Concert Review: Madball, Dying Breed, Politics of Contraband, Dissolve (1996)

Madball, Dying Breed, Politics of Contraband, Dissolve
Bogie’s (Albany, New York), July 13, 1996

Page from a tattered notebook found floating at the mouth of a backed-up Albany sewer:

Storm Chaser Log Book, Saturday, July 13, 7:30 PM: As the last dregs of Hurricane Bertha scuttle through Albany, an isolated pocket of turbulence segregates itself from the ambient rankness and begins to organize on Ontario Street.

8:30 PM: Bogie’s opens its door, creating a strong inversion that sucks the turbulent pocket through a narrow frontal boundary, thereby increasing both its temperature and its pressure. As the saturated turbulent force vectors into the lower pressure region beyond Bogie’s portal, it expands rapidly, throwing off thunder and moisture. The surging mass crashes into Bogie’s back wall, folds upon itself and begins to spin. Heavy weather brewing.

9:30 PM: Upgrade this strong system to Urban Depression status and name it: Hardcore. Dissolve (who lost a van to Bertha while chasing that storm up from Poughkeepsie) begin to test Bogie’s waters. Their hiccup-rhythm Metalli-core is filled with unresolved chord structures that add to the ozone-ripe air of unease. As Dissolve wraps up, a strong storm surge flows from the sweltering pit to the better ventilated area near the bar. There must be a water shortage, as the frenzied locals are resorting to more expensive grain-based beverages. Poor souls. This will only enhance their dehydration.

10:30 PM: The thrill-seeking Politics of Contraband haul their gear into the maelstrom, just as the crowd-surfers and stage divers arrive to challenge fate by blindly flinging themselves through the pilings, piers and lighting structures surrounding the ever-deepening pit. Hardcore (now clearly an Urban Storm) begins to howl back at Politics of Contraband as microphones are turned toward the spinning mass, capturing its relentless freight-train rumble.

11:30 PM: Dying Breed offer a beacon through the smoky mire: A bright purple bass guitar, played with enough post-grind precision and fervor to send Slayer’s Tom Araya back to his tablature charts, puzzled. Definitely Hurricane Hardcore now; the air is thick and soupy, barely breathable, rancid. Dying Breed relish and cultivate the chaos before them, exhorting the storm upward, outward, forward. The storm responds to their necromancy by flinging objects (mainly bodies) over the security sandbags separating Dying Breed from oblivion. Dying Breed choose oblivion. Storm surge. Blackout.

12:30 AM, Sunday: Madball prove themselves masters of the elements by demonstrating their style before the now Category-Four Hurricane. Substitute drummer Walter Ryan sits in for regular Will Shepler, who’s weathered-in at New York City; Ryan and bassist Hoya click like a pair of Siamese rhythm twins, laying down a thunderous bottom that singer Freddy Cricien and guitarist Matt Henderson decorate with gale-force high-end roar. Between head-first dives into the abyss, Cricien stomps and rants through the tempest like a tattooed Old Testament prophet–preaching racial tolerance, love for family (biological and otherwise) and self-respect to the hard-luck locals. It’s emotionally energizing to hear such strong positive messages being offered to people who may not have the opportunity to hear them anywhere else. Moments like this make storm-chasing worthwhile; blue sky Chablis events just don’t vibrate the soul as effectively. I step out to follow Cricien into the eye of Hurricane Hardcore. I am ready . . .

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