Why couldn't this have been on a Friday? Thursday night is tough on me since I have to go to work early in the morning and to go out on a work night is a tough decision. But this was one of the biggest hardcore shows to play in town in a long time. D.S. 13 from Sweden was in town and fellow Razorcaker, Matt Average, who sings for Reagan SS was also playing. So the decision was made and I called my brother if he wanted to ride along since I hadn't been to The Smell.
Upon arrival, the place already looked like it was going to be crowded. People were all over the parking lot and alleyway in front of the club. I bumped into many friends and hung awhile with fellow Razorcakers Todd Taylor and Sean. My brother was among his kind and disappeared among the masses. The show start time was 8 p.m.
At about 9:15 we were told that Reagan SS was about to play. We proceeded into the club and felt the heat and the smell of sweat starting to permeate the venue. I found my brother at the side of the stage and decided that was better than the front to try and shoot pictures. Matt is one intense motherfucker. From the opening note, his face tightened and his eyes started bugging out. He screamed and yelled like a fricken' lunatic and flew around the tiny stage. The crowd reacted and it was a mass sea of bodies ready to start the night. They flew through their set and it ended as fast as it started. They have a new split out with John Brown's Army out on Gloom Records.
Next was Lifes Halt. I have their split with What Happens Next? But that was put to shame compared to their live set. I took my place at the side of the stage and was pummeled over by the energy of their set and by people coming on stage. The crowd was totally into it and sang along like it was their own. They blew through an array of songs that went by so fast I had wished they had doubled their set list for the night. I was talking with Jean Luc from Headline Records after their set and we both agreed that they can express the aggression without being negative and make it fun. Fun was had by all comers.
The Aborted from Orange County had to perform after and could not overcome technical difficulties. The guitar amp was blown so they had to play real low. I walked out of the club as many others did to get some air and cool down. Too bad for those guys because their songs did sound good but had no energy due to low amplification.
Needing an energy boost to excite the crowd again, Lack of Interest took the stage. From the first strum of the guitar, the bodies start pouring onto the stage and onto each other. I fight through the crowd to get back to my position but the crowd is reaching max capacity. I made it back to my perch and proceeded to witness another episode of beautiful chaos before my eyes. The support from the crowd intensified the band. Watching the crowd sing along while throwing fists in the air put chills down my spine. Song after song, the crowd and band was one. After their set, the crowd chanted for five minutes for more, but the band wanted to make sure everybody got a chance to see D.S. 13 and tore down their equipment.
D.S. 13 needed a great set to top the previous bands sets. They were up for the task and dominated. The room was so full that I had to stand on a cinder block positioned side ways to gain height on the side of the stage just to see. Mayhem erupted as they played. The microphone kept getting ripped out of the singer's hand continuously through their set. People jumped on and off the stage singing along. At one point, the bass player asked the crowd to get off the stage because there was no room to move around. Covers of Raw Power and the Germs were played. Before the last two songs of the set, a guitar string was broken from the abuse. A replacement guitar was requested and was brought through the crowd. The energy needed to be continued or would be lost. The guitar was tuned quickly and ready to go, and the band finished the set with abundant fanfare. It was one fine night that brought back many memories of great gigs in the past. My shirt completely soaked, my brother and I proceeded to go home. I knew that I was not going to get much sleep and have a shitty day at work. But it was well worth it.