Saturday, July 7, 2012

Show Review: CBGB Fest 7-6-12 Complete with Stabbing

7-6-12 Webster Hall NYC
Sick Of It All, Cro-Mag's, V.O.D, Absolution, Si Nam

It started out like most hardcore shows, if a bit earlier to meet Webster Hall’s curfew, and ended in bizarre fashion.  CBGB Festival organizers are trying to bring back the spirit of a bygone era and club that combined all sorts of musical styles; well the hardcore musical style got in the spirit on Friday bringing back it’s dangerous roots.

Si Nam started off the evening with it’s mid tempo hardcore and Absolution was adequate if out of tune for their short outing, but the majority in attendance were there for the last few bands only 1 of which got to play.  Long Island's V.O.D put forth a low end drenched set with stomps and breakdowns behind lead singer Tim Williams caterwuling style, set closer “D.T.O” being the highlight.

Barring some technical difficulties with the guitar amps most in the crowd were pleased but saving their energy to see two legends of the scene due up next the Cro-Mag’s and Sick Of It All.

Harley Flanagan had other ideas. The ex-bass player and one of the founding members of the Cro-Mags has had a long running feud with lead singer John Joseph and anyone who happens to be playing in the band without him.  In 2010 Flanagan posted on his facebook page:
Fuck the fake cromags ill choke the hairplugs out of John anyday” and “5 minutes you coward ,just 5 minutes to settle our differences you chump, we used to be friends and you been lying about me for years and you know it”.

Harley had recently posted more threats on his page with a focus on tonight's show, when he arrived fans outside the venue noticed him acting irrational.  He proceeded to enter the show and busted through the VIP area into backstage.  Fans scattered and security intervened but before things were settled Flanagan’s leg was broken, he had slashed William Berario across his face and stabbed current Cro-Mag’s bass player Michael Couls (known as “The Gook” in the scene) in the chest.  There were other injuries as people were caught up in the melee, and the crowd on the floor level were confused as gear started to be packed up from the stage.
Harley Flanagan
With the house lights on police arrested Flanagan wheeling him out in handcuffs to a smattering of boos, he is charged with two counts of  2nd Degree Assault and a weapons charge.  Joseph took to the stage saying “Blame Harley, we have to cancel the show, real tough guy, but please respect the club as you leave, and the police...they have the guns”.
After promising to redo the show at a later date Joseph left the stage, and what was a potentially dangerous situation (95+ degree heat, drunk fans, cut short show that some had just paid to walk into) was handled professionally by all as hardcore kids mingled with club goers on 11th street.

Reactions varied as one attendee stated “This is why we can’t put on hardcore shows in this city anymore” but another took a difference stance stating, “About time Harley backed up his words”.  Catching up with John Joseph as he left he talked about being pissed off the bands couldn’t play and how charges would be pressed on Harley, adding just another chapter to the ongoing feud.
John Joseph
On this night with eyes looking back to past glory days of a defunct club chaos reigned, disappointment loomed large, but luckily no one was killed...Come to think of it, this did feel like old times at the dirty CBGB’s.   

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