Wednesday, March 31, 2010

May 13th, 1998: Hot Water Music, Grade, Boy Sets Fire, Bridgewater, Prisoner of Conscience @ Supreme Imperial, Baltimore, MD

Somebody made a prettier version of this flyer, but I don't have it. I also used to have some good photos from this show, but my cat ate them years ago. Use your imagination. This is one of my favorite shows I ever booked. This was not too long after "Forever and Counting" came out, which is still probably my favorite HWM record. It was also the first one I heard, so that may have something to do with it. I still like to pop it on on a fairly regular basis. This was my first time seeing them and they pretty much floored me. Such a great live band. There were so many people in that space going apeshit, and there were a couple "soft spots" in the floor, that I was legitimately worried that it could buckle, sending people crashing down to the first floor. Thankfully it didn't and everyone had a great time. HWM were doing the tour with Grade, which is why Grade played over Boy Sets Fire, even though BSF were much more popular in Baltimore. This was before "Under the Radar" came out, in Kyle's white boy dreadlocks era, and I was never a big fan of any of that stuff. They were better as a rock band. I remember him being real douchey about something. I think it was the PA. It was your standard DIY show PA with no monitors. He kept complaining that he couldn't hear himself. His attitude in general was pretty lame that whole night. Really put me off. Boy Sets Fire's "The Day the Sun Went Out" had been out for a little bit at this point and they were really starting to get some attention. I was pretty into this era of the band. Really energetic live shows. Bridgewater and Prisoner of Conscience were solid openers for this show. I never realized how many shows I put P.O.C. on until going through these flyers recently. I guess just cuz John and I were good friends and there weren't that many decent locals in Baltimore at the time.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Supreme Imperial calendar #1

Here we have the first calendar flyer for the early batch of shows at the Supreme Imperial. I think Scott Cullum (Bridgewater) made it, but it may have been Carl Caracia (Underneath, Ampersand). I can't remember. That May 1st show got cancelled at the last minute. I don't remember why but if it's the show I'm thinking of, Strong Intention didn't get the message and drove all the way out from Hagerstown. Bummer. That May 13th show is one of my favorite shows I ever booked. More on that show later this week when that flyer pops up. I've also got flyers for those two July shows so you'll get more details on those soon.

Monday, March 29, 2010

April 30th, 1998: Sarge, Dismemberment Plan, Threadline, the Propeller Song @ WMBC lobby, UMBC, Baltimore, MD

This is obviously the best flyer I've ever made. This show came together pretty last minute and there was a show happening on the evening that I made the flyer and I had to act fast so I whipped this baby up using a Papa John's ad as the background. Sweet. The flyer was made before the Commuter Cafe stopped being an option for a place to hold shows at UMBC, and the show actually happened in the lobby of the campus radio station, a space smaller than the basement of the old Charm City Art Space. I haven't listened to the LP in quite some time, but "The Glass Intact" was in constant rotation on my turntable for quite a while around this time. I've never checked out any of their other records, for no good reason, but that one was a solid showing of pleasant indie-pop. Elizabeth from Sarge contacted the Dismemberment Plan about playing the show. I know its sacrilege being that I live close enough to DC, but I never really cared about them. Threadline had sent me their CDep about a month prior and I thought it was some pretty decent post-hardcore/rock. I think I still have it. If I'm thinking of the right band, the Propeller Song went on to become the Butterflies. I don't remember who played bass or guitar in the band, but Chuck Cole of Two If By Sea, among others, was the drummer. I'm pretty sure I'm thinking of the right band. I think I'm gonna throw that Sarge LP on when I get home.

Friday, March 26, 2010

April 16th, 1998: Ink & Dagger, the Enkindels, Torn Apart, Metroschifter, Prisoner of Conscience @ Supreme Imperial, Baltimore, MD

This is one of my favorite shows I ever booked as Ink & Dagger is one of my favorite bands ever. Initial Records was promoting the hell out of this "Initial Weekend" mini-tour with Ink & Dagger, the Enkindels, and Metroschifter. I don't remember where the other shows were but I was kinda surprised they picked Baltimore for one of them. Obviously, Ink & Dagger were fucking incredible at this show. As you can see from the pictures, they were over doing the make-up by this time. This was the first time I had actually gotten to see them so I was kinda bummed. I don't know shit about playing music but I always thought Don Devore was a really unique guitar player. I think this was early enough that they were only playing stuff from the 7"s. The first full-length wasn't out yet. Great band. This wasn't too long after Enkindel went from being a fairly standard 90s indie/punk band to a fairly decent rock n roll/punk band and changed their name to The Enkindels. I can't remember if "Buzzclip 2000" was out by this show but I don't think it was. Gus Bowman loves that record. I think it's a pretty good summertime record. Really poppy rock n roll stuff. The schtick was a bit much, but it was all in good fun. This was one of the last Torn Apart shows with Drew Nelson on bass. Drew rules. I think "The 59th Session" had come out pretty recently and I always thought that was their best stuff. I never cared much for Metroschifter, but they were decent enough. I remember Johnny from P.O.C. pushing really hard to have me put them on this show. I think he thought this would be their chance to play in front of some bands that would "get" them. This was actually one of the better sets I would see them play. The flyer is a Damon Pieri joint. I took the pictures.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

