Saturday, October 17, 2009

I Hear A Shadow

I got to see one of my favorite bands from back in my youth days. I listened to a ton of metal and then hardcore (after the gangsta rap phase and before I heard the likes of Throbbing Gristle, Peter Brotzmann or Fela Kuti) and when I heard Rorschach, I found a cool merger of the two scenes. With influence from punk bands like Black Flag and Die Kruezen, with some Black Sabbath/Slayer riffage, Rorschach were sort of the pinnacle of hardcore music for me. From the late 80s into the mid 90s (my punk/HC era), this NYC/Jersey band tore apart kids' heads with relentless assault on ears and bodies.

Few in the hardcore scene could play with the chops that these guys could. I took Dan Friel to see Rorschach back in 93 and it was his first underground show. He wondered if most punk bands were that good and tight! These guys blew everyone away. And hearing the progression of Charles Maggio's vocals through the recordings were inspiring, as he went from recording "Remain Sedate" line by line (due to his difficulties with Hodgkin's disease) to having the larynx-shredding screams of "Protestant". And their cover of King Crimson's "21st Century Schizoid Man" proved to be popular still as I heard the crowd reaction at a show on their recent reunion tour.

Playing a week long tour was out of the blue to me. When I heard they were getting the guys together for one last glorious run-through, I wasted no time booking my ticket to Santos Party House in Manhatten. After being greeted by good friend Andy Crespo at the door I witnessed a capacity crowd of about twice as many people as had ever seen them back in the day. The band was fierce and tight, with no one believing thay hadn't played together in 16 years (!) They were fucken great! Having a kick ass sound system really brought them to the level they sacrificed playing in the punk scene. (They never wanted the bullshit of the early 90s metal scene). And the whole thing closed with Ted Leo as guest vocalist on a closing cover of Black Flag's "My War". And it was nice catching up with a few folks that I hadn't seen in decades.

Here's a few pics from Bob Urthquake:

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