Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Last Floorpunch show - 1/16/09 @ Stelton Church in Edison, NJ

The final U.S. show for New Jersey straightedge hardcore veterans, Floorpunch, was rescheduled for 1/16 after a freak blizzard walloped the northeast, forcing the original show to be postponed. Unfortunately for me, I had already left to drive from Philadelphia to the shore so I could get up to Edison in some of the worst weather I've experienced in my life. The ice and snow got so bad, most of the roads were being closed down, and eventually I was forced to pull over on I-295 and chip the ice off my windshield to see anything at all. About halfway through this awful experience, I got a phone call saying the show was postponed. It took about 2 1/2 hours to finally reach home, and the rest of the weekend was wasted sitting in the house or digging cars out of the snow which was over two feet high in some places. Obviously, when the show finally arrived, I was boiling over with excitement.

The Stelton Church in Edison, NJ is a decent size venue for shows. Even with a sold out crowd like this, there is still enough room to breathe with ample space for mosh and stagedives. While the room became hot and stuffy after a few bands played, it was nothing compared to some of the basement and house venues I've been to for hardcore or punk shows. The stage is also about three feet high, so its definitely enough for some gnarly dives onto the heads of people packed in up front. My only complaint is that every show I've attended at this venue tends to run a bit slow. Doors opened at 5pm but music didn't start until about 6:30, and some of the layovers between bands seemed a little long as well. Or maybe I'm a little spoiled by how most of the shows in Philly are organized.

First up were Jersey shore locals, Staring Problem, who played a pretty good set, although I got the feeling most of the people there didn't know who they were. At local shows they usually receive a response but the crowd remained still as they went through their songs. Next was Mind Eraser; grindy, faster than hell hardcore hailing from Boston, MA. While their particular style didn't fit in with most of the other bands, they raged through their songs with ease. Many bands that play as fast as Mind Eraser aren't able to translate it live, but they can pull off an intricate, heavy style at a blistering pace. Watching the drummer and guitarist play, their hands practically turn into a blur while ripping through the songs faster than imaginable. They also finished off with a nice surprise, playing the 10 minute long track "Unconscious" which received a decent reaction from those interested.

Shortly after, the surprise act that had received hype for months on message boards appeared, revealing itself as Invasion. The venue that had been standing still for a couple of hours immediately exploded, as every person rushed forward to the stage. I certainly didn't expect this, and to my surprise they played a bunch of songs, including favorites such as "Invasion," "Bust It" and "Righteous Jams." Joey C even took the mic for one of the songs, and it felt like the building was going to explode with excitement.

Get Real, yes! I used to see this band all the time years ago when they were playing shows around NJ frequently so I was pretty excited for this. They opened up with a bunch of Cro-Mags songs which people went pretty crazy for, inspiring an intense sing-a-long. Next, they ripped through a block of their more known songs like "Dead in the Water," "Disillusioned," and "Get Real." They sounded decent during these songs, especially since they don't play shows regularly anymore. I was also stoked on the Shore Style longsleeve they had for sale, and scored the last medium available.

At this point I was almost getting a bit tired after standing in the venue for so long, starving because I didn't want to miss anything with still so much left to go. Bracewar played their usual set filled with heavy riffs, breakdowns and some fairly ridiculous mosh. The highlight of this for me was the brutal guest vocals during "Watch it Burn" by the singer of Mind Eraser.

Down to Nothing had a difficult time getting started due to a number of technical issues and an amp blowing at the end of the first song. I'm not going to get into the craziness that took place on stage during the layover, but if you were there you know what happened. I have never seen anything like that before in my life. Usually I have a great time during their sets, but the different interruptions and lack of older songs made it tough for the band to find a consistent flow. All in all, not bad, but not excellent.

At around 10:30ish, Floorpunch finally took the stage, clearly without a setlist or plan in mind, but still ripped the place up. All of the classics were played including "Changes," "Washed up at 18," "Intro," "Jersey Shore," and "Let it Ride." Stagedives were in full effect for this whole set, including a few front flips off the PA speakers that were pretty impressive. It's somewhat depressing that I won't be able to see these guys again, but I left tired, hot and hungry. As we were slowly filing out of the building, you could see the heat and sweat vapor pouring out of the door into the cool night air. It's too bad more nights can't be as fun as this one.