Cro Mags - The Observatory - February 3, 2013
What better night to throw a hardcore punk/metal show than on Super Bowl Sunday, a night when many people are already drunk by 6 p.m. The Constellation Room inside the Observatory was crowded to full capacity last night for a raging concert featuring the Cro Mags. The concert was presented by the Poor Kids Radio show, a heavy-metal -punk rock oriented cyber cast, live Saturday night from 10 p.m. PST to 12 midnight, on (www.breal.tv), the web radio station owned by B-Real of rap superstars Cypress Hill.
Perhaps, with this many heads in the crowd, it might have been better to hold this show in the main, bigger room. But don't tell that to the hundred or so rabid hardcore tough guys, punkers, longhairs, thrashers and even skinheads in the pit. To them, and the bands that played, this was a perfect venue, and for a majority of the night the security guards and bouncers had their work cut out for them.
G.F.P (an acronym for General Fucking Principle) was the first of three main bands, and people immediately were paying attention to this super group, featuring legendary punk guitarist Greg Hetson from the Circle Jerks and Bad Religion, bass player/pro skaterboarderTony 'Mad Dog' Alva, singer Crazy Tom (also in hardcore punk band Dead Fucking Last), and drummer Amery 'Awol' Smith of Suicidal Tendencies.
The floor was into the show, but not too involved in moshing for half of G.F.P.'s set. With a rocket-propelled sound full of skate punk energy and nostalgia, formed in 2012, allows Hetson's guitar to stand out on it's own, as he created a groovy hybrid of hardcore punk rock and heavy metal. Look for new music to be released from this band later this year. Songs are short-but-sweet, and singer Crazy Tom attempted to incite several circle pits, skanking onstage and jumping from amps in an attempt to create some chaos, motion. By the end of 45 minutes, and a solid set of hardcore/metal infused skate punk, G.F.P. exited the stage and dub reggae song began playing over the club's speakers.
Up next were LA hardcore heroes Strife, a band that was formed in the early 1990s, initially as a straight edge hardcore punk band, to evolve into a non straight edge hardcore punk/metal band that might be seen as a predecessor to the subgenres of metal core/death core and were using the groovy, heavy breakdowns in their songs, before they became trendy.
Through various break ups, and reformations over the years, Strife is back in full force, and reeked of intensity from the moment they hit the stage. The tension hit an all-time high during the third song, when a fist fight broke out in the pit, between a racist skinhead (with visible Nazi tattoos) and several Mexican/African American punkers in the pit. One mean, prison looking dude was 86ed by security, as the brawl was quickly squashed.
"Fuck all that shit, we're here to have fun, and we are a band about Unity!" yelled singer Rick Rodney. "If you want to fight, get the Fuck out!" he screamed to cheers. The music went on, and songs about strength, bravery, conviction and struggles filled the room, as slam dancers and hardcore dancers morphed into a slam pit full of kicking, punching, jumping thrashing and people running around in circular motion full speed beating the shit out of each other. All in hardcore spirit, and fun.