Who says NYC punk is dead? That there is only a hardcore scene? This band, the Drunken Sufis, struck me as interesting when they shot over an email asking me to plug their residency this month (1st 3 Tuesdays of December) Cake Shop in the Lower East Side.
To give you an idea of what you can expect, here is a you tube video of a song called “Panopticon360″ . As you’ll see this is no short, sweet and to the point punk music, these are long and adventurous songs that remind me a bit of Avenged Sevenfold or Mars Volta. But what the hell do I know about those bands? Not much, to be honest. If you’re in NYC (I’m not anymore) then go check them out for yourself and let us know what YOU think.
First 3 Tuesdays in December (December 6, 13th and 20th) @ 9:30 pm CAKE SHOP RESIDENCY Cake Shop: 152 Ludlow Street, New York, NY, USA
NYC.. why did I leave? The questions I’ve been asking myself this week as I ran from one hectic appointment to the next in incredibly beautiful weather. I can’t believe this was the place that just 9 months ago I was bitching about and so ready to get the hell out of.
But that’s what happens.
You take leave, you go away seeking something, not sure what and return a different person. And while the greedy douchebags and wall street fat cats are sadly still here living it up and spreading their particularly stealth brand of global death and destruction as much as ever, the average New Yorker seemed like some pretty cool people this time around.
This town really is full of good folks of all stripes, colors, ethnicity and whatever. It will always by home no matter where in the world I am.
Of course, and I know this better than anyone, it’s all about the energy you’re giving out.
The NYC Punk scene is not what it used to be, I think anyone will agree there. But there still is a vibrant scene and it’s still made up of good people doing their part to keep the scene alive.
Cro-Mags @ Bowery Ballroom - NYC
From street punk bands like The Casualties who’ve been holding it down for 20 years, to people like my buddy Mike at NYC Punk who keep out of touch dumb asses like me abreast of the latest local punks shows, thankfully, there will always be a punk scene in NYC.
It was Mike, who dutifully let me know about the legendary thrash and hardcore legends Cro-Mags playing at the Bowery Ballroom last night.
I had exchanged phone calls with John Joseph, the long running and current lead singer (check a couple of the Cro-Mags “Official” sites HERE and HERE and I’ll let YOU see if you can figure out their rather complicated history) sometime last summer about being interviewed for Punktology.
At his request, I sent him an email with the information and never heard from him again. Not a problem. I don’t take that stuff personal. I’m sure, like me, he’s a busy guy and I still hope to interview members (current or former) of the band someday.
But in the meantime, I was happy to be able to catch one of their shows on my much too brief trip back in to NYC and to be able to share just a small sample with you below.
The venue was packed and it was a tattoo convention of NYC born and bred punks. You could tell the band was beloved by the hometown crowd and John Joseph’s patter with the crowd was on cue. He got a message across (it’s the food not the pharmaceuticals that can save us) along with some humor “you need to watch some soul train clips before you come back up here with that stuff” to one rhythmically challenged stage diver (maybe the guy in the video?).
NYHC is a genre unto itself, with bands like Agnostic Front, Murphy’s Law, Madball and of course the Cro-Mags doing the heavy lifting to get it where it is today, which is, I assure you from my travels abroad, very international and still growing.
It’s not my particular cup of tea all the time, but I had a good time last night mixing it up with my punk and hard core brothers and sisters without a douchebag in sight.
Enjoy this clip of the Cro-Mags playing a song called “Street Justice”.
Next stop my other U.S. punk stomping ground, Los Angeles!
So I’m moving from NYC to the Los Angeles, but not before spending a few months in Latin America traveling and covering the punk scene for Punktology and working on a few other projects and in general, living out of a backpack.
It might not surprise you to hear that moving sucks! Hell, you’ve probably had experience doing it, and if so you know that it means your life consist of boxes, appointments with the Salvation Army pick up dudes, getting quotes from moving companies, trying to predict everything you’ll need for the next 3 months, meeting with your banker to change your address (by far the worst part, meeting with bankers), etc.
It also means you don’t have time to do the things you normally would do, like hit the “Suicidal Tendencies”andCro-Mags concert at Terminal 5 in NYC last Sunday night.
