One doesn’t often associate hardcore/punk music as the method to bridge the gap between generations, but last Saturday’s Sick Of It All Show at Webster Hall proved that young and old can find their harmonious centers somewhere at the bottom of a mosh pit. In celebration of their 30 year career, Sick Of It All invited fellow hardcore bands, Street Dogs, King Ly Chee, Murphy’s Law and Manipulate, to join them for their final performance on their four-city anniversary tour.
What was the most interesting aspect of the night was who was in attendance to witness the historic event. It wasn’t the skater crowd with their wallet chains dangling or the heavily tattooed, bearded metal heads donning their Slayer t-shirts one last time or even the retro-punkers wandering up from the Bowery, their piercings all a-glitter in the stage lights. The main attraction was the small children ranging in age from 4 to 10 hovering on the sides of the stage with their little ears carefully shielded by mega-headphones in pink and blue. These mini-fans were the offspring of the grown men taking the stage to celebrate their many years of head banging and circle pits. Watching these fresh-faced, giggling children cheering on their fathers as they commanded the attention of their dedicated fans for four glorious hours gave the night a warmth that is not often found at a hardcore show. And as the evening progressed, the kids became part of the entertainment—a sentimental passing of the baton to the world’s youth.
Riz Farooqi of Hong Kong’s King Ly Chee was the first to scoop up his daughter, Sofia, from the side of the stage and present her to the audience. His intention was not to elicit saccharine cheers from the crowd at her cuteness but rather to make an impactful statement. “I just want to say one thing. These are the faces of two Muslims,” he proclaimed to the crowd as his daughter waved sweetly with her angelic smile. “We wouldn’t hurt anyone. Remember that.” An appropriate message to send out into the universe especially after recent events in this country where judgments based on skin color and religion are resulting in senseless acts of violence.
The lead singer of Murphy’s Law, Jimmy Gestapo, brought Brooklyn Larry’s daughter on stage. With her pigtails swinging in perfect time with the drums, she belted out the lyrics with her tiny lungs and did her best to emulate her father’s irreverent passion for hard rock entertainment. A slightly different interpretation of hardcore was presented later in the set by young Tristan, who led the audience in a rousing version of his own tune, “Everyone Is A Poophead.” While Tristan may not be poised to take the airwaves by storm just yet, the crowd may very well have witnessed the first performance by the next king of hardcore. Stranger things have happened in the world of music.
Lastly, as the headliners took the stage and Sick Of It All played the final songs of the night, Webster Hall literally exploded in a tumult of stage diving and moshing. What was showcased most during the set was the camaraderie amongst all the bands who performed that night as they joined their heroes on stage. Black balloons fell from the ceiling during the finale as if we had just elected our next leader of the free world and the venue was in full pandemonium. The formidable Sick Of It All has been able to mainstream a fan base with sheer talent and will power in the last 30 years and it was truly awe inspiring to watch them perform. Perhaps amongst the children and adults gathered together that evening to celebrate, Sick Of It All’s music inspired the kind of true leader this world needs, one who will unite us all and break us free from restrictions while setting us back on the path to enlightenment. Or perhaps the true visionary was young Tristan who summed up the feeling we all get from time to time and seems to be right on the money lately: everyone is a poophead. Whatever the truth may be, and time will tell, the belief we must all hold dear is that music can unite us as one and together we can do great things.
Article: Hannah Soule
Psst… his name is Tristan
My son “Justin” is 8 and his name is actually Tristan. Ella, the beautiful girl that got to sing with James, (affectionately known by all children who know and love him, as “uncle Jimmy”) was flanked by her actual parents on the stage taking photos of her performance. He has no children.