One Big Crowd – A tribute to the legendary A7 club

Posted in Spotlight by unartignyc on 2009/05/25

Saturday December 6th, 2008, Complete Control NYC & Guillotine presented One Big Crowd: A tribute to the legendary A7 club @ The Knitting Factory, 74 Leonard Street, NYC. (((unartig))) was there to capture the event for you. Below are clips and full sets of all the bands we caught on camera, plus a recollection by Jeff Terranova of Up Front/Smorgasboard Records fame. Antidote and Urban Waste contributed exclusive blurps. Enjoy!

[Drew Stone – Antidote]
Vary rarely in life can you go back and make something right that for a long time was so very, very wrong. In another words sometimes you can “Reheat the soufflé”. The Antidote set at the A7 reunion show Dec. 6th at the Knitting Factory in NYC was one of those amazing rare times in life.
17 years ago Antidote broke up in a horrible haze of drugs, alcohol and all around bad feelings. The band just bottomed out and it was time to move on. When I finally walked away from the band I was able to get on with my life and among other things become a fairly successful film producer / director. Eventually everyone in the band (with one notable exception) got clean and sober as well.
When we were asked to play the A7 “reunion” show I was somewhat skeptical. Does anyone give a shit about this band at this point? Would there be people there? Was it going to be worth the hassle of pulling it together and rehearsing for the show? These questions and more were swiftly answered as soon as we set foot on the stage of the Knitting Factory that night. Incredibly the place was packed to the rafters with people and the energy was palatable. It was obvious that Antidote was one of the bands that the kids came to see. As soon as we hit the first chords to “Life As One” the place exploded and thru the whole set the level of excitement was ratcheted higher and higher. Kids swarmed the stage going crazy and knew all the lyrics to all the songs including The High & The Mighty songs that we played. It was a very surreal moment and best of all there was an element that the band didn’t have for the last few years of it’s existence……It was a lot of fun.
To be able to get on stage 17 years later and bust it “Antidote style” clean and sober was and will always be a great moment in my life. I am forever grateful to the kids who came out to the show and represented as well as Torsten who had the insight to film the set. Thanks to him this special moment will now live forever thru the magic of the internet for all to see. I must mention the promoter Bryan Swirsky who busted his ass and took way too much abuse but in the end did an incredible job pulling it all together. However the greatest praise is reserved for my band-mates REA, Zum and The Nunz who truly rose to the occasion many years and lifetimes later and fuckin “Crushed it Antidote style”.
Yes my friend sometimes you CAN go back and “Reheat the soufflé”
Be true to yourself.
Drew Stone | Antidote – Vocals | N.Y.C. May 2009

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

[Kenny Waste – Urban Waste]
I can hardly remember having so much fun, a feeling of Unity between the new fans, who are as cool as Shit, by the way! And us old school who just couldn’t believe we could pull a 25 year old rabbit out of our hat. My life was changed forever, and I know many of us who attended this show felt the same way too. It was much more a reunion than a gig where I, and many of the people I talked to after were on some sort of cloud even a few days after. I now know that punks don’t die, they just get recycled in some sort of time machine.
I never enjoyed a crowd more, and it brought me and my lifetime friends back together forever. Props to all the bands who played, and to Paul from Reagan Youth for scraping me off the floor a couple of times, replacing our amp head in 4 minutes flat and so much more.
To conclude peeps, I felt the love that night, and in our world that doesn’t happen every day, too bad. I guess we’ll just have to Unite again and continue where we left off, as a band, minus one very missed friend Andy Apathy.
Some candles burn very bright and unfortunately “go out” before their time.
No regrets in life, except I wish the band never broke up in the first place.
The 80’s were a special time, but I’m sure they can be topped with many, many more.
Kenny Waste | Urban Waste – Vocals | N.Y.C. May 2009

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[Johnny “Waste” Kelly – Urban Waste]
If I never play another show with so much excitement in it, for the rest of my life, I will be happy with the memories I take from the A7 reunion show. The best part was seeing people I haven’t seen in almost 20yrs. I may not have remembered some of them, but they made sure I did when they were done. Now we have contact again, our scene is back together, in a strange sort of way.
I’ll remember the kids who came out that night to see all the bands, the support from the younger generation was awesome, I’m glad I made some new friends too!!!
The best thing I’ll take away from that night is the feeling of getting back on stage after all those years, plugging in, and counting off Skank. I only expected half the reaction of what really happened. When I heard the whole room singing our lyrics, and sometimes better then us……an incredible feeling, words just can’t describe.
I honestly didn’t want the night end; the high lasted for weeks, and kept me wanting more!!!!
To keep it short, a lot of hard work paid off in a great way that night.
I thank my friends, my family, my kids, and my beautiful wife, for supporting me in what I love to do.
We love our supporters, our fans; whatever you call yourselves…We hope to see you at our shows, and listening to some new material when we come your way.
Most of all, thank you to a society that gives us all these great songs to write…..figure it out.
Johnny “Waste” Kelly | Urban Waste – Guitar | N.Y.C. May 2009

[Jeff Terranova – Up Front]
I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to make it to the show so I did not have an advance ticket or plans. I woke up on Saturday and decided that I wanted to go, but couldn’t find anyone to go with me, so I got in the car solo at around 2:20 pm and heading to NYC. Drove straight to the Knitting Factory arriving at around 4:00 pm. Looped around the club once and got a primo parking space one block down on Leonard Street. Walked into the club which had some art fair or something going on, went to the box office and bought a ticket. The dude only charged me $25.00, so I guess that 2 hours before show time was still considered in advance. I asked him how may tickets were sold and what the capacity was and he said the place held around 600 and there were around 100 tickets unsold.