I’ve always wanted to check out ST and get a feel for these west coast hardcore/thrash pioneers’ vibe live. I’ve also spoken to Hare Krishna devotee and Cro-Mags lead singerJohn Josephabout being interviewed for Punktology (hey John, still waiting on that call back!) and while I don’t dig the general layout of Terminal 5, the venue does have a decent sound system and several vantage points to take in a show, and most importantly it’s located in NYC, so I can just walk my ass on over from the East side to the West side and walah! I’m in the thick of hardcore heaven.
But as I said, I’m in moving hell, so instead of taking in the show I had to settle for a little play by play and photos from my good buddy Mike from NYC Punk, who is a big Cro-Mags fan from way back. Mike took these photos and forwarded them to me so I thought I’d post them for you. Thanks Mike.
Looks like the perfect blend of East Coast mixed with West Coast hardcore/thrash/metal. Wish I had been there.
I’ve seen SD or Ness perform in Los Angeles, Las Vegas, San Francisco, Orange County (2x), Long Island (2x), New Jersey and NYC (4x) and the show last night at Roseland Ballroom was the best.
Social Distortion @ The Roseland - sellout!
It was a sellout and the crowd was lined up around the block threatening to stretch to David Letterman’s studios a block away. I killed some time walking around the block hoping the line would eventually dissipate (it didn’t) and heard one lady tell her family “look at all the people waiting to see the play Jersey Boys” which was next door. Not quiet maam!
One look and you could tell this was a Social Distortion crowd with sick boys and girls dressed in various stages of Mike Ness inspired outfits. The guys in the newsboy hats, rolled up jeans, work boots and work shirts and the girls perfectly coiffed combining that rockabilly – punk look that is so hard to explain but so easy to spot when you see it. Sick boys and girls, not looking for a fight, but there to enjoy some rollicking rockabilly influenced hardcore punk music.
What is the influence of Mike Ness and Social Distortion? That chapter in their history is yet to be written, they are too busy working, touring and finally cranking out some new material with their forthcoming CD “Hard Times and Nursery Rhymes” coming in January 2011. Their first in 6 years.
I missed the opening act, but can tell you off the bat the warm up music featured old country and blues ditties from back in the day. Already this was getting off to a better start than the travesty of so called “warm up” music from their stop at Mulcahey’s in Long Island I wrote about last August.
The crowd of course was bigger than at Mulcahey’s but the atmosphere still had a small, intimate gathering feel to it. Maybe it was the joy of finally seeing Social D. in the center of the universe, New York City rather than having to schlep out to Long Island or New Jersey as has been the case the past couple of times the band came through. Maybe it’s the fact that new material is forthcoming. Maybe it’s just that Social Distortion and Ness after over 30 years of doing this, have matured and gelled and are comfortable in their own skin.
Whatever it is, it worked last night.
The band came out to open with “The Creeps” and plowed through a string of “hits” including “Sick Boy” and my personal favorite “Don’t Drag Me Down” (motherfuckers!) before slowing things down and treating the crowd to 3 songs from the forthcoming CD which included “Still Alive”, “Bakersfield” and an ode to Hank Williams that I really enjoyed.
They went through another string of old favorites before closing the set out with “Making Believe”.
The encore included “Far Away” and then my favorite part (maybe because I needed a break from getting bounced around like a rag doll in the pit), back to back acoustic performances of “Down Here (With The Rest of Us)” and “Cold Feelings” which featured an accordion in the mix.
It was at the point of hearing the acoustic version of “Cold Feelings” that I realized fully what a great musicians these guys are and that I really believe Mike Ness will be considered legendary status and a national treasure when he finally hangs up his guitar (hopefully not for another 20-30 years yet).
I mean who else can bring together such a diverse audience of young kids (I saw one guy with his dad, had to be no more than 11 years old) and old guys (some dude had to be well above fifty was getting with it in the pit) with such a diverse line up of music that ranges from hardcore punk to rockabilly to roots country to bluesy straight ahead rock and roll?
I know, I know the Rolling Stones are in their 60s or 70s or whatever but if you think about it, Social Distortion has been doing this, building a mass but incredibly loyal worldwide following for over 30 years without almost any radio airplay outside of California (remember not that long ago radio airplay was crucial and 100% necessary for “success” as an artist).
Their success can’t be pegged to the new rise and importance of social media and the internet to the music business. Sorry, they were there long before that stuff took hold. Social Distortion put out CDs and sold them independently through word of mouth and actual buzz before a thing like “internet buzz” even existed.
