Monday, June 28, 2010

Don't Even Bother Saying Goodbye...

Photo: Jamie Heim

Saturday was Floorpunch's final show at the First Unitarian Church in Philadelphia, PA. Well, final US show was how it was billed. I thought the word "US" getting thrown in was kind of odd, maybe hinting at some more shows abroad; but I don't care either way. Porter even joked about playing Canada next week leaving the crowd looking around laughing, but I'm sure some were thinking, "Is he serious?". If they want to have 20 final shows, go ahead, because frankly, I'd go see them once a week if I could. Call 'em all your final show, as long as you play all the songs on the demo.

It was a million degrees outside the church and the show had been incredibly hot inside. Despite the terrible outside temperature, as you entered the basement of the church, it was like walking into a wall of heat (Killing Time, anyone?), 100 times worse than outdoors. Without moving and just standing there with my arms folded, watching a couple bands, I could feel the sweat pouring off of me. I couldn't imagine what actually moving around for Floorpunch's set would be like, but there wasn't really a choice, I guess. So sing-a-long and sweat it was gonna be.

Once everybody had arrived from the traffic nightmares north of Philly, Porter gave a couple quick thank-yous and they broke into Warzone's "Intro/Bust", which I was completely stoked on, and apparently the crowd was,too. Even with the time constraints and the obnoxious temperature in the basement of the Church, it was a quality set. I dug the order of things, mainly because it didn't follow the same format of the last two times I saw them, which kept things fresh while still hearing all the jams. All the usual tunes were played and a couple of surprises thrown in for good measure. A girl came out of the crowd to sing "Wall of Hate" by Killing Time and she brought it; a really good job on her part. Geoff was also called out to do Agnostic Front's "Last Warning", and destroyed, upping the intensity of his last AF performance at the Stelton, which was out of control good. Getting to hear KT, AF and Warzone along with the Floorpunch songs was just incredibly awesome.

Other highlights for myself were, of course "My Path" into "Intro/Changes", "Blondie" & "Let It Ride" including the other jams, like "Always", etc. They closed with "Let It Ride" which always has a special place for me living so close to AC. Besides the insanely good setlist was Porter's stage banter filled with the usual good one-liners. One of my favorites: "Then he started listening to weird Lifetime." Hilarious stuff.

Towards the end, it was full on, VH1 Storytellers, Floorpunch style, with Porter explaining the details behind the Earth Crisis beef, the Rick-Ta-Life beef and explaining to one young man in the crowd the truth behind the yogurt at the Middlesex show back in the 90s. Even though it was super hot, the crowd was into it, diving, finger-pointing and getting a quick mosh in on the breakdowns. There were lots of familiar faces all up front singing along from the start to finish of the set. The stage dives were much improved over the Rival Mob's set, where it appeared that kids were going to split their skulls or shatter a bone at any moment. The mosh was brought early, but by the end of the set, the heat had taken its toll, leaving most moshers exhausted, but still trying to give it a go.

Never before have I left a show with my shirt and pants completely soaked, but walking out of the Church, sweat was dripping from my clothes. It was a great set to end on even with it being 1,000 degrees and all the headaches of getting everyone playing the show there and then getting everyone off the stage in time for the next church function. For as satisfied as I was with the final, final, final mosh, I can say I woke up the next day with a footprint on my shoulder, a sore body and wishing that there'd be another show in the next couple months, preferably at the Jersey Shore.

As far as this being the last show, it's easy to argue that it's not their last. Since the final mosh at CB's there's been a handful of different line-ups and a couple of reunion gigs in a variety of spots. Based on the amount of merch at the FP table, it seemed like a whole lot for one show. The longsleeves had the 6/26/10 date on them,indicating this was it; but there were a whole lot of zip ups in different colorways, which was kind of odd for one final summer show. Not that merch is any indication of a band's intentions, but by now, people seem to think it won't be their last. I've got no complaints either way. If they're done, so be it. If another show pops up in a couple years, months or weeks, I can't say that I'd be upset about it. I'd only be upset if I couldn't go.

Floorpunch from KO Films on Vimeo.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

C'mon Now It's the Third Day of Summer...

Or something like that. I plan on watching this movie to help me prepare for my summer job:

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Not of this World

There was a time where I had kind of given up going to shows. I still collected punk records, tracked down different albums and still listened to hardcore daily, but because of laziness, friends "growing up" and a list of other lame excuses, going to see a bunch of bands in a warehouse or garage began slipping in the priorities list. I'd like to say all that changed in some dramatic, Hollywoodesque epiphany, but it was really like that. Instead, I was dragged out to Sea Isle City one night with my wife and some of our friends for a night on the town and headed to one of the local establishments to hang out and take in the sights. Hanging out with friends equals a good time, but going out in Sea Isle in the summer, not so much. If you know anything about Sea Isle, you know that it a collection of bigger bars, some with stages for bands to play, or should I say stages for bands to cover a healthy mix of lame classics and current radio tracks to get the crowd dancing, stumbling and attempting to sing along. The bar we were at was no different on this night.

It stands out in my mind because I am standing there, sans beer, as the crowd is slugging back drinks and watching the band on stage butcher a Springsteen song and reacting to them as if it really was Bruce and his band, I couldn't help but think, "This is so fucking lame". The crowd was loving it, but to me, it was missing the aggression and more importantly, the honesty that the shows I was used to attending always had. No bullshit, just rage. Since that time, I realized there was a reason I liked going to garages, warehouses and other less than legit venues to see the bands that I do. It's not easy going to shows solo, driving two, sometimes three hours to see bands at a place where you're not even sure where it is, but in the end I like seeing a band put 100% into it knowing they may not be getting paid well, they aren't going to make a killing selling overpriced shirts or aren't getting laid by a bunch of groupies at the end of the night.

