Brian Peterson wrote a book about 90's hardcore entitled Burning Fight. As part of the book release celebration, a show was put on at Pomona's Glasshouse on 5/9/09.
We drove down to Southern CA and met up with Mr. Ben Edge for the amazing weekend.
The festivities kicked off with a "secret" show at The Che Cafe in San Diego on 5/8/09. There was a long line of people waiting to see if the alotted friends/family spots were not all taken. We were lucky enough to get in on such a list. ;) I don't know how many people sell out The Che but it was packed full, the stage was difficult to see, and people were climbing on and hanging from the rafters.
The following day, it seemed like thousands of HC kids had taken over Pomona. Along with this show being the West Coast book release, it was also a benefit for The Che, Planned Parenthood, and other organizations in Eric Allen's name. I saw friends old and new. As with the night before, the crowd was great. I just wish The Glasshouse had a sound system fitting a venue that size and got rid of the lame ass barricade and power hungry staff/security.PORTRAITS OF PAST:
It is always great to see such nice guys who I have known for so long. I thoroughly enjoyed their sets which were very similar to the ones played at their initial reunion shows. Rex (guitar) was one of the top performers on stage either night. Their inclusion (at the request of Jose Palafox after Jenny Piccolo's cancellation) helped make the night feel like the 90's for me.THREADBARE:
Threadbare had never made it to California while still together. Their arrival was highly anticipated by many. That vocalist sure can fuckin scream.UNDERTOW:
When I first moved to CA in 1991, I met a girl who made me a mixtape to bring me up to speed on HC. The band which instantly clicked for me was Seattle's Undertow. It was great to see them pull this reunion off so tight. While many of the vocalists were shaking off the rust from the years, Pettibone shown through like the well oiled metal machine he is. Their set was the highlight in Pomona!SWING KIDS:
I saw Swing Kids once at Gilman during what the drunk punx called "chaos days." It was extremely violent and I even grabbed the mic at one point to yell at people. I wasn't sure how much the Unbroken crowd would actually go off for Swing Kids but they sure fuckin did. They sounded better than I ever remember them sounding in the 90's. I could definitely feel the jazz influence. The droning cover of "Warsaw" closed Pomona's show with an emotional ferocity that suited them well.UNBROKEN:
When I first saw Unbroken in the mid-90's, I was shocked and confused by the pompadours and western shirts. Cue Morrissey's "My Love Life"... Some influences ride a wave and then fade. It is safe to say that Unbroken didn't create a wave but an undying influence in HC aesthetic equal to that of Youth Of Today. This was more than obvious in the audience that was a sea of pomade and Moz worship.
I couldn't see anything but piles of bodies at The Che. At The Glasshouse, Unbroken brought out Eric Allen's mother who thanked everyone. The spirit of Eric Allen, Unbroken's guitar player who committed suicide, was undeniable throughout Unbroken's set. Everyone went nuts.
_____There were way too many photographers/videographers for my taste. One photographer whose work I really dig, Matt Miller, had multiple flashes set up through both venues that just ended up blinding the audience every time they went off. It was so annoying, many people shouted for him to turn them off in San Diego. I even asked him face-to-face to do so but he just insisted the photos would be good. (I will post a link to his Southern CA photos as soon as he posts them.)
It is as if documentation of the event was more important than experiencing the event. Society Of The Spectacle, anyone?
Some reflection on my weekend made me realize how much this HC subculture really is a culture... My culture. I felt like I belonged. It is difficult to now re-enter the "normal" world and 'fake it.' I don't want to lose the feelings I felt this past weekend. I wish we had viable excuses to have such huge events that bring us all together more often. It was wonderful seeing you all, friends... brothers and sisters.
I encourage you all to check out the Burning Fight book. It is an exhaustive amount of info and has something for anyone who was involved in or is interested in hardcore punk from the early to mid 1990's. Glancing through it as I have, I was reminded of all kinds of stuff I had forgotten. Hardcore didn't die in 1986.
In addition to all the hardcore, we also found more than enough time to gorge our bellies full of amazing vegan food. For the highlights:M CAFE
_____I used photos by myself, Keith Barney, and Dan Rawe.
Thank you: Mel, Ben, Florence, Mark Undertow, Jose Palafox, Alison, and everyone else.