March 22nd, 1998: Ensign, Time Flies, Reinforce, Strong Intention, Oxboard Drain @ Supreme Imperial, Baltimore, MD

Another Damon Pieri flyer. This was the first show I ever booked at the Supreme Imperial (which would later become the Chop Shop). You can read the history of the venue during the time I was involved in the article I wrote for Dead Venues. This show was originally booked at the UMBC Commuter Cafe, but all shows got cancelled there when some jerk that booked a show left the place a mess. What the hell is wrong with people? George France, from Prisoner of Conscience, let me know about this space a local reggae band had where they practiced and threw the occasional party and they were willing to rent it out to people for other events. I got in touch with the guy who was organizing everything there and that was the beginning of a half-year relationship and a lot of really cool shows. When I first started booking shows there the place was a bit of a disaster. Junk and furniture and trash everywhere, and the place reeked of weed. There was a makeshift stage that looked like it could fall apart at any minute so I had the bands play on the floor. I think Oxboard Drain (some band from Ohio if I remember correctly), Strong Intention, and Reinforce were the only bands that ended up playing this show. Time Flies cancelled a week or so before the show. Ensign showed up, after driving about 3 hours from New Jersey, hung out in their van for a bit, and then sent their roadie upstairs to let me know that Tim was sick and they were gonna head home. Obviously a bullshit story, but it didn't look like that many people were gonna show up so it was fine with me as it was one less out of town band I had to pay. I think they still asked for money anyway. For those unaware, Reinforce was from North Carolina and featured Aaron (guitar) and Steve (bass) who would go on to form The First Step. I can't remember the singer's name but he used to call a lot trying to work out weekend trips for the band. Super eager, friendly guy who would talk hardcore for hours. He was a Kevin Seconds super-fan for sure. I think he was in the band No Comply from Atlanta after Reinforce broke up. Don't know what happened to him after that. Anyway, this is a really cool flyer/show for me as it marks the beginning stages of me actually running my own venue.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

March 14th, 1998: Snapcase, Boy Sets Fire, Chalkline, Holdstrong @ IQ Records, Erie, PA

My old friend Kelly Shaw was planning on getting tattooed by Mike Ski. This is right around the time he started tattooing. This show gave her a good excuse to head up to Erie, so she invited Drew Thiemann and myself along and we made a road trip out of it. Upon picking me up Kelly informed me that she'd pay for me to get my first tattoo as a belated birthday gift. I remember stopping at some college somewhere between Pittsburgh and Erie to meet up with the Chalkline kids on the way up. We hung out for an hour or so and then headed up to Erie. We must have gotten food or something before the show because we got there a bit late and missed all of Holdstrong and most of Chalkline, which was fine by me. Boy Sets Fire and Snapcase were both solid but what impressed me most about the show was the venue itself. It wasn't too far off from something like Champion Ship in Pennsylvania. You first walked into this small record store and then through some doors to a really nice sized venue with a stage and a big PA system. I'd never seen anything like it before and thought it was so cool that they had a record store and venue in the same building. Every town should have something like that.

After the show we headed back to Mike's house and I'm pretty sure he ended up tattooing Kelly that night. He did mine the next day, and while it was my first tattoo so I had no prior experience, he must have had a pretty heavy hand at the time because nothing I've had done since has hurt nearly as badly during or afterwards. It's not the best tattoo ever, but everyone has their first, and Mike talked me into some better ideas than the one I originally had so it could have been much worse.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

March 12th, 1998: Blacktop Cadence, Jejune, GlenmontSoundSystem, Epstein, Speedwell @ UMBC Commuter Cafe, Baltimore, MD

I don't remember how I first got hooked up with Eva from Fata Booking but I did a lot of shows for her and I believe this was the first one. I thought Blacktop Cadence was decent, but I was a huge Hot Water Music fan (still am of everything up to No Division) so I was happy to book them. I didn't know much about Jejune accept that all the indie nerds loved them. I wasn't too hip to the indie scene in the area at the time so I'm pretty sure Joe Mitra was the one that suggested the three locals that played. Drew Thiemann may have had a hand in helping as well. GlenmontSoundSystem was Joe's band. I think Boson Au was in that band as well. I don't remember much about Epstein or Speedwell. Did anyone from those bands go on to do anything else? I have a feeling that Scott Cullum, from Bridgewater, made this flyer, but I could be wrong. That first Blacktop Cadence record was pretty good, but I couldn't get into the follow up at all. If we're talking HWM side-projects, I'll take Rumbleseat any time. Good stuff.

