Stigma - Agnostic Front
Agnostic Front have long been one of my favorite bands. From the moment I heard the 15 minutes or so that makes up the "Victim In Pain" LP on Ratcage, Agnostic Front has held a constant role in my Top Ten favorite bands.
There was no way I was going to miss a 30th year anniversary tour where they would play the "Live at CBGB's" LP track for track (plus some bonus material as an encore). While the scene didn't quite look like the vintage video below, it was a damn fantastic evening in Reading PA!
I've had the opportunity to see Agnostic Front many times over the years. During 1986 they played in the Lehigh Valley PA with other legendary bands Half Life and GBH. Below is my ticket and the horrific flyer I made for the show.
Last year I got to see Agnostic Front play in the basement of Crocodile Rock in Allentown.
The best time I ever saw Agnostic Front was in City Gardens, Trenton NJ. During Agnostic Front's set, I participated in the single largest circle pit I had ever been a part of up til that time. The entire area between the bar and the stage was one giant pit. Everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, was in the circle pit. So much fun. Damn.
Hard to believe, but 30 years on, Agnostic Front still ripped up the stage at Reverb. Part of the reason the band was so good this night was the hard hitting drumming of Pokey. Obviously keeping beat for early Agnostic Front classics means he is not very "pokey".
Everyone loves Stigma!
Agnostic Front (with Joe Downlow helping out)
Agnostic Front are true hardcore legends. A true original. Thirty years on, they are still valid and important. After playing the "Live from CBGB's" set, they played "For My Family" from the "Warriors" LP and "Gotta Go" from "Something's Gotta Give" LP. These later career tracks generated more reaction from the entire crowd. Everyone was happy, the old timers and the new breed.
Early on in Agnostic Front's set, I was front stage. My 46 year old body realized I was standing next to a young kid, sporting the whole look, shaved head and braces, and he was probably about 12. Awesome!
Oddly enough, as my crew was rolling up to Reverb in Reading, I had another realization. I (46) was walking along side Johnny Clap (50 something) and Johnny Generic (60 something). Hardcore til we die!
Wisdom In Chains
Opening the gig were Wisdom in Chains, Strength For A Reason, Animalhaus, Bottomfeeder and Get Railed.
The show read like a pre-football game injury report. The disabled list included the following:
Pokey from Agnostic Front had recently been hospitalized.
Strength For A Reason did not play this show due to Karl being hospitalized with a blood clot.
Animalhaus singer John Barlow was in a car accident and only performed one song with the band.
Wisdom In Chains
I had the pleasure of witnessing Wisdom in Chains open for Cock Sparrer in Philadelphia not too long ago. Everytime I see this great PA hardcore band, I like them more. I was lucky enough to purchase their LP "Die Young" at the show. It is limited to 80 copies. Sick. They have become very popular locally and I hope their status continues to grow!
Animalhaus is new to me. Check the video below. Seriously fantastic PA band that combines a street punk sound with an anthemic hardcore sound. Could be described as Sick Of It All meets Headache Records. Great drive, great sound, great feel. One of those times when you stick around to see a band you didn't know and end up getting blown away!
"Now We Know" performed by Animalhaus, featuring Mad Joe from Wisdom In Chains
and the only song injured Animalhaus vocalist John performed with the band.
This was my second time seeing Bottomfeeder. First time I "saw" them at Reverb I missed part of their set due some poor timing on my part. This time, there was no way I was missing it. Glad I got to see their whole set. Look forward to big things from Bottomfeeder.
As always, thanks to all the bands, to Reverb, to Frank Phobia and to all of you who share my love of this music.
Johnny Clap (lounging at Reverb between bands)