'Agnostic' makes believers of hardcore on all fronts


Published: Thursday, January 25, 2007 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, January 25, 2007 at 1:53 a.m.
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New York's hardcore card-carriers Agnostic Front perform Monday at 1982.

DALE RIO/Special to The Sun
Let's discuss, for a moment, the word "hardcore."
You can use it many different ways. Describe someone who pushes the limits in a dangerous situation. Quantify dedication to an ideal or credo. Classify a film of the not-for-the-family variety.
When it comes to music, there is a strict and narrow definition of the word that is too often abused. Hardcore impostors range from those who want to sing about brokenheartedness - yet can't manage in the traditional fashion - to some who preface it with "happy" and affix the term to dance music.
Proper hardcore is Bad Brains. It's Choking Victim. It's Adrenaline O.D.
It's also Agnostic Front.
On Monday night, long-standing legends Agnostic Front will be bringing the original vision of hardcore music to 1982.
Ironically, 1982 just so happens to be the year in which the band began playing, and the approximate year in which the designation "hardcore" came to be.
In those days, AF and other bands like them were simply a meaner, faster, more abrasive form of punk rock. That's not to be taken with a grain of salt. Not many years before, the same punk rock that AF outpaced was the meanest, most abrasive thing that anyone had ever heard.
To tell the truth, hardcore isn't exactly my cup of tea. I do like it, but I didn't buy the T-shirt.
But it's not too often that you get to see a band, in any genre, that played so large a part in making it all happen. Even a casual hip-hop fan would come out for a Grandmaster Flash & The 3 MCs show, just as an occasional metal listener would arrive for an original Deep Purple performance.
It's been a while since Agnostic Front has produced a new album - ignoring their latest "Live at CBGB's" release last year - though lead singer Roger Miret is just off the release of "My Riot" with his side project, Roger Miret and The Disasters. With more than 20 years of groundbreaking music under their belt, they don't really need an excuse to go on tour.
Unfortunately, this reasonless tour will be happening sans Madball, another old-school hardcore legend. Granted, Madball is an extremely direct spin-off of Agnostic Front (for years they were the same band with different singers), but it's a real shame they won't make the trip.
I have no explanation as to why they chose this particular date as their day off, but I will accept a temporary insanity plea and sentence them to one year of shunning.
In their stead, no current legends stand. Yet I am no less pleased to see locals Battle!, Annihilation Squad, The Horror and Stressface stepping up to bat.
I wouldn't want to be faced with the task of drumming up a more entertaining local squad for this scenario. Battle! is one of the few local bands I'm willing to refer to as "hardcore," Stressface and The Horror are old-fashioned family fun and, though I have yet to see them, if Annihilation Squad is anything like the name, they're the fifth solid band on the bill.
Despite their obvious headliner status, Agnostic Front won't be the final band of the night. Stressface will be. Strange as it may seem, I think it's a grand idea. Personally, I have to drag myself out of bed the next morning and go to work. The last thing I need is a full-on adrenaline rush at 1:30 a.m.
Stressface won't make the blood run cold, but the short downward step they'll provide should be just enough to allow me a long blink before morning comes.
. . .
On Friday night at The Atlantic, Afro-Latin hip-hop experts The Spam Allstars are making yet another Gainesville appearance. Opening bands? They don't need no stinkin' opening bands. Give them a 3-hour set, and it'll be a fine time.
. . .
Over at the Backstage Lounge on Friday, metalheads are advised to gather for Lepra Negra, Kalus and the S.M.B Project. Book your masseuse now for possible headbanging-related neck injuries. Massages aren't metal, but they sure do help.
. . .
1982 is taking it back to 1992 with an all-ska Friday night. Locals Lithium and the Skavengers will be joined by Orlando natives The Supervillains. The Villains won't be here on their upcoming tour with the Mad Caddies, so you might as well see them while you can.
. . .
On Saturday at Common Grounds, it's another installment of "Silent Films, Loud Music," presented by the Florida Experimental Film/Video (FLEX). It's a concert and a few movies for less than what you'd spend on one jumbo, pseudo-butter-slathered tub of popcorn at the theater. How can you go wrong?
. . .
Skip ahead to Tuesday at Common Grounds for a show I highly recommend, featuring hip-hop from Sol.iLLaquists of Sound and Voice of the People and a little breakbeat with DJ J.Storm. Slightly out of place, but no less appreciated, The Heathens will be there to interject a bit of country - and give a second chance to those who missed their Saturday show with Ones to Blame and Peachtree at The Atlantic.
Reach Kyle at quieteidolon@gmail.com.

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