Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Rumble Fest Review (Day 2)

So here's my review of The Rumble Fest day 2 which took place on Saturday, April 17th. Day 1 featured bands like Weekend Nachos, The Killer, Death Before Dishonor, and Death Threat. Unfortunately I couldn't make it out due to lack of funds, but I heard it was a lot of fun, especially the Weekend Nachos, The Killer, and Death Threat sets. I missed out on filming which is kind of a bummer but whatever. On Saturday I took the Blue Line El over to the venue; Subterranean in Wicker Park. As I was walking up to the front door some kid out front said,"Jesus Saves". Not sure if he was serious or not, but it was just kind of weird and random. I pay my money and go upstairs to a mostly empty venue. Some band named "Lifeless" kicked things off and they were actually pretty good. They sounded like Merauder style heavy mosh mixed with a hint of Death Metal. You can tell they practice a lot because the set sounded really tight, and they hit all the notes perfectly....but at the same time they didn't sound too "polished" which has a bad connotation with me. I didn't really have any interest in the next couple bands (Steel Nation and Mother of Mercy). I went outside and chilled by the alley, taking a few hits off of a flask of Evan Williams Whiskey I brought with me. (Sidenote: Evan Williams is the shit. So much better than Jim Beam, almost as good as Jack Daniels.....for half the price). Some familiar faces started to trickle in from down the street. I smoked a couple cigarettes and shot the shit with Alex AC, while waiting for the bands to finish up.

I walked over to Flash Taco around the corner to take a dump and grab some food....but mainly to take a dump. The dudes from Skarhead were eating in there. I went up to the drummer and handed him a copy of my zine (The Night Owl #6: A Tribute to NYHC) and told him to check it out. He started looking at it and seemed amazed that bands like Altercation, Dmize, and The Icemen were mentioned. He told the rest of the guys to take a look at it, and I ended up meeting Ezec and the rest of the band. For all the crazy rep Ezec has, he couldn't have been a nicer and more down to earth acting dude than he was to me. It was refreshing to have someone you hear all kinds of ruthless stories/myths/legends about acting really chill and laid back. I asked him if he had time to do an interview and he was real receptive to the idea and told me to stop by the merch booth later and set it up.

When I went back upstairs....it was in between bands and H8 Inc. from Detroit were up next. I've always like this band. It's weird that they get little to no crowd reaction whenever they play here.....even when they played 2 Cold As Life covers with some of the original members. At one point they actually got pissed about it and the lead singer "Beast" said to the crowd,"Thanks for fuckin' nothing, Chicago" It's cool that they chose to cover the early "Rawn" material which is more Oi influenced. I should also mention that these are some scary looking dudes. I'm talking fresh off the prison yard, thousand yard stare dudes with head and face tattoos. Their set was heavy as fuck, and the new tunes are real catchy, especially the song "We Hate The World" which has been stuck in my head ever since last Saturday. They gave shoutouts to their crew "CTYC" periodically. There was one obvious Detroit dude moshing during their set. I've noticed that most dudes from Detroit, especially people affiliated with CTYC have their own style of mosh. They dance like wide-eyed demoniacally possessed robots high on angel dust. Lots of pushing/random arm movements/gestures. It's something that's hard to explain, you just have to see it for yourself. Speaking of head/face tattoos...this seems to be a new trend that's exploding among beatdown/toughguy hardcore afficionados in the scene here. I noticed like 4 different people who I usually only see once a year at the Annual Shane Merrill fest/Heist/Rumble whatever it's called this year, show up with fresh face tats. It's a ballsy move, but I hope their employment/source of income is on solid ground because it's hard enough for a normal looking person to find a job now let alone someone with tattoos on their face.

Harms Way played next. While I was filming their set some dickface threw a plastic bottle at me from the balcony. Whoever did that, what the fuck is your problem? That's not cool or funny at all, just a complete act of douchery. If you're reading this, go fuck yourself. Back to the music, Harms Way's set was very solid, one of the best ones I've ever seen them play as a matter of fact. James was looking large and in charge as usual, and his stage mosh shows that he's very agile as well as built like a human bull. Bo the guitarist had some sweet stage moves too. He's no "Mike the Gook" from Cold As Life/Skarhead (Known for his stage moves, though he plays bass not guitar), but he was busting out some little half turns/turn backs and jumps and shit that looked pretty cool. The footage I captured turned out to be really good. I filmed some of it in "Night Owl Vision" to capture the audience's mosh vibe, which you can't see when the Night Vision is off. Definitely a highlight of the night.

Reign Supreme was up next. Lots of moshing/singing along for them. I never really liked this band to be honest. Way too generic. The singer makes boring speeches about being an individual.......haven't heard that one in the last 5 minutes. Apparently this might be their last show in Chicago. Apparently I'm one of the only ones that don't really care. They were boring last time I saw them, and they were boring this time as well. After their set I went upstairs to use the bathroom. Upon entering there was a member of a local 4 letter crew posted up inside right inside the door....assumedly as a lookout. As I walked up to the urinal, I heard the telltale jingling of keys in the bathroom stall. (For those of you who don't go out to the bar much on the weekend, this usually means someone is taking bumps of some booger sugar/bolivian marching powder/cocaine whatever you want to call it. Upon realizing that someone else had entered the bathroom....key bump dude loudly admonished his lookout for not doing the job properly which made me inwardly chuckle. The dude emerged wide-eyed from the stall, forcefully sniffed and said,"Holy shit!". Haha. Honestly I think the lookout was unnecessary. I don't think anyone there really gave a shit, and security was too busy keeping an eye on the dancefloor.

