TSOL, Agnostic Front, The Casualties, Litmus Green: live at the Palace 2/23/02 By Donofthedead

Feb 25, 2002

I have to admit that I probably wouldn't have gone to this show if I had to pay. That would have been a major fuck up on my part. This was one of the best shows I have seen in a long time. My wife didn't feel like going at the last minute so I recruited my long-time gig buddy Matt to go with me. He and I have been going to shows for the better part of 20+ years. I knew he would appreciate this gig since TSOL and Agnostic Front are two bands we saw back in the '80s.

First off was Litmus Green. My partner in crime and I both agreed that they had the "old school" feeling that both of us hasn't heard in a long time. The young crowd was very receptive of their shenanigans. They were snotty, three chord angst that reminded me of Stukas Over Bedrock. Am I dating myself? Nasty in their demeanor, the singer brought out different props to accent each theme he was spilling his snot out on. They baited the crowd with free merchandise to keep their attention span on them. Kids are easily sold nowadays. But I was sold also, so I need to check out their product. A short set, but they came off without a hitch and energized the crowd for more to come.

Next up were The Casualties. By looking at the crowd, half the audience was there for this band. Kids with their hair spiked up to the air. One out of every five kids had either a patch, t-shirt or button on to represent. The Casualties had half the audience in the palm of their hands. I have never purchased or listened to any output from this band. As an old guy, I figured these guys as Exploited rip-offs, but something about seeing a band live can change your attitude real quick. As soon as they hit the stage, the energy level went up ten-fold. The pit rotated out of control and people all around me were singing if their lives depended on it. There was one girl that was standing next to me screaming so loud that I felt like she was piecing my ear drum with a steak knife. They played their brand of GBH mixed with the Exploited and kept the crowd hanging on every chord. It was good to experience them first hand.

Agnostic Front took the stage next and showed that time and age has not slowed them down. The last time I saw them was probably 1984-ish and I think at the Olympic Auditorium. I only have the Victim in Pain and Cause for Alarm LPs. But their set list contained many songs from those two LPs and many more from recordings that I never purchased. One of the new songs that I do know and they played was "Gotta Go." I know they have a new album out which I think is titled Dead Yuppies or something like that. Roger Miret, Vinnie Stigma and company were out to destroy. From start to finish the band brought forth their brand of original NY hardcore and proved that they still can belt out the anger. I was truly impressed.

To close things off were TSOL. I used to see them practically every month it seemed like in the early '80s. The last time I saw them, I think was around 1992 when they did their first reunion show when they had to call themselves LOST since Joe Wood patented or trademarked the name TSOL when they went hard rock/metal. I had high expectations from hearing that the reformed 3/4 TSOL was just as good as the original. They had headlined the Total Chaos tour and played last year's Warped Tour with raving reviews. Jack appeared on the stage with white pancake makeup and a glittery skirt. He baited the crowd and made fun of the machismo in the audience around by saying, "You guys are probably thinking oh, great I have to see this fag in a skirt." That guy sure knows how to fuck with people. They launched into their set and I felt like I was transported back to the '80s. Song after song was played off their 12" EP, two LPs and their 7". Songs from their current release, Disappear, was interspersed in their set. The crowd was in absolute maximum at this point. People were flying over the barricade that lined the stage in reckless abandon. The pit was at its largest point of the night. At one point, a little kid was tossed over the barricade and the over-zealous bouncer flung him right into the stage. They mistook him for an average sized concert goer. He hit the stage so hard it cut right through the music. The young lad limped over to the side of the stage and the bouncers were yelled at by the band to see if he needed help. I was right next to him and he obviously was hurt. The bouncers took him backstage to care for him. Moments later, the bouncers brought him back out and put him on the stage. He was punk for the day. He was presented with a TSOL hoodie. For the rest of the set, he got to sit on the drum riser and watch in luxury. TSOL closed the set with "Code Blue" and the crowd went absolutely loco. There were times when you couldn't hear Jack sing because it seemed like the entire audience was singing to every word. The crowd compressed against the barrier and the dancers were either pogoing or moving in wild abandon while expressing their love for the music by making aggressive contact with each other.

This was the Unity 2002 Tour and was probably one of the best modern day tours that I experienced. The variety of bands that were on the bill was refreshing when so many promoters are packaging shows that are catered to one genre. I only have hope that more people promote shows that are multi-genred so that this fragmented punk scene can once again become one big punk scene.