It’s been quite a year for historic punk bands touring landmark anniversaries. Earlier this year the Damned and X celebrated 40 years, and more recently the Descendants in support of a new album. Last night, this was closed out by New York Hardcore legends Agnostic Front celebrating 35 years as a band.
Three Links was packed with punks young and old (mostly old) and in the minutes leading up to the band taking the stage, the anticipation was palpable. Those who were outside smoking began filing in and people were quick to grab one more beer before shit got real. And let me tell you: shit got real. Taking the stage to an enormous applause, the 5-piece band wasted no time in bringing their brand of hardcore straight to everyone’s faces. The mosh pit was relentless. Indeed, they were only two songs into their set before the show momentarily hit pause as two over enthusiastic fans got into a fight. I saw a few poor souls who were right in front of the stage get pushed head first onto it due to the ferocious nature of those churning the pit.
The band sounded excellent, and in my opinion better than they sound on record. The majority of the set drew from their classic albums Victim in Pain and Cause for Alarm, but recent material from their Warriors LP and 2015’s The American Dream Died were also mixed in. Founding member and vocalist Roger Miret and longtime stalwart Vinnie Stigma put on a clinic for aspiring young punks. If you think punk is dead or that you can’t kick everyone’s ass at 50+ years old, these guys put on a performance that will prove you are completely and utterly wrong. They were balls-to-the-wall from first song to last. The other members of the band certainly kept up and drummer Pokey Mo nearly stole the show. Some credit must be given to the live sound at Three Links. The mix was spot-on, perhaps allowing for Mo’s stellar drum work to come through. Long time fans of the band might be annoyed to hear this, but I never really noticed anything remarkable in the drumming on the classic albums. Last night, I was blown away. I was a little disappointed that they played for less than an hour, but closing out their set with a cover of “Blitzkrieg Bop” was electrifying.
There’s only a few more dates on their tour this year before they head back out in 2018. Whether you can catch them before years end or go see them next year, don’t miss it.
– J. Kevin Lynch