If you can’t tell I love going to a Social Distortion show, not just for the great music and to see a living legend do his thing, but also because for a brief moment, I can share the love of my favorite band in the world and be around others who feel the same way.
Most people I meet have never heard of Social Distortion (most of course aren’t punk fans either), and that is fine with me. It’s a not so secret, secret that I share with like minded people who come out during a Social Distortion concert and I see I’m not alone, that thousands and thousands of fans just like me exist.
And though of course I know this already, it’s cool to see this in New York City, with it’s diversity, with it’s incredibly energy but incredibly will always to me have an irrational legacy of non diverse and really horrible sameness of music. How much Jay Z/Beyonce, Lady Gaga, Bon Jovi and Billy Joel can NYC take?
The poor masses who blindly listen to whatever garbage is spewed to them from the radio or clubs had no choice 15 years ago, but now it’s different. With i-tunes and the internet, they can do better. Yet they don’t, so they have no excuse. They are the poor hapless masses.
Criminals? Nahhh! Just Social D. Fans in the Pit.
When Social Distortion closed with “Prison Bound” and then “Ring of Fire” signaling the end of my 12th concert with Ness and company, I knew that within New York City and the surrounding area, there were thousands of people just like me, who, however they may have stumbled upon Social Distortion (I bought one of their CDs by mistake at a 2nd hand CD store), young or old, white collar or blue collar, punk or country or something in between, appreciate these guys like I did.
I noticed when I walked out of Roseland to the “Sanford & Son”theme music that much of the crowd did indeed look like some “scary looking criminals” as Ness likes to say in his concert banter, but if these people were such scary criminals, why did it feel so good to be hanging with them?
Below is a flip cam video of Social Distortion’s acoustic of “Cold Feelings”. I have video of the faster paced stuff where I was getting tossed around. I’ll try to upload some of that next week along with winding up my coverage from my trip from St. Petersburg, Russia so STAY TUNED:
With all the drama and lineup changes over the years, could even a legendary punk band like the Dead Kennedys put on a decent show? The answer, according to the crowd’s enthusiastic reaction, a resounding yup!
The band’s current tour, like many older punk bands, features a mash up of old and new, the legends playing with the new guys.
The current line up consists of“East Bay Ray” on guitar (original member), D.H. Peligroon drums (with the original band in the 80s), Greg Reeves on bass (replacing original bassist Klaus Flouride) and Ron “Skip” Greer on vocals (standing in for original member Jello Biafra).
Because I’m no DK expert and the shit looks really complicated, I’m not going to recount all the drama, legal disputes, etc. that has led Dead Kennedys to perform without Jello Biafra, but I will say the crowd was pretty damned enthusiastic to see DK live, demanding two full encores (actually demanding three but Irving Plaza turned the lights on and shooed everyone out). Since I knew at least a couple of Jello loyalist who refused to attend the concert out of principle, I wonder what the crowd/reaction would have been if Jello had sung?.
Jello or no, from what I could tell, they played all their classics including “Too Drunk To F**k” and “Holiday in Cambodia”, but I think my favorite ditty was their punk version of “Viva Las Vegas” (what can I say, I’m a big Elvis fan).
The lead singer pulled off the vocals quiet well though I could have done without his constant and often senseless chatter. When he talked, he came across goofy not smart.
While he’s certainly no Jello I think that’s an unfair comparison. It’s hard to fill in for a legend, singing their songs and where it counted, the vocals, he did a great job. I guess I just wasn’t in the mood for bratty, juvenile behavior from a grown man.
Unfortunately I arrived just before DK hit the stage and was unable to get very close to the stage for quality pics and video. Thus I had to rely on my super-zoom mode to get what few pics I could get off in the rollicking crowd, so I apologize for the low quality.
Video was a bit easier but alas I only got one flipcam video shot before a bouncer, asked me, very nicely, to please stop taping. So I did and missed the opportunity to show you some of the nights’ more raucous moments.
Ladies and Gentlemen, punks and punkettes of the incredible metropolitan area of the great city of New York, after over a decade, my time here is getting short. Sometime in November, I will be putting most of my material possessions in storage and traveling to Latin America to live for a few months before heading to my new home Los Angeles, California.
This is the time to get all sentimental or reflect on the impact NYC had on my life, perhaps there will be time for that later. This is instead an invite for you, dear punk, to participate in the documentary “Punktology.. the story of punk music’s influence throughout the world”.