Upon further investigation, it appears there was only one Blacktop Cadence full-length. I was thinking of the song from the Emo Diaries comp, "Cold Night In Virginia". That's a great song and I was kinda bummed that nothing on the full-length really came close to it.

Friday, March 19, 2010

March 8th, 1998: Rain On the Parade, Rancor, Atari, Longshot, Latebloomer @ UMBC Commuter Cafe, Baltimore, MD

A double-flyer special today. Damon Pieri did the one on top and I did the other one. I think Rancor ended up cancelling this show. Maybe it was Atari. I can't remember. I loved that 1st Atari 7". Posi-core about straightedge, the core, and skateboarding, aka octave-core. I thought ROTP were decent but never seemed to like them as much as other people did. Actually, that last 7" they did on Youngblood, which I believe was actually the demo for their post-ROTP v.1 band, Fired Up, was my favorite stuff of theirs. Too bad the Skullfucks never became a reality. Latebloomer was a band I did not get to see enough. Only saw them live a handful of times, even though they played around a lot. I think I just didn't become aware of them until close to the end. The band featured Seth from Superchinchillarescuemission on vocals, Dwayne from Cross My Heart on guitar, Evan Tanner from Pee Tanks and Cross My Heart on drums (with Hard Pat from Crispus Attucks/SCRM filling in from time to time, and Kevin from Choker on bass (and Dave Nada from What Lies Ahead, De Nada, SCRM on bass after Kevin). Longshot was Maryland's finest non-edge youth crew band ever. They put out a great 7" on the Gleasons' label, Overdose Records. Trevor, the singer, went on to do What Lies Ahead, then become a DJ around DC. Colin, the drummer, now plays for Most Precious Blood. Paul played guitar and was also in Underneath and Ampersand. Steve Clark played bass and went on to play in No Justice and sing for 86 Mentality. I remember meeting Trevor at some Capitol Ballroom show a couple months before this where he mentioned he was into the shows I had been doing and handed me their 7" (on yellow!) and said they'd be into playing one sometime. Great band, great people.

Thanks to Niles Fetting and Alex D. for their help in filling in the gaps in my memory for this post.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

March 1st, 1998: Culture, Turmoil, Torn Apart, Prisoner of Conscience, Bound, Pastime @ UMBC Commuter Cafe, Baltimore, MD

This was the first *big* show that I ever booked. I was kind of blown away by the turnout. There were two areas you could do shows at the Commuter Cafe. One was in this enclosed glass box, the smoking section, which probably held about 150 comfortably, and the other was in the bigger main area, which held a lot more people but sounded like crap cuz it was all tile and cinder block. Based on the last few shows I had done I expected about 100 people to show up so I went with the glass box. Next thing I knew we had over 200 people paid and a lot of kids going apeshit in that small area. It was a lot of fun. I remember all the Lancaster kids, 24th Solution and their friends, they had some straightedge crew, I forget what it was called. Anyway, they came down en masse and heckled the shit out of Torn Apart since they were no longer a straightedge band. I also remember Damien from Culture telling me they were gonna be breaking up soon and handing me the As Friends Rust demo, which I listened to a lot. Bound was a NJ band featuring Jason from Kid Dynamite/None More Black, Dana who went on to play in Reach the Sky for a bit, Nick from Autumn, and the bass player went on to play in For the Love Of and I think the Radar Mercury, with Kevin from Endeavor. Jason and I went to high school together and I was really stoked for him that he was playing in a band that was getting out of New Jersey, and that I really liked as well. This flyer was my attempt at a John McKaig / Lost Horizon style flyer. Sick show.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

February 22nd, 1998: Boy Sets Fire, Daltonic, Pastime, Pressgang, Prisoner of Conscience @ UMBC UC Ballroom, Baltimore, MD