Wisdom in Chains was up next. They put on a very loud and entertaining set. It was kind of weird because most of the audience was standing in back while about 20-30 people went nuts up front. The skins seemed to be particularly into this band. They do have kind of an interestingly unique sound. Oi mixed with heavy modern hardcore with breakdowns. That might sound kind of weird but they pull it off well. Mad Joe Black, the singer for WIC definitely has a voice you could pick out of a crowd. The guy just sounds fucking pissed at the world, and not surprisingly, that's what most of the songs seem to be about. That and fighting in the streets. I filmed most of the set, but stopped short because I wanted to have enough life in my batteries for Skarhead's set.

Ironically enough, I started to have camera issues as I was testing my camera out right before Skarhead went on. I had been stowing the camera in my backpack behind the Harms Way merch table between bands. Somehoew my memory card got lost/fell out and it wouldn't let me film without it for some reason. There probably was a way to get around it, but I'm still figuring out the ins and outs of operating my camera, so I unfortunately couldn't get it figured out in time. It was cool though because I wanted to dance anyway. They kicked their set off with KAC (Kings at Crime) which made me lose my shit. They were SO much better this time than they were the last time they played Chicago at The Beat Kitchen. Everything was tightly executed, and one of my favorite parts was watching Mike "The Gook"'s crazy stage moves. He does this endless spin that he's known for without missing a beat, along with jump kicks and other shit. Dude has so much energy and is so into the music he's playing, it's awesome. They bust out some other songs including their new one "D.F.F., which is catchy as shit. I've had it stuck in my head on repeat every since I heard it live that night.

By now I'm kind of surprised that there hasn't been anything more than a minor scuffle throughout the entire show, especially with 3 different crews in attendance. Finally, the moment comes when things start to unravel. The Detroit CTYC robot mosh guy that I was talking about earlier was doing his thing in the pit. This time around, what he was doing wasn't so much moshing as it was just pushing people. Honestly I didn't think it was that big a deal, from my perspective he was leaving alone people who weren't "involved" on the dancefloor, but it was kind of borderline because usually you don't really mosh like that out of town unless you have a crew of dudes there who have your back (which this guy did). So there's this one stocky latino dude named Chris in the pit. Chicago kids probably know who this dude is. He has big head tattoos, and now face, neck and throat tats as well. He comes out to Shane Merrill's fest every year, and you can usually find him at Killer shows once in awhile where he's known for his unbridled enthusiasm for the band, and moshing with open bottles of beer that fly everywhere when he's up front doing his thing. Haha. He's a good kid, but it always seems like he's in the middle of some drama, apparently he's down with the SHOC boys now (A crew, mostly old school skinheads from the mid to late 80's and early 90's). So anyway, CTYC dude is moshing it up robot style, and pushing people around. He does it to Chris about 3 times and you can tell there's some tension that's starting to build, but then everything seems cool for a minute. CTYC dude makes another lap, and pushes Chris again, this time Chris pushes back. The two dudes kind of started to square off, and shit was just about to pop off when "Beast" the singer of H8 Inc. (also of CTYC crew) goes up to his boy and tries to squash shit/smooth things over. Again, everything seems like it might be resolved for a second....when one of Chris's friends (I'm assuming a SHOC boy) sucker punches the dude. After that all fucking hell broke loose. The entire Skarhead band jumps off the stage and starts beating the living shit out of the dude who threw the punch. I was literally right behind the guy when the punch was thrown....so I got out of the way very fast so as not to be mistakenly involved. I stared at the scene with my mouth agape, and I'm pretty sure I said holy SHIT! at least 3 times. This dude is getting stole on from all angles....his heads going back and forth in every direction since he's getting hit so many times from so many different angles. He did a good job of shielding himself though. I glance over and see the bass player for Skarhead with his guitar in his hands, holding it like you would a baseball bat/other weapon. I knew what was coming....and it did. He fuckin' DOMED some dude with his instrument. It landed with a sickening thud which I could feel in the pit of my stomach. After that the fight seemed to slowly peter out. I will say the dude who got the beatdown took his lumps like a man, he actually smiled, held his fist over his head and fist pumped a couple times as he was guided out by security. He wasn't altogether undamaged though. His nose looked like an overripe tomato (probably broken) and he was bleeding from a couple different head wounds.

Surprisingly enough, Skarhead took the stage again. They said," Every one of our boys are like family, if you fuck with one of us, you fuck you fuck with all of us". Another Chicago dude who I see around once a year or so goes up to the stage and starts arguing with Ezec. Ezec explained that he was defending a friend etc. The dude kept pushing the issue, Ezec rears back and slugs the guy in the face from the stage. Being smart, the dude fell back and didn't retaliate as it would have been very ugly for him. This marked the end of the show. During all this one of the bouncers kept yelling "Take it Outside, respect the venue!".....He complained that he was the only bouncer there at that point. What was Subterranean thinking when they only have one security guy working a Skarhead show? One of the dudes from Skarhead got on the mic and told him "Shut up pussyboy"....which was pretty funny. After all this went down, the rest of the security staff seemed to appear out of nowhere and asked everyone to get the hell out of there. I found my ride home and made it out of there and home in one piece which I'm thankful for. I've seen a lot of brawls and fights in my time, but this was hands down one of the craziest. I've also never seen a band jump off the stage in mid-set and dish out a heaping helping of street justice. I guess there's a first time for everything. I want to thank Shane Merrill for putting on the fest and continuing his tradition of booking all the best shows in Chicago. I'd also like to say I'm glad that all my friends were safe and none of them got involved in that whole debacle, and thanks to Jeremy from Indiana for giving me a ride home!

Here are some videos of the show from my youtube channel http://www.youtube.com/charlienumbers
I'm just showing the first part of each band's set. To view the rest of the sets hit up the channel for more.

H8 Inc. Part 1 of 4

Wisdom in Chains Part 1 of 2

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