I left the club and started my walk to VP2. Called Biv on the way and he said that he wasn’t going to be able to make it to the show. Got to VP2, which I haven’t eaten at in like a year, so I was pretty psyched. I ordered my favorite and staple meal, General Tso’s Supreme Chicken! When it arrived, it was all different than it used to be for the past 20 years. No more cashews, a lot of mushrooms, some celery, peppers and carrots and the way the wheat gluten was prepared was totally different… It just didn’t have the same texture as it used to. For years I would tell people that this meal was orgasmic to my taste buds and now it was barely mentionable. I started to wonder if this was setting the tone for the night and if the show was going to be as mediocre as my dinner.

I walked to Generation Records real quick on my way back to the Knitting Factory to take a quick look around for like 10 minutes and got back to the club by 6:10. There was a decent size line down the side walk so I got in it. Was an interesting mix of older dudes and really young punk kids, but no one that I recognized. Got into the club and they hand you a program for the show, which lists the bands, what stage they are on and what approximate time they are scheduled to play. I see that Fatal Rage is on the main stage at 6:30 so I find that stage and catch their entire set, which I thought was pretty solid. As they are playing I run into all of the 76% Uncertain guys, who are up next doing an entire CIA set.

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I got to the front row up against the stage for CIA and they killed it! The entire God, Guts, Guns 7″ and Blackout (76% Uncertain). They plan on playing a few more shows doing the CIA set, most likely in CT in the spring of 2009.

Next up was supposed to be Jerry’s Kids, but they canceled and Antidote’s time was moved up to 8:00. This is when I started to realize that the program in my pocket was useless and I had to constantly walk to the entranceway to see the schedule that was hanging on the wall. I ran into Mike from Welfare Records who was selling merch and was psyched to get copies of the PTL Klub and Psycho cds for air play on the radio show. I bought a t-shirt of the show flyer which has all of the bands listed on it which I thought was pretty cool. I also bought a 76% Uncertain “Estimated Monkey Time” shirt that Bones told me someone in Italy made a batch of and I got a CIA God, Guts, Guns shirt as well. Ran into my friend Alicia, talked a while and then realized that Antidote are going on soon and I don’t want to be carrying all of this shit around, so I went to the car, put the stuff in the trunk and headed back for Antidote. The room was packed wall to wall and I could feel it in my bones that shit was going to be insane, so I hung in the back with Al from the Pist and Rich Stremme from the Deacons. Right before the band started Mark Ryan (Supertouch) comes walking up and hangs out. Antidote start and I get chills down my entire body and my jaw drops as I watch in awe. They were tight as hell and the room was going berserk… kids were diving off of the balcony, it was shear mayhem and I loved every second of it!

Now this is the part of the evening where I had the dilemma of two bands that I wanted to see playing at the same time and honestly this is the only negative thing that I have to say about the show. There were three stages going pretty much non stop, so bands were playing at the same time. I left the main stage to head to the basement to see Lost Generation, meaning that I would be missing Pure Hell.

Lost Gen were great and I am glad that I saw the set. Also, while in the basement I noticed that the Blackout Shoppers were playing and these guys have been emailing with me for the past few years and sending me their stuff to play on the radio show, so I wanted to meet them and try to check out their set. They hooked me up with a copy of their brand new cd called “Pass Out” and said that they were on at 10 past Midnight, so I was going to try and check them out. Back to the main stage, where I was able to catch the last 2 songs of the Pure Hell set. I LOVE the cd, but these songs weren’t doing it for me, so I was glad that I decided to not miss Lost Generation’s set.

The crowd cleared out after Pure Hell and that’s when I headed up to the front row for ISM! This band is/was not very loved and I never understood why, because I have always loved them and was truly excited for their set. I was joined once again by Al from the Pist and Rich Stremme from the Deacons, who were the other rare ones excited to see ISM! They were tight and played all of the songs that I wanted to hear! I was more than happy!

