Better Than: Karaoke night with your co-workers.
Retribution is a beautiful thing. And after nearly 28 years of pumping out tough riffs and churning circle pits, punk legends Slapshot finally brought Boston hardcore to Miami. The show (which many in the scene considered a gift after so many years of being left out) came courtesy of South Florida's fly-date king, Roger Forbes of Speedfreek, and featured a stacked lineup of the local scene's brightest lights.
The vibe was all about communal pride, and it has since been conjectured that the positive energy produced via the hockey-themed hardcore heroes' marathon set is what, in fact, finally ended the NHL lockout.
Things got started (on time!) with some straight-ahead punk rock, provided by Miami's Die Trying. The group played a fun set to an understandably thin crowd as many undoubtedly assumed the show would be running on Miami standard time.
The new guard of Miami hardcore was represented by Homestretch, a quintet that continues to impress us with its sheer aggression. Recently, the band has been playing a bunch of freshly penned tracks and every riff of the new material seems darker and heavier than the last. The band's cover of "It's the Limit" by the Cro-Mags proved a highlight of the set, despite frontman George Geanuracos onstage acknowledgement of how it might be a construed as a little inappropriate to cover such an important NYC hardcore band while opening for what is essentially the Boston hardcore band.
Following Homestretch, it was time for recently rebooted and sorely missed On Our Own. This Broward-based outfit has been making random appearances here and there for a while now. However, Saturday's set proved this band's totally returned to form. Frontman Carlos Fournier stalked the stage, spitting rage-driven lyrics about the nihilistic side of life over chugging riffs.
After On Our Own, there was another blast from the past, Trust No One. This band performs only on special occasions at this point. So the crowd made the set count in terms of movement. Yes, the mosh was hectic, violent, and everything that makes for a proper Trust No One show.
TNO's frontman, who must be referred as "Coach," provided plenty of colorful stage banter while trying to catch a rise from the straight-edge crowd members that were there to see one of the most outspoken straight-edge bands of all time. The band featured Alex Marquez (of bands Anger and Solstice) filling in on drums, and the sound was perhaps even heavier than normal thanks to Marquez's metallic attack.
To peer out at the crowd during the break of "Sometimes" was to see a scene from Miami hardcore's past. And it will no doubt be a moment spoken of among the Churchill's crowd for years to come.
After the floor was cleared of unfortunate casualties from Trust No One's melee, Slapshot's banner was proudly and prominently hung. (Side note: This banner was stolen and not yet recovered. If you have any details on the theft, please contact Roger Forbes.) And a glance at the setlist being posted about the stage revealed a song selection spanning the band's discography, definitely making up for the years' long wait.
Jack "Choke" Kelly and company wasted little time getting down to business, ripping into "No Friend of Mine" and pummeling through the goods for a solid 90 minutes.
As the room broke out in a cyclone of dives and moshing, "Choke" -- easily recognized from photos of him bleeding -- wore an ear to ear grin, something he shared with just about everyone in the crowd.
Chants of "fuck New York" broke out at several times during the night as the band plugged on through power chords and howling vocals.
Choke's mike was stolen for the near-entirety of "No Time Left" by an overzealous fan in a Dead Kennedys t-shirt, who'd been seemingly overcome by his need for a moment with the group. And that was just one of many instances of crowd members losing control of themselves in their excitement.
Hardcore has always been a young man's game, but Slapshot proved on Saturday that the originals had something else going on. The group sustained its aggression from song one to the end of the set and no one in attendance could have asked for anything else of the group.
Favorites were played, explosive energy was shared, and the show was a special moment for South Florida's hardcore scene.
Personal Bias: New Yorker.
Random Detail: The mike was stolen for most of the band's infamous cover of the Smiths' "Big Mouth Strikes Again."
-"I've Had Enough"
-"Watch Me Bleed"
-"Back on the Map"
-"No Time Left"
-"16 Valve Hate"
-"Hang Up Your Boots"
-"Big Mouth Strikes Again" (Smiths Cover)
-"What's At Stake"
-"Shaved for Battle"
-"Teach Me to Kill"
-"I Want You Dead"
-"Might Make Right"
-"Drop the Bomb"
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