After watching the news reporting arctic temperatures, bomb cyclones and record snow falls hitting the East Coast. I felt a sense duty to grab my shovel, ice pick and suitcase full of long john’s and winter garb and head back east to join the ranks of my comrades. After about thirty seconds of planning, I realized that I owned a condo back in New Jersey where I paid a pretty hefty maintenance fees to have someone do those kind of things. I took a deep breathe of relief and thought about our first snowfall here in Seattle on Christmas Eve 2017. Waking up to snow on Christmas Day was probably the most exciting part of my holiday. I recall racing up to the roof with my camera like a kid comes flying out of his bedroom towards the Christmas tree. That burst of joy and excitement is an incredible rush. One I wouldn’t recommend for someone with any heart problems. So as the deep freeze continues and the snowfall shakes loose the childhood memories of snowball fights and impenetrable snow forts. I wish my friends, family and loved ones back east safety and a chance to relive their childhood memories. June is only six months away.
Having grown up in New York and having spent a good chunk of my life living in New Jersey. I got used to the town criers known to most as the local weather man.
When I got home late the other night there was a message from my old friend Freddy letting me know their was an extra ticket and seat for the ride down to D.C. for the reunion of the band Scream. It was an automatic and enthusiastic “YES” for me. I had been craving a road trip over the last couple of weeks and the opportunity to see the legendary Scream was as good an excuse as it gets. Though the weather called for snow I hoped for the best and kept my fingers crossed. Saturday came and the snow came as forecasted (imagine that, an accurate weather forecast.) The snow came and kept on coming. By the time Freddy called me Saturday night it had turned into a blizzard. Freddy’s voice did not sound good. “I don’t know man. The snow is pretty bad. I heard that D.C. is blanketed in it. I don’t know if I want to go.” I know how he felt but asked that he wait until the morning to decide. The next morning I was jolted by the phone. It was Freddy again. “We’re going. Meet us at Great Jones at noon. I jolted out of bed, got dressed and headed to the city. Freddy Alva, Mark Ryan, Nikki Sneakers and yours truly packed into Dave Steins car and headed out. Prior to our leaving I had pictured the cover of the D.C. benefit compilation “State of the Union” where homeless men are covered in tattered blankets while covered in snow. In all honesty I pictured us going 20 miles and hour in Antarctica like temperatures and Siberian snow drifts. But the roads were clear and there was no traffic to be seen. Within a few hours we’d be in D.C. The trip was pretty uneventful. Dave and Freddy in the front Me, Nikki and Mark in the back. Bad Brains and Cromags playing on the iPod. Eventually we arrived in D.C. and found a spot right in front of a good record store a few blocks from the club. I scored an Urban Blight and an Undertones record while Nikki seemed to make a serious killing. After that it was over to Busboys and Poets where we were joined by more people for dinner. B&P is a combination book store, bar and restaurant with some great books and even better food. I highly recommend the catfish btw.
Afterwards we headed up the block to the Black Cat for what would be an amazing night. What were originally scheduled to be four bands were narrowed down to two. Rust Buckit and Scream. Rustbuckit which features for members of Black Market Baby were a good teaser. Playing balls out rock ‘n roll that the crowd really got into. They had a good presence and got everyone whipped up. As the set ended I noticed the club was filling up quickly and from there I never looked back.
For the record Scream was perhaps the last of the great D.C. bands of the 80’s that I fell in love with. That said I have done a lot of catching up over the years. The band fired into a set that was powerful, emotional and memorable. The bands energy coupled with the crowds response were impossible to contain. Pete paced back and fourth on the stage belting out a set that was an even mix of old and new songs. Skeeter plucking away on his bass and Franz firing his guitar. I heard a few comments about them playing too many new songs but if you ask me the crowd was too whipped up to mind. When the band returned for an encore they were joined by none other than Brian Baker on guitar. My mind was blown. The crowd became even more frenzied and the bodies started flying off the stage. I remember seeing a sign that read “No stage diving or crowd surfing allowed. You will be thrown out.” But by that time it didn’t seem to matter. The night was just about over. Elated and exhausted we headed home. Special thanks to Dave Stein fro driving and the door to door service. It was much appreciated.
Dave Stein later had this to say and I couldn’t agree more.
“Taking a road trip like this just confirmed to me how important not just music is to my life, but LIVE music. I’ve hitchhiked, taken buses, flown, crammed in vans and trucks and cars to see bands I love and I look forward to having the reason to do it again.”