Text and Photos: Charles Nickles
Shortly after I moved to NYC, I saw Anthrax and White Zombie play a sold-out show at Roseland. Quicksand was supposed to play too but they were sick or broke up or Walter was embroiled in a particularly electric game of GO and couldn’t be pried from his stones.
I don’t know.
It didn’t matter, though. I didn’t know fuck all about Quicksand except that their music didn’t speak at all to a thirteen-year-old SoCal transplant who wanted nothing more than to take some names his first time in the pit.
That didn’t happen, though.
I got fucking crushed.
I left the show with a swollen eye, a bloody nose and one perfect bootprint on my back. I’m pretty sure that one dude died.
My mother was mortified.
I tried to explain to her that violence was a crucial component in any young man’s developmental process and – besides – when you’re caught in a mosh, there were ethics at play:
“Yeah, you push and shove. It looks like fighting, but it isn’t. Everyone there is in the pit together. We’re all on the same side for the same reason. If someone falls down, you help them up. If someone gets hurt, you get them out. It’s a brotherhood, mom. Something I need to be a part of.”
She believed me and I did too until I started going to hardcore shows where I learned about skinheads and boot crews and the alpha male tomfuckery that pays tribute to the breakdown.
Since then, I’ve been more selective with my violence.
Had Krimewatch existed just a few years earlier, I totally would’ve dragged my little cousin Olivia out to see them kick the shit out of an all ages matinee, because I’ll never have kids of my own and she used to strike me as someone who could use a punk singer. I might still, just because we don’t hang out enough and it’s always a pleasure to share in a band that presents femme and comes correct with the graphite carnage shit once almost wholly relegated to dicks.
I hear Pittsburgh is a pretty cool place. I only went, but I enjoyed the hell out of it. Drank a ton of beer, helped source a palette for a terrifying gasoline fire, saw some punk bands play at Helter Shelter, waved my Terrible Towel until I fell down and woke up in the van spooning a bag of Cheetos.
Brunch was excellent, if shaky.
Concealed Blade are fucking unhinged.
When many folks I know think about metal, they think leather and terror and goblins and ghouls and Satan and fire and dead singers and pig heads and blood and crime and unlistenable garbage and GGGRRROOOOUUUUGGGGHHHH!!! and Norway and suicide and drug abuse – and yeah, that’s all true. But what about thrash, people?
Thrash is the coolest.
The great beer can passed magnanimously between Black Flag and Venom and Discharge and ST, thrash unites all the battle vest nations into one gloriously stuporific circle pit, and NO ONE incites that eddy these days quite like Iron Reagan.
You’d best flip your cap to them.
Yeah, you can’t fuck with Power Trip.
I tried, and I almost got my neck snapped twice for coming too close to the holy space between the unfuckwithable fire and the army of frothing acolytes hellbent on touching the heat before hurling themselves back to earth like apoplectic revenants, and some part of me wants to go off about the unspoken rules of stagediving as I once understood them, but the protocols I’d known are garbage now that Power Trip are force.
I mean, HOLY SHIT, dude.
I’ve never felt so righteous kissing the fucking floor.