Which brings me to Danzig.

Some friends and I went to catch his show last night at the Troc in Philly, and to be honest, I knew it was going to be a little weird. I have the usual Danzig resume that most hardcore kids have: listened to the Misfits religiously, discovered Samhain and dig the early Danzig albums. Typical stuff. So when we found out he was playing, we seemed to agree that it would be a good idea to see him, particularly since Doyle was opening which meant that there was the possibility of Misfits tunes. Waiting in line to get into the show, the bouncers were explaining to everyone that there was absolutely no photography, turn off your cell phones, etc. That was probably the first time a confused look crossed my face that night and it wouldn't be the last. I mean, I get it. Danzig is no spring chicken and the jokes about his hairline, waistline and his height are heard about as often as a good crack about his run-in with Danny NSK. But, c'mon, you're going to boot people out of the show for taking a picture with their iphone? Whatever.

We headed up front just a couple minutes before Doyle's band, Gorgeous Frankenstein hit the stage. Next thing we knew, the lights went down, green smoke filled the stage and GF hit the stage. It was pretty clear that they were trying to be as close to the Misfits in aesthetics as possible, right down to the Frankenstein logo, which was eerily (no pun intended) close to the good ol' Crismon Ghost. The lead singer seemed to mimic early Danzig, including hair physique, stage comments, etc. Musically, GF was all over the place: some heavy riffs, mixed with some Misfits-styled feedback, some double bass pedal and even a little NY hardcore. The songs went on forever and their set was super short. No, seriously, they played like four songs. I can honestly say that my favorite part of their set was the entrance and a guy in the crowd who looked like a taller version of Choke from Slapshot, who was pretty much hate moshing the entire unsuspecting crowd.

There was a looooooooooooooooooooooooooooooong wait time between sets. The Troc was hot as hell and the crowd definitely got restless. One guy seemed convinced that if he shouted comments to the empty stage loud enough, Danzig would hear him. He looked so satisfied when the lights went down after one of his comments. With the lights low, Danzig hit the stage and it was pretty much what you'd expect in a lot of ways, song-wise. Opened with "Skincarver", all the favorites from I-III and a couple of new tracks. The crowd responded with, at first abandon slamming wildy, and later cautiously, exhaustedly going through the motions more than anything else. Even Danzig commented that the last time he was at the Troc the place was destroyed and later remarked that he can't believe that he tired the crowd out. The setlist was outstanding and everything sounded tight, including Danzig's voice. The music was great, but again, the weirdness was creeping in. For starters, the guitarist behavior was something out of a Flavor Flav handbook, interacting with the crowd and trying to get them stirred up for his boss. It really didn't seem necessary and came off really-kind of cockrockish in my book. After Danzig's hair was fully wet, he would sneak off, stage left in between songs to do god knows what. Again, don't really care what it was, but just weird. He came out like a house on fire, but by the end was making facial expressions that were down right cartoonish and making the super slayer horns with his hands. Weeeeeird. Of course, you can guess what they closed with, and then did the hilarious, leave the stage, comeback thirty seconds later for the encore and did two more songs, "Dirty Black Summer" and "Am I Demon". Both were awesome. The crowd poured out exhausted, sweaty and tired.

Was it a good show? Sure. It just seemed that everything straddled the line between sincere and absurd and a lot of the aesthetics were more campy than evil. I could never tell whether this was intentional or I was just being a jaded asshole. Two bands for a thirty dollar ticket and merch that was ridiculously priced on one hand, but a great hour of music on the other leaves me kind of torn as to how to feel. Danzig's punk roots make the theatrics of a big-time arena rock show seem kind of silly to me, but at the same time, maybe that's what he wants, but it was all very confusing to me. Who knows. But I will take the sincerity of a show over a big time concert anyday.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Searchin' for the Light

This time of year is probably my favorite time of year, mainly because of the amount daylight that's available. Are there better times of year swell-wise? Yes, but any time you can be in the water at 5:00am and there is actually enough light to see, that's pretty rad. It's a weird feeling to be on the road at quarter to five in the morning, but a lot of times, it can be worth it.

Unfortunately, Friday was not one of those mornings. Surfing before work means your on borrowed time. One more spot check, one more step that you forgot to take care of the night before means minutes shaved off what could already be a short session. Upon checking my first go-to,pre-work, spot, and it looked like tiny junk. Uh-oh. Immediately, my mind began to race as to what do to: Head home, drive around, paddle out anyway? All had their positives and negatives. No waves, lost time, lost sleep were all factors, but I bolted for the north end.

I avoid the North End in most instances, mainly in the months of may to september. Better waves, sure, but I hate dealing with crowds, bros and the inevitable pissing contests that usually occur down there. I realize that maybe I'm just being a baby, but I hate sitting in a line up and look to shore and see one, two or even three guys making their way out to the water. Total buzzkill. The wave quality to crowd debate is always a delicate one to me, but I guess for me, I'll take quantity of quality.

But whatever, the clock was ticking and I was hoping to get something decent, somewhere on the island. Checked one spot, no good. Checked another and it was lining up good enough to justify paddling out and that's exactly what I did. The waves were junky, but they were larger (relatively) and lining up better than anywhere else I had seen.

Despite it being 5:00am, I had the place to myself for a total of fifteen minutes.
In the end, there were only two other guys, it was a fun session and it was good to make an unexpected trip to the North. The building in the first photo is a dead giveaway as to what street.

Sunrise on shoreburbia.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Save My Soul

Ended up in the Lehigh Valley yesterday unexpectedly, and on my way out of town I stopped by my old college to snag this shot. It's a little off kilter, but it's got a nice fire & brimstone feel to it.

While I love my college, I consider my experience to a cultural cess pool. My fault.