One of the last things we heard from the stage at last year's Dr. Know Benefit Show in NYC'S Tompkins Square Park was a plea to help clean up the park of litter and trash left behind from the show because they (Drew Stone/BNB Productions) were working on putting together another show for 2017 and wanted to have a squeaky clean record of sorts when they applied for another show permit. Last year's show was one for the ages because of WHO was playing, WHY they were playing and WHERE they were playing. While many left last year's show in a mass exodus after Breakdowns set there were some who stuck around to pick up the bottles and trash that was left behind. Who knew that at that time that about 14 months later another "one for the ages" NYHC show would come rolling through this same park which has rightfully been referred to as the mecca, the ground zero and the home base of NYHC.
Ray "Raybeez" Barbieri was the heart and soul of the band Warzone and was a bigger than life personality in a scene filled with big personalities. Ray passed on September 11th, 1997 and this tribute show was thrown for and by the members of the NYHC scene who will simply not let his memory fade away into the New York City night. A once small movement that had numbers only in the double digits now has visitors flying in from as far away as Russia to catch special events like the one put on here on October 1st, 2017.
REGULATE: PHOTO BY: RICH ZOELLER
Leading things off were young bucks REGULATE who hail from Long Island and the Jersey shore. They took the stage promptly at 2pm as was advertised and ripped into a new one titled "11:13" which they mentioned is off a new LP they are currently working on. From there they dove into the intro from their "Years Of Rage" EP titled "Regulate ll" and then straight into "Zero Tolerance" off of that same EP which came out about 2 years back. For anyone out there scratching their heads trying to figure out who the hell Regulate is... think "the future". Their sound and style checks in with that 1990's hardcore vibe and to a man I would bet that Regulate probably can all agree that Outburst and District 9 are the shit. Performing with a bit of a swagger, led by their frontman Sebastian and guitarist Mike Botti, they showed that they belong here and should be in the conversation when discussing who is up next. Their last release was great and the new ones they played at this show sound like they could be even better. It came as no surprise that the crowd ate up their previously released stuff and kind of used the new ones to catch their breath. Their set which clocked in at a little over 20 minutes was not too long, not too short, and in the long run hopefully picked them up some new fans along the way. Want to find out more about Regulate? HERE is a good place to start...
SHUTDOWN: PHOTO BY: JC PHOTO MEDIA
About 20 minutes later SHUTDOWN took to the stage for the first time since a 2010 set at Manhattan's Bowery Electric. With their singer Mark Scondotto now living in southern Florida and the rest of the members of Shutdown involved with The Last Stand it was really cool to catch up with a band from the past who had a direct connection with the man we were here today to remember. Within their 7 year or so initial run Shutdown packed a lot of history into that time including releases on Victory Records when it was still a good thing to be on Victory Records, and tons of touring within the US, Europe, and Japan. "Few And Far Between" opened their set which included Mark's brother Mike (of Inhuman and The Last Stand) joining him to belt out the vocals. Before playing the track "Decide" Mark told an old story about giving Raybeez a Shutdown demo along with his phone number... (while also pointing out that there were no cell phones back then)... while at home 2 weeks later Mark's mother tells him that a guy named Raybeez was on the phone and when Mark picked up Ray asked him if Shutdown was ready to play some shows alongside Warzone and the Business and things took off for them from there as Warzone and Shutdown became close. A good recollection that I hope was not missed by most as similar stories have been echoed by other bands who were rising up the ranks and then helped along by Ray. As Shutdown was playing it was almost impossible to miss about 5 or 6 kids in the 4 to 10 years of age range all wearing white shirts; most of which were Shutdown shirts. This kids crew turned out to be the children of the Shutdown members and was probably the cutest thing you're ever gonna run into at a hardcore show. Along the way Shutdown played old tracks like "United", "Hope" off an old split with Indecision, "Now More Than Ever", "No Compromise" and "We Won't Forget" with Sick Of It All's Craig Setari joining in on vocals just like he did on their 1998 release "Against All Odds". Shutdown brought a short, energetic set along with some whispers afterwards that there could be more to come. Before their set we caught up with Shutdown and did a short 5 minute video interview which you can check out HERE.
