of it.
Though some of my negatives haven’t stood the test of time, my memories have remarkably held up pretty well. At the time this image of New York City’s The Candy Snatchers was taken at 3rd avenues The Continental. I had just begun dating my future wife and working nights at a record store a few doors down. At the time, the Continental was hosting a lot of great bands that seemed to fit into the cities punk rock revival. During a relatively short time, I got to see bands with names like The Deviators, The Turbo AC’s, The Suicide King (Featuring Nick Marden of the legendary Stimulators, The Snake Charmers and (pictured here) the Candy Snatchers. The Continental was tiny with the bar on the left and the stage in the back. Like most of Manhattan, the Continental and the adjacent St. Marks Street bare little or no resemblance to the once edgy character it was once known. The last time I visited the area, The Continental was a yuppie bar, and St. Marks was lined with trendy restaurants and frozen yogurt chains. What I liked most about this particular band was that element of danger tthey always seemed to carry. That kind of Stooges vibe. Being in my twenties at the time. I liked the element of anything can happen at any time. A stark contrast to today, where so many people at shows are more engaged with their phones and social media, than the actual event.
Though I only saw the band once. Boundbrook, New Jersey’s One Nature left a lasting impression on me. With an incendiary live set, the first double ‘7-inch ep I’d ever seen and a sound that reminded me of the band Ignition as well as the many great Dischord Record acts of the’80’s. Though I never did hear from or see the band live again, I still own that double ‘7-inch and play it regularly. Thanks to an old friend for unintentionally reminding me of all the bands that, while I only had the chance to see once, left a lasting impression that still holds today.
When I think about my return to Jackson Heights after graduating from High School, I can’t help but recall how much the New York Hardcore scene became the center of my world. During my year and a half in Wayne, New Jersey, I produced a fanzine called “Boredom” It featured a lot of bad creative writing and a few music reviews. When I moved back to my old neighborhood and became more involved with music, I started a new fanzine called “Unite” Each issue would feature five interviews. One being a newly formed, yet up and coming band.
That first issue would include an interview with Fit of Anger. In the months leading up to the interview, I had gotten to know the group pretty well. During the time leading up to their first demo, we’d often meet up and hang out at a place called Monkey Hill Studios. In what was a relatively short time, I got to experience the band perform live while getting to know the singer Nick and the guitarist Chris (pictured here) pretty well. Fit of Anger would appear on the New Breed tape compilation and members, particularly Nick and Chris would go on to perform in as well as form other notable acts in the New York’s 90’s hardcore scene.
While I attended countless shows at many storied venues over the years, it was the VFW, and Basement shows I was lucky enough to make my way to that will always hold a special place in my heart. The conversations and friendships struck up with once strangers and standing toe to toe within spitting distance of the band. Leaning in to sing the chorus you just heard for the first time just seconds ago. Pictured here is an image of the band 3 Steps Up. I saw them along with a slew of other groups, including New Jersey’s Lifetime, Weston, Cable, and others. This Staten Island “Dagobah Cafe” named VFW Hall show, was worth the long and arduous trip from Manhattan. Thanks to former Sleeper/Serpico guitarist/vocalist for info on the band and the side story about their European tour.