“DOING IT FOR DAVE” DAVE FRANKLIN TRIBUTE SHOW SUNDAY APRIL 2, 2017
@ASBURY PARK CONVENTION CENTER, ASBURY PARK, NJ
WORDS BY: CORE JUNKIE. PHOTOS BY: RICH ZOELLER & ANNE SPINA
It had been a minute Isince I was last in Asbury Park. Over the years I had seen many good shows there and have many awesome memories as a result. I could think of no better reason to head there once again than to pay my respects to a fallen brother. A guy universally respected, admired, and adored by the scene by the name of Dave Franklin, singer of Vision. I won't pretend to have been close with Dave. I spoke with him a handful of times over the years, the last time being when my friend’s bands from the DC area (Striking Distance, Count Me Out) played with Vision in a gymnasium in Montclair, NJ. I had just relocated to NJ from DC and Dave saw a sticker on my car from Bridgewater Volvo, and we struck up a conversation as he told me that he was from Bridgewater and proceeded to make me laugh my ass off for the next twenty minutes. This seemed to be par for the course for Dave as that fact stood out from my too few and infrequent interactions with him. He was a gregarious guy who could hold court and everyone would hang on his every word. He was a born entertainer. I am just 5 months older than Dave was when he tragically passed away. Our scene lost one of its jewels, one of its best voices, one of its nicest guys, one of our brothers. That day in Montclair there were maybe forty of us in total who weren't in the bands. There were many kids I was probably 25-30 years older than. Dave's appeal was broad. There were 40 year olds shouting alongside 14 year olds, but the one shouting loudest and best was Dave Franklin. It never mattered if there were 5 kids or 500, over the years I never saw him half ass it. I think they played for an hour that day. I filmed it and it's on my Core Junkie TV You Tube channel for those inclined. He and his music meant a helluva lot to a helluva lot of us which was evident by the crowd and the love felt therein on this April afternoon in Asbury Park.
SEARCH. PHOTO BY: ANNE SPINA
I got to the show and entered the hall just in time to hear the final note by SEARCH. Perfect timing for me. However, that timing caused me to miss DAMAGE DONE and POINT BLANK who I would've like to have seen. I immediately bee-lined for the Release/Resurrection merch table to replace my long gone Release shirts I gave away seemingly a lifetime ago. The table was helmed by photography wiz and all around hardcore OG and nice guy Robbie Redcheeks. I suddenly found myself sandwiched between two of my Virginia brothers, the Dave Browns (Richmond and VA. Beach). One name, two very cool gentlemen. Also present was OG SXE guitarist and Up Front member.... and super nice guy, Jon Field, now of Richmond as well… Always cool to see those guys. From this locale I watched one of Jersey's most underrated and underappreciated bands, ENSIGN, take the stage. They banged through their set as tight as ever, and it was great to see Nate up their doing his thing again. Now you may have heard Nate had a rough evening after this set, so keep him in your thoughts. He is as tough as leather and I am sure I will see him back on stage in short order.
ENSIGN. PHOTO BY: ANNE SPINA
After Ensign finished, I got my merch on and headed to a quality vantage point to watch the split RELEASE
& RESURRECTION set. Rob Fish fronted both bands and is one of the most well spoken guys in the scene. He always has something poignant to say. I was a big fan of Release but never really went for Resurrection but they played a handful of songs from both bands, Release first. I enjoyed the reminiscing immensely. The crowd seemed more amped on Resurrection as they had developed a reputation and following in their short run and most of the Release generation is long gone at this point.
SUPERTOUCH. PHOTO BY: ANNE SPINA
Next up was SUPERTOUCH. Mark Ryan said some nice things and then the band banged out most of its hits. Supertouch is a band that is best seen in a small intimate venue. They have a complex sound that can be subtle and can get lost in a cavernous hall like the convention center. However they were tight and really good, and the only thing I think I missed was "Climbing Aboard". I wish they played it, but they played everything else I wanted to hear and that should be good enough.