This one's a Damon Pieri classic. He did the illustration and the text at the bottom and the left, and the P.O.C. lettering, and I did the text on the right and the rest of the band lettering. I think I ended up doing most of the band lettering as the line-up changed once or twice. The flyer says it was to take place at the Commuter Cafe but for some reason it ended up getting moved to the UC Ballroom, which holds about 800 people. I think a little over 100 came out so it seemed a bit empty. Pressgang was a band that featured the imitable Mike Wolf, who was the co-founder of the Charm City Art Space with myself. They were from Pittsburgh and were out for a weekend trip so I added them to the show, long before Mike and I were friends. I remember adding Daltonic on fairly short notice and told them that I already had two out of town bands I had to take care of so I couldn't promise them much money. They said that was no problem, they were just looking or a show. I ended up giving them more than I planned but they still complained about driving all the way down from Boston and not getting enough. My friends Carlos Guillen and Kevin Weston did sound for this show. They were setting up the PA and asked if I had any CDs on me that they could play. I told them there were a bunch in my bookbag and to help themselves. One of those happened to be the Boy Sets Fire - The Day the Sun Went Out CD which is the one they happened to pop on. I was running around getting things organized so I didn't even realize it and then the band walked in with a bit of a perplexed look on their face. That's when I realized what was playing. Awkward. This was also the first time I had seen any of them smoking cigarettes and I remember thinking it was such a sham that they came off as this righteous political band but still supported such abominable corporations. You gotta pick your battles I guess.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Earthwell flyers


Scott from Bridgewater sent me a link for Nicole Earthwell's flyers. Earthwell did a shit ton of great shows in DC in the mid 90s but it was before I had a car or really had much of a concept of the scene in the area (remember, this is pre-explosion of the internet), so I didn't even know about them until it was too late. The only show in this collection that I think I went to was the July 20th one with Next Step Up, Torn Apart, Christ, Bridgewater, and Disbelief, although if it's the show I'm thinking of, it got moved to Brody from Bridgewater's house (the same house from the May 11th flyer) and Next Step Up didn't play. I think I saw the flyer for the house show at Reptilian and I happened to be living 3 blocks away at the time so I skated down to the show and watched some great bands by myself. Johnny X from P.O.C. was the only person there that I knew, but a lot of the attendees would become good friends of mine, even to this day.

Check the flyers out here: Earthwell flyers

Thanks Scott!

February 8th, 1998: Franklin, Atom & His Package, Bridgewater, Bell Book & Candle, Lackluster @ UMBC, Baltimore, MD

Another Damon Pieri flyer. In order to obtain use of the campus copying services you had to get approval from the SGA (Student Government Association) for your flyer. Needless to say, this one did not get approved so I had to head to Kinko's for this one. There's a zine on the bed called Schwicks. That was Damon's zine. You'll see that pop up in his flyers from time to time. I remember contacting Atom to see if he'd come down and play Baltimore. I thought his first two records were pretty clever and was interested in seeing how it would come off live. At this point he was still somewhat a "mystery" outside of Philadelphia. This is right around when he started playing out live more often. He was the one who suggested that Franklin come down with him. I was never that into them, definitely a couple of good songs though, but I figured some other people would be and it'd help the draw a bit. Bell, Book, & Candle were an indie-pop band from New Jersey that had sent me a demo tape asking if they could get a show in Baltimore some time. It just so happened that they were heading out for a weekend trip and I thought their demo was pretty good so I added them to the show. Lackluster were an indie/alt-rock band from the Baltimore area, some of whom went to UMBC and I had become friendly with so I had them open the show. I don't really remember the turnout for this show, but it wasn't horrible. I haven't listened to Atom in years, and I'm not sure how well that stuff would hold up for me these days, but I still like to rock the Bridgewater demo and 7" every now and then. Great band.

Monday, March 15, 2010

February 2nd, 1998: Torn Apart, Disembodied, Nora, Bound, Endeavor @ The Funnel, Baltimore, MD

Our first full flyer from Damon Pieri. This show didn't actually happen. This was booked at the space formerly known as The Bank, and then later, The Vault. I had seen some ska shows here when it was The Bank and figured I'd see if the new management was into doing hardcore shows. I can't remember why I decided to do it there instead of at UMBC, but probably because I thought it was gonna be some huge show, plus they had a high stage for epic dives. We showed up to the venue an hour or so before doors to get set up and the doors were still locked. I only had the number for the club so calling was useless. We decided to wait around and see if there was some miscommunication, but once 7:30pm hit, we decided that these douchebags had fucked up and there was gonna be no show. There was a bunch of people that had shown up and we were all pretty mad. I left with some of the bands and we went and got food. The club's sign got smashed to pieces that night and I got an angry phone call about it the next day. They said there was some miscommunication amongst their staff and the show never made it past whoever I booked it through. Needless to say, that was the last time I booked or attended a show at that shithole. A little while later, Craig Boarman, future co-owner of the Ottobar, booked the Bouncing Souls there and they made every patron sign a waiver that they wouldn't "slamdance or stagedive". I think that was the last time he booked a show there as well.

