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Thursday, December 11, 2008

Review: A7 Reunion Show in New York City

Posted By on Thu, Dec 11, 2008 at 9:00 AM

(Last weekend, local hardcore band Cardiac Arrest played the A7 reunion show in NYC. CA singer/songwriter Rob Ruzicka was kind enough to write about his experiences below. More video can be found here, photos over here.)

After stopping for some real slices of pizza, we got to the Knitting Factory a tad after the show started. As we walked into the club, we were handed a program featuring all of the bands' set times and the respective stages they were playing on. Unfortunately, we missed Fatal Rage, a band I'm not greatly familiar with but wanted to see nonetheless. We did catch the last song of the 76% Uncertain/CIA set, which was awesome. The crowd was a good mix of people, I would say it was almost evenly split between an older crowd and a younger crowd. At any given moment, you could hear two old guys talking about how, "this band could've never have drawed a crowd like this back in '83." I couldn't help but feel like a little kid listening to his eldera tell a magical story about their past just overhearing. (Lame, I know.)

76% Uncertain at A7 Reunion:


It was around this time I was informed that Jerry's Kids had cancelled. Color me bummed -- they were one of the few bands I would've stayed to watch even if the club was burning around me.  Prior to the show a handful of older bands/scenesters made posts around the internet to boycott the A7 show. Even a certain NYHC legend who recently played a show in St. Louis had bad things to say.  It seemed that up until the day of the show the line-up was still changing, and I was starting to get scared that the boycott was real once I heard about Jerry's Kids. Oh well.

I was feeling pretty horrible anyway due to breaking five months of sobriety the night before, so unfortunately so I was in no mood to be at a show.  I made the best of it though.  The show was set up so that bands would play simultaneously on three different floors.  So you really had to sit down with your schedule and map out your night/route. 

Payload (a.k.a. the FU's) were up next. I didn't care even if singer John Sox was the only original member of the FU's in the band: At least his scab line-up featured members of other old Boston hardcore bands, unlike most reunions that feature one guy with grey hair backed by a bunch of twentysomethings.  If memory serves me correctly, they opened with "Daisy Chain" off of their first album Kill for Christ. I was so exhausted that all I could do was smile as big as I could.  Their set started getting too heavy with later era songs so I decided to go and visit with my friends from No Way Records.

Payload (FU's) from A7 Reunion:


One positive that came from Jerry's Kids cancelling was now I could watch Waste Management ("Bad Medicine" mp3 here), one of the other bands I really wanted to see. Waste Management is a Boston band featuring members from such bands as Mind Eraser and Say Goodbye, and their singer Craig sounds like a dead ringer of Springa from SSD.  They played a solid set to a moshing room and ended with "Never Surrender" by Blitz.

The next band on the main stage was Antidote. It was so packed in the room you could barely move.  There was definitely an excitement in the air that made everyone antsy from the anticipation. People were already crowding around on the stage. The line up consisted of technically only original member, guitarist Nunzio, although singer Drew Stone has been with the band since 1984. Stone came out wearing a Run DMC-style hat and an open Yankees jersey, and told the audience, "We're gonna play hard, we're gonna play fast and it's not gonna last too long."  It was a relief hearing him say that, since I've heard the horror stories of Antidote reunions in the '90s. He then yelled, "We're gonna bust it Antidote style!" as the opening chords of "Life as One" began.

Antidote, Live at A7:


A bolt of lightning shot up my spine and woke me up immediately.  People were going nuts, stage diving, balcony diving, moshing. They tore through most of the self-titled seven-inch before playing a couple of songs from High and Mighty, Stone's band prior to Antidote.  The only bad part of their set actually had nothing to do with the band -- it was the audience. The stage was overrun with "stage potatoes," people who feel the need to crowd the band and yell into the mic while they play. I could've handled it had they actually sang the correct words to the songs, but what I witnessed were drunk idiots randomly yelling whatever they pleased whenever they pleased.  Most people complain about bouncers at shows saying they're too rough and that they kill fun. Watching Antidote not only made me wish for bouncers, it made me pray for them, preferably ones with short fuses and socks filled with nickels. 

Antidote ended and I found myself rejuvenated a bit. This was a good thing since we were supposed to play shortly. On the way down to the bottom floor I stopped at the middle stage to check out Sexual Suicide. One of the promotors, Wendy, played bass in the band.

After multiple cell phone shouting matches trying to round up my band, we took the stage.  Much to my surprise the room was filled out nicely.  A charming fellow named Gasface stopped me before we started to tell me how psyched he was that we were finally playing New York. That got me a little pumped up.  We opened with Rest In Piece's intro "Old Gray Mare Stomp" and got the floor moving.  Lots of dancing and sing alonging later, even a de-bandana-ing of yours truly, we cleared the stage for Government Warning.  I don't even need to watch them anymore because I know they're going to be good, they always are.  They played the hits and got everyone pumped up.

When Government Warning ended everyone made a beeline for the door to get up to the main stage. Urban Waste was next. Everyone was excited because they were playing with their "original" singer, Kenny. (A few years back they had done a reunion without him that didn't quite cut it.) Well, I'd like to say that it was a life-changing experience. Urban Waste had the barrel of the gun pointed at me, but couldn't quite pull the trigger. Only adding to a disappointing performance was that it seemed like the stage potatoes had multiplied. There were even more of them and they were even more annoying. 

Urban Waste at A7 reunion:


The sound during their set ranged from bad to worse. The guitar was so low in the mix that it might as well have not even been plugged in.  They were very sloppy. Half the time you couldn't even tell what song they were playing until the stage potatoes chimed in.  One factor that many saw as a negative, but I enjoyed, was Kenny's voice. It was so raw.  It sounded borderline blown out. The highlight of their set was a girl running across the stage to punch another girl.  The punched girl's boyfriend tried to push girl #1 off the stage, to which girl #1 countered by punching him, then walked back to her side.

Luckily, I didn't have to go anywhere because following Urban Waste were The Abused. The crowd dispersed a little bit, which was unfortunate, but not by that much. I'd say the Abused were probably the most anticipated band of the night. And their set was rivaled only by Antidote's. Playing for the first time in about 25 years, they killed it, and sounded as though they never broke up. Obviously they all looked their age, but the enthusiasm and energy was still there.  At one point singer Kevin Crowley joked, "I'm so glad our songs are only about 30 seconds long because it makes much easier to sing when you're pushing 50." 

Reagan Youth, live at A7:


With all original members, the Abused played the songs off their classic seven-inch, Loud and Clear. All of the members looked like they were having fun and genuinely happy to be playing again.  No rockstar bullshit is always a plus in my book. I hurt my fist during their set banging on the wall and people around me. They didn't mind, though, because they were doing the same thing to the people around them.  After the Abused, I was finished. I was ready for bed, but we had to wait around to the very end.  I hung out with some old friends and some new ones, completely forgetting to watch any more bands.  Which really sucked because I had wanted to see SUX/Adrenalin OD.  By the time I remembered, Reagan Youth was already well into their set.  While I gotta give credit to the new singer for sounding close to original singer, Dave Insurgent -- but c'mon it's not Dave Insurgent, so I went outside.  So all in all I got to watch about 7 or 8 bands out of 30. Geez.


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