Posted in music | pictures on November 7, 2008

Photos by Tim Griffin, Words By Black Bubblegum

Bad Brains

Bad Brains

My night was planned. Rival Schools at Mercury. Thats it. Then Rival Schools done had to go and muck it up... announcing that they would open for Bad Brains that same night. So I craiglist-ed my tix, and Bad Brains (their second of two shows in a row at the same venue) it was (11/6/2008).

My evening started halfway through the Trouble Andrew set, and the crowd was having none of it. The pro-snowboarder's (mostly) skatepunk was NOT a hit with the overwhelmingly straight-ahead hardcore (with a dash of reggae, natch) fan base.

"Worst Black Flag ever," said the shirtless man.

It wasn't THAT bad. And as a matter of fact (guilty pleasure alert) I kind of dug the last song ("Drink?") which DID remind me alot of Black Flag's "TV Party" without all that pesky intensity/fun. What was the "decider" that turned me to the dark side? During the "Drink" song, a guy on stage dripping in gold chains and sporting an oversized skull mask "shotgunned" (or rather, attempted to) beer after beer through the mask.

Rival Schools were reliably great, and Irving Plaza was much more forgiving on Ian Love's guitar flourishes (my main complaint from Knitting Factory). Sticking to their setlist from my last two encounters with them (the BV Day Show at Knitting Factory and Syndicate's CMJ shindig), the boys kicked off their set with with "Travel By Telephone" and closed with "Used For Glue" and their cover of The Smiths' "How Soon Is Now?". The crowd was much easier on the hardcore veterans.

Bad Brains finally blasted off after 10:30. Clad in a sportcoat with some sort of body-armor underneath, HR walked calmly to the mic with hands together (in praise of Jah?), and ripped into "Attitude" from the self-titled ROIR record. The floor shook. Over the next hour, the band ran through other selections from the self-titled record ("Sailin' On", "Pay To Cum"), I Against I ("Re-Ignition", "Sacred Love") and even Quickness (Daryl began "Soul Craft" with the album's "verbal" intro), with the audience becoming absolutely unglued. In between the hardcore mayhem (and ensuing mosh-pit antics), Bad Brains slowed it up with reggae such as "I & I Survive"... adding delay to the drums, vox, and guitar tracks for that extra dubby feel.

But it wasn't all chocolate waterfalls and rainbows: The mix for Bad Brains was extremely muddy from my vantage point, favoring Daryl Jenifer's tremendously booming basslines instead of balancing with Dr. Know's ripping fretwork. HR mumbled through lyrics and was off at times. Their set was only one hour long, including the encore, "I Against I".

But for every ounce of criticism that I could possibly lay, postive energy was returned tenfold from the electric crowd, and I just could not help but be swept up in it too.

So what did I learn? A few things:
1) It is possible to take a picture while crowdsurfing (see below) (Tim Griffin take note)
2) Old hardcore dudes still mosh.
3) Bad Brains have still got it.
4) Daryl Jenifer is the coolest motherfucker on the planet.

More pictures, and partial setlists, below...

Rival Schools...

Rival Schools

Rival Schools

Rival Schools

Rival Schools

Rival Schools

Rival Schools

Rival Schools

Rival Schools

Rival Schools

Rival Schools

Rival Schools

Rival Schools

Rival Schools

Bad Brains


Bad Brains...

Bad Brains

Bad Brains

Bad Brains

Bad Brains

Bad Brains

Bad Brains

Bad Brains

Bad Brains

Bad Brains

Bad Brains

Bad Brains

Bad Brains

Bad Brains

Bad Brains

Bad Brains

Bad Brains

Bad Brains

Bad Brains

A guy (not Tim Griffin) (obviously) attempting to take a picture while crowdsurfing...

Bad Brains

Bad Brains

Bad Brains

Bad Brains

Rival Schools


Rival Schools Partial Setlist

Travel by Telephone
Everything Has It's Point
High Acetate
Undercovers On
Good Things
?
Used For Glue
How Soon Is Now?
Bad Brains Partial Setlist
Attitude
Sailin' On
I & I Survive
Banned In DC
Soulcraft
Sacred Love
Re-Ignition
Pay To Cum
I Against I
Pictures from night one are HERE.

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Comments (18)

Anyone have the Mercury Setlist?

Posted by Joe | November 7, 2008 4:43 PM

Shortass setlist. Did bad brains play for 15 mins?

Posted by Anonymous | November 7, 2008 5:56 PM

the term "partial" didn't cut it, huh?

Posted by Anonymous | November 7, 2008 6:58 PM

Went in with low expectations for the Brains after the last few times I've seen them and they were way better than any of their recent gigs. Doc, Darryl and Earl always kill it, but if you know anything about HR...he's fucking gone. He was gone last night too, but seemed to be enjoying himself. Plus the crowd energy was Dope.

Not really sure why people are so on Rival Schools' dick. I liked Quicksand too, but they're just generic to my ears. Walter sounded like ass last night too.

Posted by Jewbastard | November 7, 2008 7:07 PM

Brooklyn Vegan doesn't seem to realize Rival Schools suck.

Posted by your kidding me | November 7, 2008 9:58 PM

agreed. F that band.

Posted by Anonymous | November 8, 2008 9:12 AM

victorian vampires
with elaborate designs

Posted by Anonymous | November 8, 2008 10:59 AM

I like Rival Schools. The Mercury show was a lot of fun.

Posted by Anonymous | November 8, 2008 11:24 AM

Yeah, the band is still great, but HR has lost it. Not worth the cost of the ticket.

Posted by Anonymous | November 8, 2008 1:52 PM

mercury show was great

Posted by Anonymous | November 8, 2008 2:59 PM


The pics are great. Looks like a good time was had.

Posted by new rap songs | November 8, 2008 4:12 PM

Sorry... Bad Brains are not the same. HR has lost it completely!!!

Still love them but not worth the price at all!

Posted by toby | November 8, 2008 4:54 PM

I got bad brain last night but it wasn't at Irving Plaza.

Posted by Pablo | November 8, 2008 8:44 PM

that first photo makes HR look like he should be in a straightjacket

Posted by Anonymous | November 9, 2008 9:43 AM

Any insights re the guy who dove into to the pit from the balcony? more like flipped actually...

Posted by Anonymous | November 9, 2008 3:46 PM

Darryl Jenifer IS the coolest motherfucker on the planet.

ROIR is coming out w/ his solo album next spring, so watch out for that!!

-anna@roir

Posted by anna @ roir | November 10, 2008 12:21 PM

Rival Schools at Mercury were awesome. As was the The King Left. I'd never heard them before, but they definitely held their own.Sorta glad i missed the Irving show.

Posted by Anonymous | November 10, 2008 1:53 PM

I agree with the sound mix sucking, you could barely hear the guitar. the energy was good but HR sucked the life out of those songs. he just doesn't care anymore, I think he just wants to be a reggae singer. Is rival schools the band that played before them? I concur, they sucked.

Posted by Michael Stuart | November 10, 2008 3:01 PM

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