Friday, March 12, 2010

January 25th, 1998: Prisoner of Conscience @ Reptilian Records, Baltimore, MD

I thought it was so cool that Reptilian would do these free in-store shows with local bands from time to time. This was kinda right at the end of the era of all that. I remember seeing Torn Apart in the store, and I'm pretty sure Daybreak did one as well. Not sure I actually caught any others. Many years later Chris X let Pulling Teeth debut our Martyr Immortal album in the new location the night before we headed out for a US tour supporting that release. This is definitely a Johnny X flyer. The quote at the top is him to a T. He always tried to come off with this antagonistic edge, and it worked with most people, but if you knew him you knew he just liked getting a rise out of people and could take it as well as he could dish it out. I think he really wanted P.O.C. to have this sort of mysterious or esoteric angle. They were a decent jazzy, technical, noisy band with personal lyrics. George, the drummer, went on to play in The Convocation Of...; Adam, the bass player, currently tattoos out of the Baltimore Tattoo Museum and Great Southern; Chip, the guitarist, went to med school and last I heard was in Hawaii or Puerto Rico or Florida or something; Johnny went to law school after graduating from UMBC and I believe is practicing somewhere out west. Their only official release was a self-released 7", but there was a demo or two as well.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

January 4th, 1998: Frodus, Enemy Soil, Pig Destroyer, De Nada, You and I, Amalgamation @ UMBC Commuter Cafe

This show would be eBay gold today. I think Boson Au (now head honcho at Velocipede Bike Project in Baltimore) did this show. Maybe Joe Mitra. But Joe didn't go to UMBC and Bo did, so it was probably Bo. The only sets I still really remember from this show were You and I's and Frodus's. Two bands I had heard a bunch about at the time but hadn't seen yet. Frodus were tight and refreshing, but You and I really stole this show. As far as I was aware, the term "screamo" was invented for them. The music was intense and the band exuded raw emotion. Not in some corny, forced way like a lot of the bands the term would come to be associated with. I'd never seen anything like it at the time, and to this day, no band of this style has come close to grabbing me like this performance did. I picked up their LP at this show. Now that was eBay gold for a while. I like it though so it's not going anywhere.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

December 29th, 1997: Brother's Keeper, Prisoner of Conscience, Underneath, Bridgewater @ Kaffa House, Washington, DC

I have another flyer for this show with a slightly different line up (with Torn Apart listed instead of Bridgewater) that I didn't scan, but it was a better looking flyer. Since this is the line up that played, this is the flyer I scanned. Three of my favorite local bands at the time plus Erie's finest. I always liked Brother's Keeper. Never loved them, but enjoyed just about everything they put out. Even the chicken-vocals stuff. They were just such a solid bunch of guys it was hard not to like them. This might have been the first time I got to see them live. I'm trying to remember if this was the old Kaffa House set up with the stacks of speakers in the front and the back, which was probably fine for their reggae DJ nights, but was weird for hardcore/punk shows cuz only the vocals were mic'ed so if you were in the back by the merch you had vocals blaring in your ear about three times as loud as the music you could hear. Come to think of it, since I had only gotten a car right around this time, this may have been my first Kaffa House show. It's amazing to think how different the neighborhood is now, only 13 years later. At least Ben's Chili Bowl is still there.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

December 28th, 1997: Better Than a Thousand, Burn, Hands Tied, Fahrenheit 451, For the Living @ Capitol Ballroom, Washington, DC

Now this was a great show. I'd finally get to see Hands Tied for the first time and Better Than a Thousand in DC, but more importantly I'd actually get to see Burn perform live. I got into hardcore not long after they broke up but I got their 7" pretty early on and was 100% all about it. It was so much different than everything else I had heard at the time (which was mostly either the Victory and Equal Vision catalogs of the time or the early Revelation stuff), and so incredibly heavy and powerful and fresh. I couldn't believe I'd actually get to see them live.

I was never all that into For the Living. Great guys, for sure, but when compared to most of the other youth crew bands of the time, they just didn't rank all that high in my book. Sorry guys. I'm sure none of them would deny the fact that all their bands that would follow were loads better and loads more important in the general scheme of things. Actually, the Primary demo was pretty good too. I definitely didn't care for Fahrenheit 451 and they pulled one of my biggest pet peeves in covering Fugazi's "Waiting Room". The song itself isn't the pet peeve, it's when out of town bands feel they have to cover a band from that town to win over the crowd. Weak. Hands Tied were pretty good but I remember feeling a little bit let down. I think my expectations were just too high as I loved the 7" and was really looking forward to seeing them. They were fine, but just didn't blow me away.

