Complaining Like a Little GirlI recently found this concert review that I had written about Agnostic Front that I found to be quite humorous looking back on it now. Why I never published this review in the printed format of the mag is beyond me, but it may have been due to space, or thinking it was a dumb review, but who knows? I want to say that it was intended for my 5th issue, but I may be wrong, but considering this show occurred in 2000, it sounds about right. Although I respect Agnostic Front very much, checking out my memories. Enjoy it, or hate it, this review still stands true for me today.
So, how's it going? Well, from the title, you all may probably be dering what on earth I'm talking about, eh? This story might be really dumb, but oh well. Don't worry, I'll keep this short for ya'll!
There aren't very many hardcore/punk acts that I like, and when I say punk, I'm not talking about these gay-ass-wanna-be punk bands like Green Day, or all these emo/ska bands either, I'm talking old school PUNK here. To name a few; old Misfits, Fear, Dead Kennedy's, Lard, D.R.I., The Exploited, Agnostic Front (key word), Minor Threat, Crash Dog, The Crucified, and a few others, but you get the point. When I go to concerts, I have two reasons why I'm going. Well, maybe a few other reasons, but mainly two. 1) To see the bands that I like, obviously and 2) to dance-mosh-slam, or whatever you want to call it. When I was younger, you would always catch me in the pit (Nothing has changed!! - Mike - 2006).
My first experience with this style of music, as far as concerts go, was at Club Fitzgeralds in Houston back in 1990. It was the tour with D.R.I., Nasty Savage, and Sick Of It All.
This show was intense! Skinheads, punkers, and metal heads (oh my!) all over the place, and no one got into any fights that night, cool huh!? Anyway, I recently (well, a while back by now - Mike - 2006) caught D.R.I., and I knew that it was going to be an old school experience with that certain vibe, so of course I "danced." The crowd mainly consisted of an older crowd, with a few younger kids within the Crowd as well, but one could definitely tell the fans from the fanatics. They played tons of old songs (as they are known to do), among some newer tunes that I wasn't really all that familiar with, due to losing interest over time. The point is that I wasn't disappointed in any way with the show, or their performance, bringing back some great memories, and it was definitely a work out! All hails to one of the kings of old school! And now comes the inspiration to this (absurd?) story/review; Agnostic Front.
I saw them perform for the first time back in 1992, with no disappointments. This tour was really, really weird, due to the fact they played with Obituary, Malevolent Creation, Cannibal Corpse, and Time Ghoul (although this wouldn't be as strange now - Mike - 2006). I just thought that they were misplaced, but that is my personal opinion. Anyway, the performance that night was excellent (from all the bands)! Agnostic Front had a stage presence like no other, and the fact that the majority of the crowd consisted of metal heads, that did not stop them from doing what they did best; playing their unique style of hard-core/punk. Now, the thing to keep in mind is "what they did best", Not Do, Did! I recently (Oct. 6, 2000) saw them during the Punk O Rama tour, and I was more than psyched and ready to "dance." The whole week prior to the show, I listened to some of their classic material to get my self pumped. After the break up, I was a bit upset, but life went on, you know? However, after the reunion and after releasing some new material, due to certain reviews that I had read, I just never found myself interested setting my self up for disappointment by listening to the change of sound, so I never bought any of the newer releases, and never listened to any of them, either so I didn't really know what to expect as far as the newer songs go, or what I was going to see visually, only recalling the images I had from 92.
While listening to Liberty & Justice For...., I finally arrive at The Galaxy (R.I.P.) in St. Louis. I was expecting to see a mixture of people; skins, punks, young and old, but boy was I wrong! 90% of the people attending the show were people under 20, and I must say that it was a 50/50 mix of guys and girls, implying most shows usually consist of males. The first thing that came to my mind were all these kids getting hurt in the pit while Agnostic played, but after looking around and to my surprise, there weren't any people big enough to hurt these kids; they all looked the same to me! Well, there were exceptions, but just about everyone was pretty much the same size; small! To pass up the time, due to not really liking anyone on the bill, I walked around, played some pin-ball, debated whether or not I wanted to buy an Agnostic shirt, and just stared in awe at all these kids, waiting anxiously to hear some good old school tunes.
An hour or so passed by and finally the moment had arrived. I kinda figured they would play newer songs at the beginning (I was right about that part), and then some older tunes following close behind (I was wrong about that part). So I waited, waited, and waited some more, twiddling my thumbs, going to the bathroom, and, you guessed it, waited some more. During the first 5-6 songs, I was like; "Okay, any minute now they're going to play a classic, and I'm going to jump in and do some damage." So I waited, and I waited, and I waited, and while performing their 6th or 7th song (who's counting the bad songs anyway?), one of the first things that started "hitting" me was the "happy-look-at-me" atmosphere the band projected while on stage. "Man, is this the same band I saw in 92?", thinking to myself in utter confusion. Mr. Stigma (guitarist) was a total "clown", respectively, and kept yelling; "Hello St. Louigi!" and "Thank you St. Louigi!", with that thick Italian NY accent of his in between the songs. He yelled these remarks on numerous occasions and told some really dumb jokes, of course getting a reaction from all of these little kids in the crowd. And if that wasn't already enough, adding to my already bad experience, when a song had a happy-sing-a-long-type chorus to it, Mr. Stigma's "clown face" was at its peak, rocking his head back and forth in happiness, making me feel all nauseas.
Now, leaving Stigma alone and moving on to Roger (vocalist). What I had witnessed from him was something I wasn't expecting to see, and was something that made me want to go deaf and blind from the shock at seeing and hearing such comments spew from his mouth. At one point in time he invited all these little girls on stage (from the side of the stage, of course) to dive off the stage so they could get their "revenge" on the boys. He kept saying; "Now it's your turn to poke their eyes and kick them in the head.", surely knowing, or having noticed boys in previous shows welcome this "revenge" so they can feel up on these precious little girls.
In short, this whole performance was a total kid's show for Pete's sake; a big circus! But the thing that shocked me the most was that all of these new songs were all "happy gay-wod" Green Day wanna be songs. I just couldn't believe my ears! During the entire performance, I just wanted to leave, not wanting to remember such an event, not wanting to believe what I had just witnessed. And get this! The only old song that they played, as their closer at that, was "Crucified." If anyone reading this knows their history, it isn't even their freakin' song! I couldn't recall any other moment in my concert history where I was so disappointed in a band, except for when I saw Sepultura back in 93, but that's another story in itself.
Anyway, the whole point to this story is me whining on a once excellent band, falling to commercialism. We have so many old school bands selling out (metal and other), and I wasn't ready/expecting the mighty Agnostic Front to do the same. So, another band goes down in history, literally. It was the biggest waste of money and time, ever! Well, except for Ozz Fest.1999.
Now, I close with these words, taken from the chorus from their song; Anthem - "....The Blood-The Honor-The Truth, Thought it would never end. The Blood-The Honor-The Truth, Can be part of our lives again!" Remember these words Roger and Co.? Remember these words............
By Mike Coles