SHUTDOWN: PHOTO BY: JC PHOTO MEDIA
FIREBURN: PHOTO BY: JC PHOTO MEDIA
After some recent California dates to start off their touring history FIREBURN rolled into town bringing with them a ton of buzz. Their brand-new EP "Don't Stop The Youth" contains 4 songs that should set any old-school NYHC fan and especially Bad Brains fans into a frenzy. Fronted by Israel Joseph I who sang on the 1993 Bad Brains album "Rise" and complimented by Todd Youth (Warzone, Murphy's Law), Todd Jones (Nails), and Nick Townsend (Deadbeat, Knife Fight) they bring both pedigree and a refreshing sound to the table. They came out to "Break It Down" and continued on to play the remaining 3 other tracks off their new EP including "Jah Jah Children" with its undoubtedly "Rally Round Jah Throne" Bad Brains/reggae feel. This jam type tune sounded incredible in the outdoor setting and probably had some of the Tompkins Square Park residents and locals peeking up towards the stage to wonder what happened to all the kill your mother music that had been coming from the stage for the past 2 hours. Amazing song, great vibe. With all 4 songs from their EP played I was curious as to how Fireburn would fill out the rest of their set and what came next was awesome as they did a cover of "Breakaway" by Straight Ahead. Tommy Carroll, singer of the now long defunct Straight Ahead was in attendance and may have been expected to sing his vocal parts on this track as he popped up on stage waving his hands just as the song was winding down. A nice job here of a rarely covered song. "Controller" which is not on their new EP was another new track they played that followed in the footsteps of their recorded material with a heavy Bad Brains influence. From there it was another cover; this time Antidote's "Something Must Be Done" which included a guest appearance by Drew Stone of Antidote. One more newer one that I didn't catch the title to closed out their set which went beyond my high expectations. Fireburn is for real, live up to the hype surrounding them and are one of the best things to happen to hardcore in a lonnnnng time. Click HERE to check out their new EP.
FIREBURN: PHOTO BY: KEN BUGLIONE
KILL YOUR IDOLS: PHOTO BY: RICH ZOELLER
Kill Your Idols followed and as said in the past on this site they have one of the most loyal fan bases out there of any hardcore band that I can remember. Their lyrics and music mean so much to so many and sometimes watching the crowd go off and sing along to their songs is just as entertaining as watching them blast out their great catalog of songs. KYI kicked things off and ended with two of their best with "Falling" on the front end and "Can't Take It Away From Me" on the back end. In between were covers by the Bad Brains, Negative Approach and Slapshot along with a slew of their originals in a set that far outweighed the other opening bands at about 40 minutes. Frontman Andrew West praised Ray and Warzone at times during their set and also made light of gentrification and how the area surrounding Tompkins Square Park has changed from the days of old by adding something along the lines of "this is a neighborhood many didn't want to be in... now it's a neighborhood I wouldn't want to be in". KYI were machine like knocking out what had to be close to 20 songs and had the crowd with them from start to finish.
KILL YOUR IDOLS: PHOTO BY: JC PHOTO MEDIA
WALTER SCHREIFELS: PHOTO BY: KEN BUGLIONE
The blue print for this show was originally formulated back in 2012 as the last Warzone lineup of Jason Lehrhoff (guitar), Todd Hamilton (bass), and Vinnie "Value" (drums), got back together and were joined by OG Warzone guitarist Todd "Youth" at that years Black N Blue Bowl to mark the 15th anniversary of Ray's passing. On that day they were joined by an all-star lineup of guest singers, all of whom had ties to Ray and on this day in 2017 some of those old faces returned again while new ones were added.
With Quicksand in town on the last night of their US tour things started off with a bit of a surprise as Walter Schreifels came out on stage solo to perform "Open Letter" which is an acoustic song about Ray which I initially found on a compilation from 2008 called "Music For People Like Us". This calm acoustic song gave off this moment of silence type of feel and was a pretty cool way to start things off. Walter got a nice round of applause when he was done and soon after the Warzone guys busted into "Intro Bust" which is one of those prolonged old-school type intros that usually gets the crowd jumping as it did here.
LOU KOLLER/ RAYBEEZ TRIBUTE: PHOTO BY: RICH ZOELLER
"It's Your Choice" was up next and there was no wasted time in flexing the star power they had lined up as Sick Of It All's Lou Koller was summoned for microphone duties in what turned out to be the ultimate mash-up merging SOIA with Warzone and an amazing job was turned in by Mr. Koller who was one of the best guests of the afternoon. Next up was long time NYHC scenester Rat Bones hitting up "Crazy But Not Insane". Bones had the lyrics on lockdown but was way ahead of the music on his delivery as the band tried slowing down to get everyone on track. Rat Bones would make up for this a few minutes later knocking out "Judgement Day" without a hitch.