Burn fucking killed it. I'm always wary of old bands getting back together and playing again but they were tight and intense and I loved every second of it. They obviously played the 7" and "New Morality" but beyond that I can't remember what the rest of the set was. They definitely played more than 5 songs that night. It wouldn't have mattered to me cuz those 5 would have been the only ones I would have heard at that time. The reunions they did a few years later were great, but did not compare to the energy at this show.

Better Than a Thousand were a great live band and a lot of fun on this night. It was cool seeing Ray in a more traditional hardcore band. I saw Shelter play a bunch of times, and while I liked them, they just didn't have the energy that BT1K or Youth of Today had. This is the type of band he really shines in.

All in all, solid show.

Monday, March 8, 2010

December 14th, 1997: Floorpunch, Ensign, RainOnTheParade, Fastbreak, StrengthOfReason, Bane, Rancor, ForTheLiving, Longshot @ 180 Club, Hagerstown, MD

To be honest, I have little recollection of this show. That's kinda sad. I remember being super stoked and having a hell of a lot of fun, I mean, what a line up, but I'm gonna need some help from my loyal readers on this one pertaining to details from the show.

Speaking of my terrible memory, I was discussing this blog and perusing some flyers I have with a friend of mine this weekend and he had so many great anecdotes and memories from a lot of them that I either wasn't aware of or had totally forgotten, so I strongly encourage all of you to add your stories and recollections to the comments section.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

November 21st, 1997: Vision, Hands Tied, OS101, Underneath, Pastime, Prisoner of Conscience @ UMBC Commuter Cafe

Here we have the flyer for the first show I ever booked. Since I was at a school with a population of less than 5 people that were even remotely into punk or hardcore, and I was without a car for the first chunk of my time there, it was a bit difficult for me to see many of my favorite bands of the time, since they generally played in DC. This was also pre-internet explosion, and while chat rooms and news groups did exist, the majority of show promotion was not via the internet, unlike today. That era was not too far off though. I was also now in a band that was looking for shows to play so I did what made the most sense to me, I started booking shows myself. I think I found out about the Commuter Cafe as a viable space for shows through John Waszak, who had booked a show in there with a bunch of Annapolis area bands the previous semester. In order to book any kind of event on campus, you had to do it through a legit SGA funded campus organization, so a bunch of us that were into all sorts of independent and underground music formed the Indie Rock Kids Club so we could all book shows on campus. We had a small budget which we used to cover PA rental and we did shows in the Commuter Cafe, the Ballroom, and in the lobby of the radio station. The university also made us hire campus security guards for the shows we did. They did not come cheap, but more on that later. United Kids Inc. was the name of the "production company" I gave myself, inspired by a title of a song off the debut CIV album. The "Inc." bit was a play on the whole corporate "punk" thing which had blown up around that time, but I would come to find people would take it seriously and thought I was this legit production company.

I remember talking to Dave from Vision about playing Baltimore sometime in the near future at a show they played in DC at the Capitol Ballroom. The line up was originally supposed to be something I was super excited about, but when we arrived we had come to find out that most of the good bands had cancelled and the show ended up being Vision, Train of Thought, and Circle of Violence. I have never been much of a fan of tough guy hardcore and watching a dude lumber around stage with a microphone in one hand and a monkey wrench in the other wasn't really my idea of what hardcore was about. I think I got Hands Tied's contact info from Dave as well and he also suggested having OS101 play the show. I think their Victory Records debut had just come out, and while I thought it was a bit corny, I thought it would be cool to book a band that was ex-Hogan's Heroes.

As this was the first time I ever booked a show, I had no ideas about things like guarantees or the hardcore scene in Baltimore or what turnouts might generally be like, so when Dave gave me an amount for Vision, I thought it seemed reasonable enough. I know I was super into Hands Tied at the time, but it's hard for me to say how many other people in the area were as well. Nevertheless, I thought the show would bring out at least 250 - 300 people, based on my experiences of going to shows with a line up like this in New Jersey a year or so earlier. About a week or so prior to the show Hands Tied cancelled due to someone in the band breaking their hand or finger. I can't remember which or who it was. I was really bummed as I was really looking forward to seeing them play. I think just over 100 people ended up coming out to the show, and while it was a pretty fun time, I was really nervous as the security budget for the show was gonna eat up almost half of what we made at the door and I didn't quite have half the money that I had promised to Vision. I explained the situation to Dave and he was totally cool about it. I was so relieved. He said he understood and they had a fun time and all was good. Shortly thereafter was when I learned of the concept of door deals, and, with a couple of exceptions, it's how I've booked shows ever since.