There are so many people in NYC I want to interview for the documentary before I depart that I decided to hook up with my friend Mike from NYC Punk and join in on the NYC Punk Movie Night @ Otto’s Shrunken Head (every 1st Monday of the month) this Monday, October 4th.
People can come and be part of a new documentary in progress while at the same time seeing some other great documentaries already produced.
Movie night starts @ 9PM and features a great film I just saw and will be reviewing here soon called “The Punks Are Alright” which compares the punk scene in Brazil, Canada and Indonesia followed by “Bad Religion: Along the Way”.
Punk Outlaw will be there with our cameras and our questions beginning at 5pm or so that afternoon and will be conducting interviews for the documentary “Punktology” up until the beginning of Movie Night @ 9PM. Anyone who wishes to be interviewed for the documentary is welcome to come out and I’ll put you on camera, first come, first serve.
Besides the fulfillment of knowing you did your part for the documentary what else will you receive? Well, how else can I entice you out than by buying a beer (or non alcoholic beverage of choice) for everyone that participates.. but wait there’s more! Be one of the 1st 10 people to be interviewed and you will get a limited edition, Punk Outlaw Tshirt courtesy of Punk Outlaw and our good friends on the LES, Live Fast Clothing.
If you want to be slotted in for one of the interview times (each interview about 15-20 minutes), please do me a favor and email me at PunkOutlaw@aimtvgroup.com along with your estimated time of arrival and I’ll add you to the agenda.
More information on the documentary Punktology can be found HEREand more information on NYC Punk Movie Night @ Otto’s Shrunken Head can be found HERE.
Look forward to seeing you THERE!
When: Monday, October 4, 2010 5PM until 9:00 PM Where: Otto’s Shrunken Head
538 E 14th St
New York, NY 10009
NYC PUNK MOVIE NIGHT
When: Monday, October 4, 2010 5PM until 9:00 PM Where: Otto’s Shrunken Head
538 E 14th St
New York, NY 10009
When I first moved to NYC back in the late 90s, I remember hearing about Max’s Kansas City and was always a bit confused by the name. Why name a bar in NYC “Kansas City”? Now that I’ve lived in NYC for a few years, I think I understand. I often run across bars and restaurants that bear names from cities and regions from all over the world. It either reminds people of home or maybe it’s meant to be ironic (I often frequent “southern” bars in NYC).
NYC is truly an international city and I guess that is why I love it so much.
Photo of Iggy Pop from the Exhibit
Now, I don’t know that much of the history of the name of “Max’s Kansas City” but I do know this bar was as important to the early punk rock scene as CBGBs, though it is less internationally well known. Well, it’s finally getting it’s comeuppance and recognition as there are a couple of art exhibits going on that celebrate the history of this venerable artists’ bar.
I’m going to hit it and will give you a review but if you live or are visiting NYC in the next few weeks and assuming your into punk (since your reading this, I assume you have at least a passing interest) you should check it out yourself.
* Thanks to my buddy Mike at NYC Punk for turning me onto this event. Mike is a punk to the core and is really helping to keep the scene alive in NYC. Look for an interview with Mike in the upcoming documentary “Punktology… the Worldwide Influence of Punk” with excerpts right here as well.
So I took the hour or so train ride out to Wantagh, Long Island to experience Social Distortion’s 2010 summer tour last night.
I arrived around 8pm and the 1st warm up band was playing. I normally like to give props to warm up bands and try to help them get their music out but not this time.
I’m not even gonna name names or waste time talking about the warm up bands because I was really underwhelmed by both of them, though at least the 2nd band somewhat fit the theme of the night and the lead singer had some entertaining conversations with the lighting guy.
The music in between the sets was just as bad with Aerosmith and Bruce Hornsby and the Range tunes being spun by the DJ. I thought I was in “Corny Island” not “Long Island”. As one of my friends stated, the venue seemed very disrespectful of the audience with such inappropriate warm up music. Didn’t they realize this was a punk show? At least play some Johnny Cash!
Social Distortion rolled onto stage just a little after 10 pm and Mike Ness came out to the same intro song I had witnessed in 2007 (see my Previous post which has a good video of the 2007 intro)when they played this same venue. I love that song and sure hope they include it on their forthcoming CD this fall. If anyone knows the title of that song, please let me know, I need that song on my ipod.
Despite what seemed like Mulcahey’s best efforts to dampen enthusiasm (or maybe because of it) the crowd was rowdy, rowdier than I can remember at other Social D shows. They were ready to go from the get go and pretty much kept it up all night.