BOLD. PHOTO BY: RICH ZOELLER
Matt Warnke and BOLD took the stage next. Again some nice words were spoken about Dave, and Bold proceeded to launch into a great set with later songs and “Speak Out” songs mixed in. The nostalgia was flooding in and I felt like a teen again seeing all these bands, with the exception that they are all way more refined nowadays. They have all matured and the music is better for it.
I had to pop a squirt and grab a bite so I missed most of EX-NUMBER FIVE. I know absolutely nothing about the band so I figured it was as good a time as any. I returned to catch the last tune and kinda kicked myself because I liked what I heard, but hey... a fat guy gotta get his eat on.
DAVE SMALLEY then proceeded to take control of the stage and captivate the crowd. This guy is a master showman. The set was amazing and a real highlight of the night for me and to be honest I almost skipped it, but am damn glad I did not. Thanks to one of those Dave Brown's for peaking my interest and causing me to want to check it out. Mr. Smalley is a great speaker and an amazing singer. He said some great stuff and rocked the house.
I took a seat in the stands and watched SHADES APART. This is another band I never really crossed paths with. I knew little about them. They played a solid set though which made me want to kick my younger self for dismissing the band back in the day. I was more intolerant of varying branches of the hardcore tree when I was young and dumb. I have actually gotten some of their music since this show and like it a lot. So take that young me, you close minded ass-wipe.
Next up we had a cover set of hardcore hits by members of LIFETIME and BOUNCING SOULS. This set really didn't do it for me. I was never big on either of those bands, but people love them and the crowd responded in kind. Of course they had nice things to say about Dave and they are New Jersey stalwarts so it was important for them to represent. I am glad they did even though I wasn't that into it. Who the fuck am I anyways? The show wasn't about me.
MAXIMUM PENALTY. PHOTO BY: ANNE SPINA
At this point in the show, NYHC pretty much took over. They had already had solid representation but the next 8 or 9 bands are the bands many of us cut our teeth on. The first up was MAXIMUM PENALTY. MP's ‘89 Demo is one of my favorite pieces of NYHC music history. I love that demo. Over the years the band has developed a more soulful sound led by the vocal stylings of Jimmy Williams who has some sweet pipes. MP covered a range of their catalog including the NYHC "Where The Wild Things Are" comp tracks and several from the demo. They even busted out "Could You Love Me' which is a fantastic song that they said they don't play much anymore. Overall a very solid set and reaction.
SHEER TERROR. PHOTO BY: ANNE SPINA
The man, the myth, the cantankerous old fuck, The Rev. Paul Bearer and his band SHEER TERROR were up next. The Rev started by looking at the ever present picture of Dave Franklin on the screen behind him and chastising Dave by saying, "Look at this you handsome bastard, this is for you, the biggest crowd you ever got and you're not here to see it"... in true Reverend form. Of course it was all about love, and the crowd loved it too. Sheer Terror played a set of their hits...as if any of their songs aren't great. They even capped the set off with their cover of "Boys Don't Cry" by the Cure. Now, at one point Paul made a speech about Dave. It was absolutely beautiful and heartfelt. The big angry gorilla ripped open his chest and placed his heart directly on his sleeve. He got choked up and wound up in an embrace with someone who I think was Dave's brother. In the interest of full disclosure and truth in reporting, I was too busy wiping my eyes and crying like a child to see who it was. In fairness to me so were MANY others. Honestly the most wonderful moment of the show, showing that beneath the gruff exterior and insult LPs, beats the heart of a guy who I am sure is adored and loved and valued dearly by his friends.
MURPHY'S LAW. PHOTO BY: RICH ZOELLER
MURPHY’S LAW came up next. They have always been one of my favorites and I think I've seen them over 20 times now. It's always a fun time without a doubt. A lot of sax and several extended mixes of the hits are par for the course nowadays. This trip Jimmy invited a young lady on stage with a fiddle. So you got horns, fiddles, “Cavity Creeps”, Jimmy, band members...it's a show man. Jimmy fired up the crowd with Dave Franklin chants and kept reminding us why we were there. Jimmy was in the crowd a lot. He really is the most likable guy in hardcore and one of its top front men. I mean I watched every second of it with joy, even though my opinion is that it was a hot mess. I'd love to see him strip it back down and do a straight hardcore set, but again, this day was about love and celebrating Dave, and Murphy's Law accomplished that beyond a shadow of a doubt.
