Drug Church, Angel Du$t & Fiddlehead @ BK Monarch was one for the books
To paraphrase something Patrick Kindlon said on stage last night (2/23), this was one of those shows that people will be talking about for years. It was the Brooklyn stop of a sold-out, four-show run that Drug Church, Angel Du$t, and Fiddlehead are in the midst of, a run that finds all three bands rotating who headlines, with hand-picked openers each night. Fiddlehead's Pat Flynn and Angel Du$t's Justice Tripp all talked about how special this run is too, all alluding to the fact that Drug Church, Angel Du$t and Fiddlehead are all bands that are rooted in the hardcore scene but unafraid of expanding their music in various directions, and all bands that inspire one another. As their friend and peer Ian Shelton of likeminded band Militarie Gun said on a recent episode of our podcast, "we’re going towards the original intent of hardcore," when bands as musically diverse as the Minutemen, Bad Brains, and Hüsker Dü all played major roles in shaping the genre, "instead of this formulaic thing."
The Brooklyn show was at new-ish venue Brooklyn Monarch, which has a "flexible capacity" of 1000 and seemed as packed as possible last night. When I showed up, a little bit before the show started, the line wrapped around the block and it took about 25 minutes to get in, meaning I missed most of openers Prize, but from what I did catch, they sounded great. They were picked by Drug Church and hail from Drug Church's hometown of Albany, and they've got a noisy, Quicksand-y vibe and had a lot of power and presence on stage. All three of the main acts praised Prize on stage, including Justice who made a joke about how "back in my day" opening bands weren't that good.
Fiddlehead were up next, and they immediately set a tone that would be matched all night. They split their set between 2021's Between the Richness and 2018's Springtime and Blind, and briefly reached back to 2014 debut EP Out of the Bloom, and they were on fire right off the bat. The band were as loud and tight as you could ask for, and Pat Flynn had so much command over the huge crowd, which was full of people stage-diving and yelling along. Like his previous band Have Heart, Fiddlehead is a very personal outlet for Pat, and he talked on stage about how punk and hardcore have always been there to give him strength, and how he's used these Fiddlehead songs to open up about topics that are very near and dear to him, like the death of his father, the birth of his son, and the death of a woman who Pat referred to as a great friend and a beautiful mother. As most Fiddlehead fans probably know, much of Between the Richness is about his son, but he also mentioned on stage that he now has a baby daughter, and he hasn't been able to write her an album yet, so instead he honored her by wearing his "F" hat, the first letter of her first name. (He also said on stage that Fiddlehead's next album is coming this year.) Other shoutouts he gave on stage included one to his friend's pizza place Decades Pizza, which gets its official Ridgewood, NY home at 690 Woodward Ave on February 28, and he talked about how one of his favorite hardcore lyrics is a line by Trapped Under Ice, who had just headlined a sold-out show at the same venue a few weeks earlier.
After Fiddlehead it was Trapped Under Ice vocalist Justice Tripp's other band Angel Du$t, who also brought up the TUI show and said he saw some familiar faces in this crowd of people who were also at that one. He also stressed his love of the variety of types of people in attendance, including artists from other genres and the comedian who had just stage dove with a cane, aka Ian Fidance. Angel Du$t opened with their rock ballad "Love is the Greatest," but if you thought this was going to be a chill show, you thought wrong. From there, they went right into their Rock the Fuck On Forever rager "Toxic Boombox," and the energy in the room went right back up to an 11, with stage-diver after stage-diver. The set was a really great mix of Angel Du$t's more aggressive earlier records and their softer newer records, and even though those records can sound pretty drastically different, it all made perfect sense in the context of their live show. Angel Du$t are just a limitless, energetic band, and this was the best I've ever seen them. Justice talked on stage about how much he loves aggressive music, and before going into two of their most aggressive songs of the night, he shouted out local legends Agnostic Front, and said we're lucky to be alive during a time that they're still a band and encouraged people to go see them any chance they get. (Not the first time he talked about his love of classic NYHC on stage in NYC this year.)
Finally, around 11 PM, last band of the night Drug Church took the stage. This late on a weeknight, after two truly killer sets, you might wonder if Drug Church would have any trouble keeping the energy in the room as high as it had been, but leave it to Drug Church to just make that energy level even higher. The last time Drug Church headlined in NYC was at Market Hotel last March, where they went especially hard and where Patrick seemed genuinely in awe of Drug Church selling out what was then their largest NYC show to date. So it was pretty amazing to see them going even harder for more than twice as any people less than a year later. They gave the people what they want, busting out fan faves like "Grubby," "Avoidarama," "World Impact," "Super Saturated," "Bliss Out," "Million Miles of Fun," and more, and whipping the whole room into a frenzy. Patrick is just as much of a performer as he is his own hypeman, and he put just as much energy into getting the crowd bouncing and stage-diving as he did into singing (not that the rowdy audience needed much encouragement). Patrick, who's a popular podcast host in addition to the vocalist of multiple bands, has become known just as much for his sardonic sense of humor as for his anthemic bark, and he brought plenty of that to Drug Church's show last night too. As Drug Church's very sweaty set was coming to a close, Patrick announced, "Someday this won't be our closer... but that day is not today!" before going in to an all-time-high rendition of their biggest fan fave "Weed Pin." It was pretty clear at the Monarch show that Drug Church already have some songs that could be "the new 'Weed Pin,'" and talking about Drug Church's upcoming album on the Behind the Vinyl podcast, he said, "If the new record isn't wall to wall singles, I'm not singing on it." Whether or not he was being a little hyperbolic, it won't be a surprise at all if Drug Church come through with even more bangers that could fill that spot.
The Drug Church/Angel Du$t/Fiddlehead run continues at Baltimore's Ottobar tonight (2/24) at Brockton, MA's Badlands VFW on Saturday (2/25). After the run ends, Patrick will be back in Brooklyn when two of the podcasts that he co-hosts, Axe to Grind and Worst Possible Timeline, do a live taping at Saint Vitus (2/26), alongside Overnight Drive. Right after that, Drug Church begin a tour with Prince Daddy & the Hyena, Anxious, and Webbed Wing, including shows in Long Island, Hamden, Albany, and more.
Fiddlehead will be back on the road opening Citizen's Youth 10th anniversary shows, including Queens' Knockdown Center on June 14. Angel Du$t have a tour with Life's Question and Jivebomb in May.
Check out some fan-shot videos and Fiddlehead and Drug Church's setlists below...
Fiddlehead @ Brooklyn Monarch - 2/23/23 Setlist (via)
Get My Mind Right
Stay in the Blue
Heart to Heart
Drug Church @ Brooklyn Monarch - 2/23/23 Setlist (via)
But Does it Work?
Unlicensed Hall Monitor
Million Miles of Fun