Next up was Urban Waste and Mark Ryan kept telling me how he promised himself not to go into the pit, but knew that he was going to lose it once they started playing. He showed me some cool pics on his iphone of him and Matt Dylan from 1982, hahaha! He also told me that the Urban Waste bass player had died, but the rest of the band was all original guys. They start playing and there goes Mark into the pit, hahaha. Just like Antidote, the room was packed wall to wall and it was sheer madness. 3/4 of the way through their set the guitar amp crapped out and by this point I was extremely hot and tired, so I headed up to the balcony for the rest of their set. Ran into Alicia again, who was with her husband Torsten who was videotaping the set. Had a very good view from the balcony and was also able to take off my jacket and lean it on a post, so I knew that this was where I was going to be staying for the Abused! I thought that Urban Waste were great and tight, despite a bunch of times when there were so many people on stage that the guitar was getting knocked into and cutting out… same thing happened during Antidote, but that’s the magic of a live hardcore show. Sure, we can watch a video after the fact and critique the performance note for note, but you cannot harness the excitement in the air and the magic of being there live.

The Abused! All four original members playing all of their songs live for the 1st time in 25 years. The singer said that their last show was at CB’s on Dec 4th, so they were literally playing almost 25 years to the date! They looked a hell of a lot different then they did on the 7″, but they killed it! The room wasn’t as full as it was for Antidote and Urban Waste and I couldn’t understand why… I mean it was packed, but not that wall to wall packed. I loved it and watched with a dumb smile on my face the whole time. I was standing next to Torsten who’s video camera has a mega zoom, so it was cool from time to time to look over at what he was filming to see some close ups. Tom Lyle showed up during their set because he was scheduled to DJ, so I had the opportunity for a quick hello!

Next, I went downstairs to find where Major Conflict were playing and I ended up in the basement and caught the entire Blackout Shoppers set. I also caught a chair to sit on, which felt amazing after standing up for like 6 hours straight! The Blackout Shoppers were damn good and kids went sick for them… great set!

I headed back upstairs to see what was going on and found out that Major Conflict had played the main stage and that I missed them… damn! On my way though I saw that Major Conflict were selling t-shirts, so of course I bought one. I also spoke with the guitar player briefly and he said that they are definitely going to be playing a few more shows. At this point there were only a few bands left and I decided to check out the Reagan Youth set. They were damn good and very entertaining and by the end of their set it was 1:50 am and I knew that it was time to start heading out.

I went upstairs and caught one Nihilistics song, said goodbye to whoever I knew and walked back to my car. I was happy to see that it wasn’t snowing, since back around 10 pm I noticed some flurries coming down. The section of the street that I parked on was all ripped up due to construction and was closed, so I couldn’t get out. I walked down the block, moved some cones and reversed it down a one way street in order to get out. Made it to the FDR which was moving rather nicely until about 2 miles from the Willis Ave Bridge exit where traffic was shut down due to an accident. 1/2 an hour later I made it to the Willis Ave Bridge and got home by 3:45 am.
I saw most of the bands that I wanted to see, but wish that I could have seen Ultra Violence, Butch Lust, Major Conflict, Sux, Waste Management, Government Warning, Psycho and Disgrace! I did not bring my camera because I only have a mediocre point and shoot and I knew that would not have been able to get close enough for good pics of the bands that I would have wanted pics of. I did snag a CIA and Lost Generation set list which I may scan in and host somewhere in the future. Unlike my disappointing dinner, the show was far from disappointing and I am happy that I decided to be a part of it! There was a dude in the front row of the main stage with three cameras hanging around his neck. I know that he got some amazing shots and he said that they would eventually be on the A7 Reunion Myspace page. I am also looking forward to checking out Torsten’s video footage… his Absolution reunion footage was amazing and I am sure that he got some great shots!

2 Responses

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  1. Djinji Brown said, on 2009/05/27 at 17:47

    This is a beautiful thing!!! To Drew and the members of Antidote,
    this Djinji Brown vocalist from Absolution. First I want to say thank you. For what you may ask? The first gig Absolution played we ended our set with a cover of “Something Must Be Done”. That song inspired me and our band so much. I didn’t have the experience to see y’all at A7 I got downtown kind of late in the game 86′. All I was ever told was that I had missed the ‘hey-days’ of 80-84. It’s funny how as kids we wrote things off as “old” and we were so young. But as city kids from that era most of us were wise beyond our years. As you said, to some of us that life became detrimental. To others it became a catalyst, and to some of us it was just a phase in time. As you saw at your reunion gig,that phase in time for a myriad of reasons lives in the hearts of kids/adults in the “now” and our music is part of the soundtrack to a very special period in NYC youth culture. I didn’t know how much Absolution was loved until damn near 20 years later,
    Like you said, when the band broke up I just walked away. To get up there after all those years – words cannot describe. I feel you on that one!!!!! And big thanks to Torsten for being there to capture such important and memorable moments. Thank you.
    Here’s a little outro lyric dedicated to Antidote.
    — We lived, some died , we laughed we cried , we shaved and we dyed our hair to scare…. 20 + years later some of those feelings are still there, most of them are just in different forms….”Something must be done!” and it was,
    That’s how we survived the storms!!!”
    Peace and Love with a raised fist> To the Antidote Crew
    Djinji Brown “Absolution”

  2. eating crow said, on 2009/05/26 at 08:00

    thanks for sharing all this.fantastic stuff.

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