LEEWAY. PHOTO BY: RICH ZOELLER
Holy shit, next up was LEEWAY. Fuck man, I haven't seen them since BB Kings in what '04?, but they ruled hard. People went off, and many people I spoke with cited them as the best set of the night. I won't rank all these awesome people doing this benefit, but suffice it to say they were a definite major highlight of the evening. This maniac Eddie thinks he's sixteen years old. God bless him, he's climbing the stacks jumping around, and straight firing up the crowd. His voice is strong as ever and the band was tight and they played everything I needed to hear. If I was closer to the pit I woulda been losing it, but alas, I was sitting down, alone, in the stands, and the pit, she was just too far away.
BREAKDOWN. PHOTO BY: RICH ZOELLER
BREAKDOWN hit the stage next. What is there not to like about Breakdown? Their songs are all classic NYHC hits. Jeff is an amazing front man, and one of the funniest. They ran through them all and the crowd moshed along. The band is tighter than ever and Jeff is half the man he used to be and now moves around more and owns the stage. Another highlight of the evening for me.
BURN. PHOTO BY: RICH ZOELLER
The Breakdown boys took a breather for a set to swap Jeff with Anthony and re-emerge as Killing Time, while BURN ran through a set of tunes that many reported to be another of their favorite sets of the night. I am of the school where when they play the OG 7" songs I am locked and loaded. I am 100% focused and singing along. Those are some classic jams. However, when they rock the new stuff, I kind of zone out. Just being honest, not that it matters as I am WAY in the minority on this as evidenced by the crowd's reaction. They sounded great and Chaka moves like someone 1/3 his age. Gavin is just a beast with one hell of a stage presence.
The boys came back out with Anthony in tow as KILLING TIME tore through their hits too. Like Breakdown these guys have those magic tunes we all know all the words to. Well, Ant forgot the words to “Happy Hour”, so that was scrapped, but as usual he made me laugh. He is another of the great NYHC front men. The band has been sounding great lately, as I have seen them 3 or 4 times in the past year. This night was no exception. Drago is killing it, Carl is killing it, Rich is killing it...they are all on point.
Mark Ryan came up and fronted AGNOSTIC FRONT as the special guests of the evening. They jammed that shit “United Blood” style with some other jams like "Crucified" thrown in. It was sort of a mess, and Mark was kind of swamped by the music, but it was exciting and neat to behold. Stigma is an enigma (poetry) and will always remain one of the coolest NYHC characters out there.....mom's meatballs and all. I love that guy. It was quick and it was cool.
AGNOSTIC FRONT. PHOTO BY: RICH ZOELLER
H20 were up next and played for what seemed like an eternity. I am not this bands target audience.
The show wrapped up with an all-star tribute to Dave's music featuring different singers covering his tunes with VISION backing them. I made it to Mike Judge doing “Warriors”, which I thought was odd, and I had to check out. It was really late and I had a long ride home. At this point I felt like an interloper intruding on a family moment, so I thought it okay to bolt.
Overall it was a great show. A very long....long....but great show. The love was flowing and I am certain Dave was smiling down on it and loving each and every minute. It was most assuredly a proper send off for one of our own. It was a beautiful thing. I want to make sure that if you read this, you know that every band said wonderful things about Dave even if I did not mention it when writing the little blurb about their set. Everyone was gracious and the love was flowing.
Rest in power and peace Dave Franklin. You made quite an impact for a kid from Jersey with his little punk band. You touched so very many people, all around the globe. I am sure of one thing after this outpouring… I came away from this show wishing I had known you better. You seemed like the type of guy that added value to the lucky people who had you in their life and still have you in their hearts. We will see you again when we get our tickets to that next show.
VISION. PHOTO BY: RICH ZOELLER
For more from the contributors to this article go to:
Core Junkie’s You Tube page for videos from this show.