I made the flyer in my Introduction to Digital Art class, which was pretty much just working with Photoshop. My friend and neighbor at the time, Damon Pieri, drew the characters for me and I scanned them in, along with some of the band logos, and put it all together. I was pretty proud of it at the time. Damon was also the one who brought up the idea of telling people to bring canned goods and getting a donation together for Food Not Bombs, though at the time I don't think either of us had any idea who was doing Food Not Bombs in the Baltimore area at the time so we ended up giving everything we collected to Our Daily Bread. "Worm" was a nickname given to me my freshman year by some upperclassmen I had befriended who I'd go skating with at the Lansdowne Bowl. It was pre-Friday (the movie), and I was told it was because when they first met me they got the impression that I was a little conniving and weasel-like. Go figure. However, it stuck through most of my time at college and to this day there are still a few friends from back then that still use it. Amazing.

Friday, March 5, 2010

November 9th, 1997: Agnostic Front, Vision, Strong Intention, In My Eyes @ 180 Club, Hagerstown, MD

This show was amazing for me. I would finally get to see Agnostic Front play live. Holy shit. This was 1997 so it was before any of their "come back" albums on Epitaph, so it was all old stuff. I don't know if this show was part of a "reunion" tour or if it was a one-off after they had come back from a long break, but people were psyched and they were great. It was good finally getting to see Vision play to a bigger crowd as well. People were really into them at this show. Maybe I'm getting my 180 Club shows mixed up but I want to say Damnation played this show too. If anyone can confirm/deny that for me that would be great. I love how Strong Intention are billed above In My Eyes on this show. Sure, they'd been around longer, but even though their first full length wasn't out yet, people were pretty psyched on them. You could count on Strong Intention playing just about any 180 Club show you went to. The 180 Club probably held about 250 people or so and there was a good long stretch of time where it was the only venue in the area for bigger hardcore bands to play. These days it takes a damn good show to get me to drive an hour and a half, or at least a city full of good friends and good food (like Leatherface in Philly this weekend), but I remember a time when I was going out to Hagerstown, which lacked both, on a pretty regular basis where the drive almost seemed like nothing.

I must have started thinking about booking shows myself around this time as the back of this flyer has phone numbers for Mike Damnation, Anthony, Pete, and Neal from In My Eyes, and Adam from Strong Intention.

UPDATE: I got confirmation from a couple of Hagerstown expatriates that Damnation did indeed play this show. Thanks Justin and Aaron.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

November 1st, 1997: Underneath, Prisoner of Conscience, De Nada, Pastime @ 14115 Westholme Ct, Bowie, MD

This was the first show my first hardcore band ever played. I wanted it to sound like a mix of all the bands I was really into at the time, but it really just didn't sound that good at all. It was a pretty hodgepodge cast of characters, most of whom had already grown out of hardcore. The guitar player was really into Bad Brains (old and new), hip hop, and go-go, so his playing style had a bit of a groove element to it. He lives not too far from me these days and our circles of friends intersect a bit so I still see him around from time to time. The bass player was the first kid into any kind of punk or hardcore that I met when I started at UMBC. He took me to my first Baldwin Hall and 9:30 Club (the old one) shows. After college he headed west to fight forest fires and I believe that's what he's still doing. We've unfortunately lost touch over the years. The drummer pretty much had nothing to do with punk or hardcore but was up for anything, and just loved music, no matter what kind it was. He would end up being my roommate off and on for many years and I still see him around town from time to time as well. You'll only get to hear the demo if I ever break edge and get really drunk, so don't hold your breath.

We were a last minute addition to this show thanks to my friend John Waszak (Johnny X at the time), who sang for Prisoner of Conscience and I had met at UMBC. That's why the font for our name is different than the others. I was new to Photoshop and that was the closest I could get to Samhain lettering. I'm not sure who's house this show was at but I was psyched to get added cuz I was super into Underneath at the time. Members played in or went on to play in Longshot, No Justice, and Ampersand. Paul even got an offer to play drums for Hatebreed but he passed it up. The singer kind of dropped off the face of the earth after they broke up. No idea what he's up to these days. One of these days I'll get around to ripping that demo. This was my first time catching De Nada, and while they killed it, they were far from the machine of destruction they would become a couple years later.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

July 11th, 1997: Better Than a Thousand, Battery, Ten Yard Fight, Eyelid, Youngblood @ Fraternal Order of Eagles Hall, Fairless Hills, PA

