Stigma - A loud, tough five piece hits the stage with a sound that was a bit too much at first, especially with vocals overdriving, but it settled eventually. We have two brothers from Agnostic Front on vocals and bass. Vinnie Stigma, singing here, was AF's guitarist back in the early days of NYC hardcore. That band had punk, hardcore and eventually metal combined with a resultant sound that is kind of obvious now, but was not back then. This band is clearly of that sound, style and energy level. An Iron Cross cover and lots of originals went over well with a surprisingly tepid crowd. I had a lot of respect for the band for asking the crowd to come up front and get enthusiastic and then smiling, keeping the energy and rocking out when the crowd kind of stood around. Other bands keep moaning and asking, but they just did their job and did win over the crowd by set's end. Glad to see Vinnie looking well, as he was a nice guy some twenty-five years ago when I had a chat with him.
Roger Miret & the Disasters - Now we have the vocalist of Agnostic Front, playing some rhythm guitar with a lead and rhythm section behind him. The sound was again a bit off at the beginning with feedback and thin spots. The songs were a bit more Misfits-Syl Sylvain kind of numbers, but they rocked well enough. Once the sound sorted out, the band picked up steam and did a good job. Just another slab of NYC punk rock, and that is almost always a good thing.
Agnostic Front - ! What a nice surprise to get three of the original Agnostic Front guys together with an extra guitarist and Stigma's drummer. They did a couple of the classics which sounded great. After researching a bit, apparently Agnostic Front is getting back together and doing a substantial amount of touring next year in the US and Europe. If you want a dose of classic 80s, New York, this was the band to see then and I would recommend them now.
Street Dogs - "Holiday shenanigans with the Street Dogs" is how the flyer reads and that sets the attitude pretty well for this fun raucous band. This band started about seven years ago with former members of Boston's Dropkick Murphys. Irish punk rock all the way here. They have a love of the Pogues (and cover Boys From County Hell tonight) but want to play a bit more like the Ramones (OK, this is obvious as their entrance music was Blitzkrieg Bop and a Pogues instrumental). I think I saw them open for the Adolescents a few years ago and they blew me away. So tonight I expected their high energy, melodic, fun brand of punk rock and they delivered. The crowd was filled with hardcore fans and others that dug in and had a great time. The band brought a US Marine and had them set up a Toys for Tots booth in the back which was nice of them. They do charitable things and the singer was a firefighter, so they are a band you can respect or just go out and have a great time with.
Quote of the Night: from Stigma... "DC, the home of Iron Cross, Sab should be here any minute..." Such a singular DC band, that Iron Cross, you don't hear them mentioned often, but they resonate in a big way in some places.