“Fuck Live Nation!” states frontman Civ, following charging live versions of New Direction and Stand Still that blew the pit of the Dome apart within seconds. It was a rallying call from a band that come from a no barrier rule, and unlike their show at the Electric Ballroom the night before, tonight is a hardcore show with only one rule. A rule that allows their people not only to share blood, sweat and tears, but to become brothers and sisters in the same square of wet flooring too. Fun.
This togetherness, born from a vibrant 80s hardcore scene, is a mentality that has reached every generation since. Having fun is the only thing on your mind when going out to see a band and that’s what you get from this lot. Strong, positive energy with a key message from hard working people who have non-stop promoted fun since they formed, and tonight’s set is rife with the good stuff.
From the building riffs of High Hopes, to the punching stomp of No Reason Why, the NYC crew smashed the Dome with classics from start to finish, on par with the electric show we saw them play last summer at Ieper Fest, where a barrage of stage diving did not stop until the final riff. Crowd participation was on point throughout this gig. Civ’s mic was shared with the lemming catchers at the front throughout the show. One cheeky punk even sneaked up on stage for a drink of his water in between tunes. I guess that’s to be expected though when you tell everyone what’s mine is yours. All fair game when you have a Big Fucking Mouth.
Do Something from CIV’s own Revelation classic pummeled the audience before Time Flies and Competition sped by like rockets. The former with a nod to old friend (and Turbonegro frontman) Tony Sylvester, who took the mic for a cover version of Judge’s New York Crew and smashed it. Their banging cover version of Minor Threat went down a storm too. There’s a lyric in that song that says something about “we’re all heading for that adult crash,” but those who managed to attend this show tonight never stacked it – they/we are the lucky ones, still wearing it on our sleeves, still getting away with it and it’s a damn good feeling.
As Walter’s harmonica wailed out the infamous solo to Start Today, I closed my eyes and thanked my lucky stars that hardcore came into my life. Thanks to everyone who played their part in it, especially Gorilla Biscuits.
Photos: Natalie Wood / Wondergirl Photography
Enjoy the entire show if you missed it, courtesy of Max Horn.
The Dome, London
It’s always a gamble going to see reformed old punk bands. You never know if they’re going to quite cut it, how many original members are left, are they just doing it for the money?
Well, in the case of Indianapolis, Indiana punks The Zero Boys, it certainly can’t be for the money. Whilst they do truly deserve the ‘legendary eighties punk band’ tag (their 1982 ‘Vicious Circle’ album is an absolute classic of the genre – a high octane mix of melodic punk and hardcore, a huge melodic and energetic rush), they are still only really renowned by those who closely follow US punk and have limited appeal having never played in the UK before. Suffice to say, there are only about 60 or so diehards and fans here tonight so any thoughts of cashing in must be long gone! And thankfully, original members drummer Mark Cutsinger and frontman Paul Mahern are still in the band and when they take the stage with two younger hired hands (sorry, I don’t know who they are!) and kick into the set, they sound tight and well-rehearsed.
Admittedly, it does take them a few songs to warm up (drummer Mark thankfully starts hitting a little harder a few songs in, propelling the band forward) and snotty hardcore pop punk anthems like ‘Living In The 80s’, ‘Civilization’s Dying’ and ‘Amphetamine Addiction’ all race past in a flurry of frenzied aggression. And although the venue isn’t exactly filled to capacity, those that are in attendance really get into it and the front area of the stage is soon filled with bodies, hot and sweaty and catapulting across the floor as the band beam back, buzzing on the energy spilling back at them and obviously thoroughly enjoying re-living their youths, casting their minds back to simpler more agile times.
All in all, a worthy reformation. Let’s hope they make it back again one day.
Words: James Sherry
The Dome, London
26th July 2012
Sadly The Dome is dishearteningly only three quarters full tonight for this rare London gig from classic Texan hardcore outfit Dirty Rotten Imbeciles, touring to celebrate thirty years’ service to hardcore punk and thrash. D.R.I. are, without doubt, one of the most important and influential hardcore bands to have spewed out of America in the early eighties. So where was everybody?! Their first EP released in 1982 crammed twenty-two songs onto one 7” EP and it redefined hardcore. The songs were intensely short and fast, bristling with anger and venom. Likewise, their first full album ‘Dealing With It’ came armed with a better production but was just as pissed off and vengeful.
After that the band, like most hardcore bands of the early eighties, started incorporating more metal and rock elements into their sound. Some did this more successfully than others and thankfully, D.R.I. made the transition better than most, alongside bands like C.O.C., Ludichrist and The Crumbsuckers, they spearheaded the ‘Crossover’ movement within the thrash metal scene and combined the socially aware lyrical content of punk with longer, more complex songs influenced by the first wave of thrash bands such as Metallica, Exodus and Anthrax.
Tonight’s set is drawn from every era of the band’s long career, although thankfully it leans heavily on their early material, which despite some good moments on later albums, it’s still the first few recordings that pack the most punch. Tonight, with original singer Kurt Brecht still pacing the stage and spitting out the lyrics with the attitude and venom of a man half his age, D.R.I. play for over an hour and half, a set that includes god knows how many songs all played at hyper-speed and with ultimate precision. Not bad for a band in their 30th year. On top of that, original guitarist Spike Cassidy has recently made a full-recovery from a terrible brush with cancer and plays every song with a look of pure joy on this face. This is a man that probably never expected to get to get the chance to play these songs again and his happiness infects the whole room.
Despite the venue not being as rammed as the band might have liked it to be, those in attendance go completely crazy and and respond to classics like ‘I Don’t Need Society’, ‘Couch Slouch’ and ‘Snap’ with a tornado of energy at the front of the stage as the band feed off the crowd’s lunacy and respond accordingly.
Still dirty and rotten after all these years. Long may these imbeciles reign!
WORDS: James Sherry