Cro-Mags, Fucked Up, Screaming Females, Pissed Jeans: House of Vans, Brooklyn, NY 7/29/11

The line for Friday Nights free show in Greenpoint, Brooklyn stretched far into the steamy night as rain fell in buckets before things got started.  It was a drenching evening in all aspects as the hardcore and punk rock washed over the crowd mixing with the sweltering venue, developing a cauldron of sound and some unfortunate smells.  Ahh puke, sweat and spilled beers…METAL!

Pissed Jeans went on first and sped through a compact set of their crunching punk style.  Lead singer Matt Korvette pranced and poised on stage like an effeminate Iggy Pop as the band crashed around him.  The crowd tried to dry off in the rain but it wasn’t long before they were drenched again from slam dancing or just standing in the warehouse that passed as a venue/steam room on this night. 

The large metal shack lead to some sound issues as Screaming Females began their set with the dripping riffs of “Buried in the Nude”.  Marisa Paternoster’s whaling guitar seemed to fade away amongst the metal rafters at times while the trio focused on their older/rawer tunes.  “Light’s Out” showcased the bands talents as the crowd clapped along and “I Don’t Mind It” had the crowd-surfers spilling over the barricade.  Many in attendance were impressed catching the group for the first time and their set was a definite highlight.

Fucked Up was placed as the support group (after originally being billed as headliners) and this was probably for the best.  Lead singer Damien Abraham spent the full set in the crowd, even venturing out into the back yard of the venue to sing with people who were trying to cool down.  The bands three guitar attack lacked passion and was stunted at times; a lot of effort was going down on stage with minimal results from the crowd and pretty average overall feel. 

The best, as it turned out, was still to come as the Cro-Mag’s exploded, pummeling with their trademark riffs, drum blasts and cataclysmic tunes.   Focusing on Age of Quarrel and throwing in some Bad Brains covers (a ripping “Attitude”) drove fans and first timers into a ballistic frenzy.  There were multiple off-the-top-of-speakers stage divers, a massive pit and sweaty revelers screaming along with the ageless John Joseph who is a whirling dervish of a lead singer; still energizing a crowd like few others. 

The band on this night was supplemented by other NYHC legends, AJ Novello from Leeway on guitar and Craig Setari from Sick Of It All on bass.  “Street Justice” had fists flying and “We Gotta Know” nearly caused the stage to collapse with its power.  It is shocking to see the energy this group still possesses, raw and honest with their playing while Joseph’s magnetic vibe makes it impossible not to be swept away.  One of the greatest NYHC groups of all time are still going strong and as the crowd left (more soaked then when they entered) there was a great sense of reassurance that went along with that.          

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