Poison the Well Rewards Miami for Its Patience

PTW came back to Miami, and it was worth the wait.
PTW came back to Miami, and it was worth the wait.
Photo by Luis Ruiz/larufoto.com

At 10:45 p.m inside Churchill's, a pulsing throng of sweaty punk kids are waiting anxiously for the most loved hardcore band to ever come out of Miami. It's been five years since Poison the Well played in their hometown. And after selling out the show on a Wednesday night in the middle of summer, it's clear that they've been missed. The anticipation is boiling over during the 30 seconds of feedback right before they go on — arguably the best moment at any hardcore show.

On stage, Ryan Primack starts to drone on the guitar. Jeffrey Moreira checks the mike. Chris Hornbrook kicks in on the drums. Everything starts to tremble. The crowd begins to sway. The next hour meshes together in one nostalgic blackout of aggressive moshing and screeching singalongs. Last night, Poison the Well broke their five-year hiatus, and everyone was glad they did.

Reunion shows are always an interesting mix of people. In one corner of the room, drunk old dudes with decades-old straightedge tattoos swap war stories about the glory days — seeing Poison the Well in the early '00s. In another, baby punks watch the show through their iPhone screens and are only there because it seemed cool on the internet. But both are there for the scene points, and everyone is nervous —only the former's anxiety is similar to reuniting with a long-lost love, and the latter has butterflies like before a first Tinder date. 

The doors opened at 8 p.m. and by 9 Churchill's doorman Mr. C was shooing people from the door who underestimated the need to purchase tickets beforehand. It was a Wednesday night, and Churchill's was near capacity. The only place to grab a drink or find a seat was at the outside bar.

House of Lighting opened the show to a response one would expect for the appetizer to your favorite meal. Everyone was drinking PBR and looking cool with their arms folded, grappling with the dilemma of trying not to look like they were having too much fun during the set (which was awesome, by the way).

All Hell Breaks Loose, another Miami favorite from long ago, took the stage next. Everyone eagerly showered in the hardcore Miami nostalgia. The group ended its set with a Misfits cover sung mostly by the audience. Their final words: "Are you ready for what's next?"

All night, the anticipation in that humid sweatbox of a venue was building. So, when Poison the Well took the stage at 10:45, the audience ricocheted around like a can of Coke bursting after a cycle in the dryer.

The band opened with "Ghostchant," a track off of the 2003 record You Come Before You. It took less than a minute for the stage dives to start. By the end of the first song, the band had to stop because someone had already hurt themselves in an ill-attempted plunge off the three-foot stage. But we cheered when the individual jumped up and shot the crowd a thumbs up.

As the setlist dragged on, everyone maintained a constant level of gyrating excitement, singing along to every song. Honestly, the show was more like a grownup singalong than an actual concert. PTW played all the hits from the early records, like Artists Rendering of Me, Slice Paper Wrists, and Nerdy.

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The crowd was intense. From the beginning, the pit devoured half the room. It seemed like the other half sung along at a safe distance in the back. There were pile-ons, stage dives, and only one fight (Miami's punks were on their best behavior last night).

PTW's set was interactive. The energy was palpable. For a bunch of diverse punks who stumbled into Churchill's in the middle of the week, everyone left sweaty, with the overarching feeling that you were a part of a small piece of Miami hardcore history — even if knew you'd wake up sore with mysterious welts from staying too long in the pit.  

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Churchill's Pub

5501 NE 2nd Ave.
Miami, FL 33137

305-757-1807

www.churchillspub.com


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