A month later and another trip back home for the weekend so I can hit this show up. By this time all my friends from high school that I used to go to shows with had either moved away or grown out of hardcore so I went to this one by myself. (There was a pretty good crew of us from Hunterdon Central that would hit up shows every weekend and to this day I'm the only one that is still straightedge and I can count on one hand the number that are at all still somewhat involved in hardcore or punk.) Battery was one of my favorite bands at the time and even though I had been living 40 minutes from DC for a few years, I was without a car for most of that so this was my first time seeing them. This was also my first time getting to see the much-hyped Better Than a Thousand. I don't remember anything about Youngblood (any connection to the label of the same name?). Eyelid did nothing for me. If I remember correctly they were a precursor to Adamantium, and basically sounded like a less realized version of that band. Heavy music but nothing memorable or interesting about it. Ten Yard Fight was probably my least favorite of that late 90s crop of youth crew revival bands. I thought their demo was decent but I'd much rather listen to Floorpunch, In My Eyes, or Atari. I actually don't remember anything about their set from this show. Battery were fucking great. They had a totally different energy than a lot of hardcore bands of the time. They came off as a lot more intelligent and compassionate than most others and that was something I really gravitated towards. "Go Back to the Gym" and "The Factory" were highlights of their set for me. I picked up the navy blue shirt with the vertical stripes on the front and the DC flag and "where it all began" print on the back at this show. Most people seem to be more into the tour shirt but green/yellow were never my colors. Better Than a Thousand were pretty excellent at this show. The first album was out and everyone knew the words front to back. I do remember thinking Ray's choice of track pants as attire was a bit goofy. What can I say? I'm a jeans or cut-offs and a t-shirt kinda guy. If I remember correctly the pics used for the Value Driven layout were from this show. This was a great venue for a big hardcore show. Spacious, but not too big, with a nice sized stage. I feel like I remember a couple other shows getting booked here around the time but I can't remember if they actually happened or not.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

June 7th, 1997: Breakdown, Floorpunch, Ensign, 97A, Last Straw @ Princeton Arts Council, Princeton, New Jersey

This one was while my parents were still living in New Jersey. I can't remember why I went home to visit them this weekend, but it very well could have been to go to this show. This was the only show I attended at the Princeton Arts Council as they didn't start happening until after I had moved to Baltimore for college. I don't remember anything about Last Straw; I don't even know who was in the band or if they went on to do anything else. Might have gotten there late and not even seen them since I had no interest in seeing 97A either. At the time my only exposure to Breakdown would have been from the The Way It Is comp, and while "Sick People" is a great song, my main reason for attending this show was for Ensign and Floorpunch, two bands I was constantly listening to at the time. Two things I remember buying at this show were the Floorpunch Crew crew-style (the rowing sport) shirt and the Ink & Dagger - Drive This Seven Inch Wooden Stake Through My Philadelphia Heart CD. Big clothes were the thing at the time so I bought the shirt in an XL (I'm a skinny dude that now wears clothes that fit, t-shirts in a size small) and ended up selling it on eBay a few years ago for way less than I thought I'd get for it (it did have a small mayonnaise stain on it). Ink & Dagger is still one of my all time favorite bands to this day. I don't remember too much about the actual show. (You'll notice me saying "I don't remember..." quite a lot in this blog. I have the worst memory ever, so please feel free to comment on these stories and fill in the gaps for me.) I do remember complete mayhem during Floorpunch's set, and rightfully so. It's kind of interesting to look back and think about Breakdown's legendary status, even at that time, and how a few years later Jeff would move to Baltimore and become a pretty regular fixture at shows around here. Totally down to earth, classic, and hilarious guy. All in all, definitely a great show.

Monday, March 1, 2010

April 29th, 1997: Fugazi, Prisoner of Conscience, Top Notch @ UMBC Ballroom, Baltimore, MD

This was the 2nd time that Fugazi played at UMBC while I was there. The first time was with Slant 6 and Onespot Fringehead a year (maybe two) prior. The thing I remember about that first time was all the Bowie and Annapolis kids yelling for Minor Threat songs and getting yelled at by Ian. A stern "NO!" was all it took. My two memories from this show were:
1) meeting John Frank cuz he was wearing the shirt of a band that played DC the night before but I missed cuz I couldn't get a ride to the show. I wanna say it was either Snapcase or Vision of Disorder. John might remember.
2) working the door and Ian bringing out their three or four leftover vegan pizzas to share with the staff and hanging out and chilling with everyone.
I wanna say it was George from P.O.C. that set this show up. I remember him being a big Go Go fan, hence the addition of Top Notch to the show. This was also the last time I saw Fugazi as I had to miss their Baltimore show with Lungfish and their final Fort Reno show for various, albeit probably worthless, reasons.