Hardcore/Punk Arrives Strong at Black N Blue Bowl 2016 (SHOW REVIEW)

Unlike previous years, 2016’s version of the Black N Blue Bowl was scaled down to one day instead of two as the hardcore/punk/metal scene focused once again on Webster Hall with a full card of bands and almost as many bro hugs as tattoos.

Early groups were the New Jersey based Blind Justice who played their punk and the youngest band on the bill, the straight edge Long Island based Regulate who conducted their short raw set with confidence. Rykers from Germany didn’t have as much action in the pit as the local groups but their brand of straight ahead hardcore fit perfectly into the NYHC scene with its stomp parts.

A major highlight this year was a reunion of the Bronx based Billy Club Sandwich as the band got back together to celebrate their 20th anniversary. Opening with “Suckerpunch” (which nods to Ministry) the band tore through a tight and groove oriented set that had time changes, shifts in tempo and fists flying from the beginning. Huge breakdowns in songs like “Veterans Day” slammed while stage pile ups were massive for “Chin Music” and set closer “Slow With Your Hands” from their Superheroes At Leisure EP was simply massive; a perfect matinee slamfest.

Hazen Street took the stage next and featuring members of H20, Cro-Mags and Madball the group played tracks from its 2004 self titled release. Hazen Street are another band who does not play often, and the bands more mainstream punk sound like “Are You Ready?”, contrasted nicely and set up old NYHC stalwarts Leeway. The Astoria based five piece played their thrash influenced punk as riffs from the two guitarists flew off the stage.

Speaking of NYHC legends, Madball focused on the band’s best album as they welcomed former guitarist Matt Henderson back to the stage and showcased 1996’s Demonstrating My Style. Fantastic frontman Freddy Cricien revved up the audience as stage dives and high fives were doled out to the packed house during songs like “Nuestra Familia” and “Back Of The Bus”. Other standouts from the bands juiced up performance were “”Pride (Times Are Changing)” and “True To The Game”.

Two out of town acts were the headliners this year as California’s Adolescents played their brand of left coast surf influenced skate punk. The straight ahead styled “Lockdown America” was good amidst a few sound issues. The group will spend the summer touring Europe but tonight their more bratty/upbeat attitude dovetailed perfectly with the more tough guy bands on this night. That said the crowd seemed to be recuperating before the headliner American Nightmare. The Boston based four piece opened with “There’s A Black Hole in the Shadow of the Pru” and the crowd responded. Other numbers were “AM/PM” also from Background Music, a cover of Black Flag (“Depression”) and day closer “Farewell” which wrapped up a long day of metal, until next year.

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