Youth Brigade - Each and every year brings me into shows where I had long given up any chance of seeing a certain band from my past. And now it is Youth Brigade, a classic Dischord band--in fact, the first Dischord record I ever owned. Even though I was a fairly enlightened member of the Dayton, Ohio punk scene, I have to admit that I bought the record during my first visit to Chicago's Wax Trax Records when I thought it was a release by Youth Patrol, a band featured on the MI/OH comp, "Process of Elimination" (I would feel stupid except that there were a plethora of 'Youth' bands at the time including another Youth Brigade). This happy accident led me deeper into harDCore and was a great listen by itself. Three of the original members are back tonight with Steve Hansgen taking over on guitar and laying out those thick sludgy mid-tempo guitar lines that I remember so well. The rhythm section was up to the task and Nathan still has the resonance to bring some life and recognition to these songs. They brought out guests to help out on "Stepping Stone" which polished off these fun 23 minutes. The sold-out crowd was more filled with old-timers like me (but even more tied to the original scene) reliving their 'Salad Days', so there was not a whole lot of moshing, but a deeper involvement.
Government Issue - This is the third revisit I have had with this band in recent years and the line-up changes every time around. This time, it is the Nov '81 to early '82 line-up with Tom Lyle on bass and Brian Baker on guitar. Colin Sears, fresh from his Dag Nasty show the previous night, takes over on drums. And of course, John Stabb is the manic fun-filled frontman giving character to the musical blasts of these classic short punk/hardcore songs. They leaned toward the early material although crept forward into a few songs after Brian Baker had departed. The encore had Lyle and Baker switch instruments for a couple more latter day songs. This was fun and musically strong, although looser than the brilliant set they did the previous year with the full line-up of the final version of GI. But this was all about the continuing of the party atmosphere of the return of the early eighties. They played some snippets from the upcoming documentary film "Salad Days" between the first two sets which reinforced what this was all about on at least two levels.
Scream - This is also the third revisit I have experienced with this classic Virginia band, although they have done some recording and touring in recent years. It is the original quartet augmented with a second guitar. The second guitar is only a small part of the incredible blast of power and volume that these guys produce tonight. This may be the most ferocious show they have put on of the six or seven I have taken in. It was quite impressive, although some of the nuance may have been lost. But hey, this is all about cutting loose and having fun with bands and people that were a big part of your lives many years ago. The fact that the music can still bring the joy is a testament as to why multiple books and documentaries have covered this scene. I look forward to seeing "Salad Days" some day soon.
Quote of the Night: From Nathan S. introducing the guest singers... "We have Alec MacKaye... the other MacKaye."