Toxic Narcotic, Two Man Advantage, Daycare Swindlers, MIP: Live at Tremont Music Hall, Charlotte, NC, 11/05/2002 By Chris

Dec 13, 2002

It was election day and had been pouring down rain since noon. Fortunately for me, I had voted early which meant that after getting off work I wouldn't have to rush to get to this early show. The show started even earlier than I expected as MIP (Masturbating In Public) was already on when I arrived. I was told by my friend and show organizer Buck Boswell ( that I'd only missed a few songs. MIP are friends of mine from a town about three hours away. We used to play with them frequently but due to lack of a reliable venue there, it's been a while since I've seen them. At this show they completely blew me away. It made me wish I could afford to put out something by them on my shoestring record label. I've always thought of them as being heavily influenced by early Brit punk, but at this show they did a great and unexpected cover of Operation Ivy's "Energy."

The audience at this show peaked at around forty to fifty people. This show drew the spiked-hair and mohawk-having, leather-jacket-wearing, drunk punk crowd. In other words, most of my friends were there! The second band was Daycare Swindlers who I had never heard live or recorded. They were blazing with energy, and the audience responded as well. I remember thinking, "I can't believe I'm having this much fun on a Tuesday night." The singer asked twice if anyone had any drugs that they'd be willing to share after the show, particularly crystal meth. I wasn't sure if he was serious or not, but he was wearing a GG Allin shirt.

Before Two Man Advantage went on, I was curious about the election results so I called my mother, who I knew would be at home watching. "It looks like Bush is going to get his way," she said bitterly.

I had seen Two Man Advantage in the summer of 2001 play an amazing show to twenty delighted punks in a tiny coffeehouse. At this show they were even better with a bigger stage and crowd to help them along. If you don't know anything about them, they could best be described as a band with a hockey theme, wearing the masks and outfits you'd expect a hockey team to wear. You don't have to know or care anything about hockey to appreciate them. Their raging brand of hardcore is totally infectious.

With each successive band, the pit grew more intense. Usually at smaller shows in our town, the pits aren't always this active for quite so long, but this night was an exception. During Two Man's set, a kid who I know took a nasty fall. After the band finished playing, several of us tried to convince the kid to go to a hospital. His arm appeared broken, but he refused. I heard later that he went and it was broken.

Early on in Toxic Narcotic's set I looked back and saw a kid I didn't know off to the side of the pit doubled over in pain and looking up at me. I went over to check on him and make sure he was okay. (He was.) I mention this only because once people started getting hurt, the spell was broken for me (and people wonder why I keep my middle-aged bones out of the pit). It was hard for me to get back in fun show mode as Toxic Narcotic went through their set. They sounded like traditional Boston hardcore, which is not a bad thing at all. The crowd was still going crazy all the while.

Speaking of people getting hurt the next day, the TV news and papers were full of talk about the voters giving Bush a "mandate" by electing and re-electing so many Republicans. Don't get the idea that I'm some kind of stalwart Democrat, okay? Lots of punks think that Republican administrations are so repressive that it causes the punk scene to revitalize itself. I never bought into that thinking. I remember being seventeen in 1980 watching TV when Democratic president Jimmy Carter reintroduced draft registration. I picked up a mostly full Kleenex box and hurled it at the family TV set. Punk can and does revitalize itself no matter who's doing the repressing.