Sunday, August 14, 2005

History Lesson

So I was a little jerk ass hardcore kid growing up; I loved Minor Threat, The Faction, Dag Nasty and The Descendents. But when I saw the Cro Mags absolutely blow GBH off the stage that summer night at Peabody's I was awakened to a whole new scene and a whole new realm of hardcore. Yep, that's right, NYHC. Some of you will know exactly what I'm talking about and others, well, not so much. In the years following that monumental show I would come to know the music of Youth of Today, Project X, Judge, Beyond, Agnostic Front, Warzone, Sick of it All and maybe most importantly of all, Gorilla Biscuits. We didn't just go see these guys play, we actually got to know them. They stayed at our houses, they met our folks, they ate with our families or we ate with them at Tommy's on Coventry. A common bond was forged all those years ago

Well, fast forward 15 years later and see the news about CBGBs potentially being forced out of their home on the Bowery. Bands and performers from Blondie to Adrenalin OD have shown their support and reunited to raise the money needed to keep CBs where it belongs, on the Bowery in NYC.

Tonight it was Gorilla Biscuits turn to give a little back to the club that spawned so many kids' dreams of being in a band. After almost 15 years the fellas showed up to play one last time for the kids. Walter made the hop from Brooklyn, Civ jumped a train down from Harlem, Arthur rode in from Queens, Luke took a plane from Texas with his wife while Al Brown arrived from the heartland, Iowa. They didn't do it for the money. They didn't do it for the legend, these guys are first ballot hall of famers. They did it for the kids. As Civ said, this show was for every kid out there who was ever in a band or ever thought about being in a band. It was for the kid he used to be, going to see his favorite band at CBs and thinking hey, maybe someday it could be him up there.

The anticipation was palpable as those in attendance pushed their way forward towards the historic stage. A little after 7 PM the anticipation turned to sheer aggression as Gorilla Biscuits ripped into their blistering hour long set. Don't ask me if they played this or that. They played everything they ever wrote and it was as if everyone was magically transported back to 1990. Suddenly I didn't really care about what was waiting for me on my desk tomorrow morning. Being out in the crowd I had an interesting vantage point in that I could see all of GB's friends sitting on the stage stadium style behind the band. Charlie was laughing along with Sammy while Max was next to Tanya and Dylan, good times indeed. CBs was packed on a Sunday, a little later than the old Sunday matinees but folks were getting after it nonetheless. GB didn't miss a beat (unless you asked Luke and Al Brown!), CIV was supported by about 75 co-lead singers as he passed the mic from person to person; some just blurted out lyrics while others sounded like they might have spent some time fronting a band. He joked between songs that he shouldn't even have practiced all week because he could have just relied on the kids to pull him through. There were indeed the kids, kids who grew up on NYHC but were too young to witness the movement first hand; then there were the old asses like me who were lucky enough to see these guys the first couple times around. This was the chance for generations to come together and celebrate a better time.

During the show Civ said that the HC scene was all about inclusion, that no one should ever be excluded. That was plainly evident during the show. He also implored those in attendance to stay in New York to spread their roots and raise their families. He talked about his despair over seeing artists and musicians looking elsewhere for inspiration. He said that places like CBs had to endure to foster that creative energy.

After a short break, GB came back out and finished with Start Today leaving the crowd spent but utterly satisfied. After the show I managed to catch up with Charlie, Dylan, Max, Sammy and the band. No one wanted to leave. Everyone was drenched but the stories just kept coming one after another. We managed to round everone up and head over to Lil' Frankies on 1st and 1st; true to Civ's words, no one was excluded. The stories continued as the food arrived and old friends were reunited while new friends were welcomed. Charlie, Luke and Max were recounting Friend Fest, a lost night in Vegas with some west coast counterparts while Al and I were riffing on Big Ten football. No doubt stories of tonight's show and subsequent meal will be recounted during the next go round in 2020. Here's hoping we'll all be there to celebrate.

Hey, even Phil Anselmo was at the show.

1 comment:

Joshua said...

I almost felt like I was at a show with the details you wrote about here..... I remember that summer eve in Cleveland, Peabody's Down Under to be exact... If there was ever a time I can remember from the 'ol days of Clevo HC, that is a stand out.
I am sorry I couldn't make this show.... Thank You J for putting 20 yrs of HC memories into something so well written, and wonderfully described.