Mike Ness and company didn’t disappoint ripping through about an hour and 15 minutes of “hits” plus a preview of their upcoming CD with a song called “Still Alive” I think. It was cool, but I need to hear it a few more times to see if it’s going to be one of the many Social Distortion songs I hit repeat again and again on my ipod.
Johnny 2 Bags
Ness joked around with the crowd about Jones Beach surf scene comparing it to California as well as Jersey vs. Long Island jokes. However, I’m not sure the impact was there, because I got the feeling a big part of the crowd were, like me, from Manhattan and other parts of NYC, given Social Distortion didn’t have a Manhattan stop on this particular tour.
BOUNCER: Just Doing His Job.. too well.
The big, burly goons (excuse me bouncers) at Mulcahey’s did their job very well and pretty much stopped every possible crowd surfing, wrecking pit and display of enthusiasm that they could. They did their best to stop all the fun and they almost succeeded. I realize these guys are just doing their jobs but what a buzzkill this place Mulcahey’s was. I think that’s the last time I roll out there for an event.
Social D. ended their set with “Making Believe” before heading offstage. Followed by chants of “Social D” from the crowd for about 5 minutes, the band ambled back on stage and played another 3 or so songs, including a raucous version of “Prison Bound” which the crowd sang word for word. They ended the night on a rocking night with their famous remake of “Ring of Fire” which always gets the crowd going.
I thought they were going to come out for yet another encore but the fine folks at Mulcahey’s fired up the “Sanford and Son” theme song (don’t ask me?!) and hit the main lights, so I knew it was time to head for the exit and hopefully not wait too long before the next LIRR train took me back to the much preferred confines of NYC.
I went next door to a “quickie mart” which gouges concert goers with $2 bottles of water and chips and not much else then headed to the train platform and joined the other Manhattan and Brooklynites for the wait for the train.
On the platform and on the train home, pretty much everyone was raving about the show and seemed to have a genuinely good time. I have to agree. Despite the venue’s missteps and the goons’ efforts to rob the audience of a good punk experience, the power of Social Distortion was just too strong and a good time was had anyway.
Can’t wait for the new CD and the chance to see Social Distortion on November 4th, this time in Manhattan at the Roseland Ballroom.
Social Distortion week continues on Punk Outlaw. Tuesday night I’m heading to Mulcahey’s Bar in Long Island to check out the band as they pass NEAR New York City so I thought it would be cool to take a fresh look at the last time Social D. played at Mulcahey’s way back in 2007. Man how time flies?
I was near the front and was somehow able to fight through the roiling crowd and tape somewhat steadily (with my flipcam) the introduction before security goons shut me down (so 2007 of them!). The intro featured Mike Ness rolling on stage masked like an outlaw, tossing flowers to the crowd and playing the shit out of the guitar intro before getting into “Reach For The Sky”.
I haven’t heard this all instrumental tune since, but man I loved it then and I love it now. Maybe they’ll throw that tune on their new CD coming out this fall? Who knows?
It’s been 3 years since I taped this but I still get chills watching it. Hope you enjoy it as well.
Shooting video of GBH at the NYC show Friday night is easier said than done. In front of me, bodies hurled off the stage straight for me. Behind me other bodies climbed on my back and my head to get onstage.
I got knocked on my ass not once but several times throughout the night. I was a sweaty, smelly and hoarse mess by the end of the night and it was the most fun I’ve had in a while.
I’ve now seen GBH live twice and I can truthfully say that Charged GBH ranks right up there as one of my favorite punk bands of all time. I like the fact that these rogue British gentlemen from Birmingham England have been at this game for so long and still seem to enjoy every last second.
Lead vocalist, Collin, never once lost his cool, completely understood the purpose of a punk show and encouraged people to get on stage and sing with him. I love that shit and I love these guys.
Here is a video of them performing “Give Me Fire”. It’s a little shaky at times for all the reasons stated but that sort of makes it cool in my book.
About 3/4 the way through, you can see a big 250-300 pound dude stage diving and directly headed my way. I tried my best to help catch the dude but my 165 lb. frame couldn’t do the trick and he hit the floor with a thud. Alas he popped right back up and headed back to the stage. Just another night at a punk show I guess.
Anyway, hope you enjoy watching as much as I enjoyed taping. Hope to have more video from the show up soon so stay tuned.