ANTHONY COMUNALE/RAYBEEZ TRIBUTE: PHOTO BY: RICH ZOELLER
After "Crazy But Not Insane" was "Fuck Your Attitude" sung by Killing Time's Anthony Communale followed by District 9's Puerto Rican Myke doing "Escape From Your Society". Todd Youth on guitar also served as the MC here introducing each guest and along the way he had a little story to introduce each person as they came up. Tommy Rat who was the original singer for Warzone followed and got to do "Take A Stand" which was part of the classic "Lower East Side Crew" 7" which came out in 1987. Tommy who has to be well into his 50's now still can reach back to show he has those frontman powers from way back in the day which he would later go on to showcase in bands like Trip 6 and Rejuvenate. Tommy is a true NYHC lifer who probably doesn’t get the credit that he deserves and it was great to see him get the spotlight here for a few minutes.
GETTIN' BUSY IN NYC: PHOTO BY: RICH ZOELLER
RAT BONES/RAYBEEZ TRIBUTE: PHOTO BY: JC PHOTO MEDIA
"Judgement Day" with Rat Bones was next followed by Shutdown's Mark Scondotto doing "Wound Up". Bob Riley of Stigmata followed doing "The Real Enemy" with its mid-paced Oi! feel and choppy drum beat. Bob slipped or got knocked into the crowd towards the end of this song where he was absolutely mobbed for the microphone as the song faded out.
FREDDY MADBALL/RAYBEEZ TRIBUTE: PHOTO BY: JC PHOTO MEDIA
"Don't Forget The Struggle, Don't Forget The Streets" was up next and was done with Freddy Madball on vocals. Before the song started Freddy told the crowd how he had first met Ray when he was just 7 years old and then points to the spot saying "right over there". The PA then had Ray's voice piped in from that album of the same name where he yells "In Our Minds And In Our Hearts, We Feel That Hardcore Music Should Stay Out Of Big Business And Stay In The Streets Where It Belongs... All You Kids, Always Keep The Faith". This was always one of Warzone's most popular tracks so no surprise here that it was one of the days highlights. Craig Setari from Sick Of It All (and Straight Ahead) and Tommy Carroll (Straight Ahead) came up next to do "Skinhead Youth" with Setari doing his part and Carroll struggling with his timing. Todd Jones who performed earlier with Fireburn did his take on "Bullshit Authority" with some real gruff/metal style vocals which couldn't have been any further off from the original. Before this Todd spoke about growing up in Oxnard, CA and how Warzone influenced him while getting into hardcore music. Todd's words here made me think about Warzone's reach as a band and how being a fan of underground music in the pre-internet days was a totally different animal than it is today making those "From the East Coast to the West Coast, Inside Myself I could hear the screams" lyrics even more powerful some 3 decades after they were written.
DEAN MILLER NRSV/RAYBEEZ TRIBUTE: PHOTO BY: JC PHOTO MEDIA
Much like Shutdown who performed earlier No Redeeming Social Value was a band that was extremely close with Warzone and were taken under the wing sort of speak. The co-leadmen (Dean Miller & Mike Dixon) from NRSV were next with "The Sound Of Revolution", which is one of those later Victory era tracks that may have been overlooked by some when it was initially released and is just a great anthem type song. Mike Scondotto (Inhuman, The Last Stand) followed with "In The Mirror", and then it was back to Lou Koller along with Gorilla Biscuits’ Civ to wind it all down with "As One" which was one of the best received songs of the day. Just when we thought it was all over the band broke into 7 Seconds’ “Young Till I Die” which was a popular Warzone cover song. For this track the stage got totally mobbed as the majority of the singers that performed earlier came back up along with a big chunk of the crowd all to sing along and wrap this show up for good. Another amazing day in the park was over with talk of even more of these types of shows in the future.
CIV/RAYBEEZ TRIBUTE: PHOTO BY: JC PHOTO MEDIA
Some quick takes from this show that do not pertain to the actual performances but which are still worth noting are… 1: DJ’s, Frank Molina and Howie Abrams provided the background noise for this event and did an awesome job of capturing that NY feel by playing a great mix that ranged from hip-hop to Nausea. 2: Fights, there were none. 3: The crowd… was it bigger than last year’s? Quite possibly. There was room to move around earlier in the day for the opening bands but when the Raybeez tribute set started it was pretty much shoulder to shoulder unless you wanted to be on the outskirts of a sea of people. 4: Video… The best in the biz… Hate5Six was there and captured the full set which you can check out HERE.
It must also be noted that the band that made up Warzone on this day was razor sharp and sounded amazing. The band in whole practiced twice leading up to the show and my guess would be that some or all of the guest singers were just grabbing the mic and going for it and overall did a nice job. OK BNB, you knocked this one out of the park, what do you have for us next year??? Bring on 2018!