Northwest Hardcore

Posts tagged “chain of strength

Guest post on In Effect Hardcore

RFRFRF

When I was in Philly in the mid 90s—likely at one of a number of cool record shops on South Street—I picked up a hardcopy of a fantastic zine called In Effect, based out of NY. This was before the internet took hold and back then zines were basically holy canon for HC kids. As with all the good zines from that era, I reverently combed through the pages of In Effect dozens of times. Reading and re-reading the interviews with No Redeeming Social Value, Breakdown, Agnostic Front, Inhuman and other prominent NYHC acts of the time.

Fast forward 20 years and Chris Wynne is STILL running this incredible zine, but from cyberspace. The nostalgia factor makes me miss turning those actual physical paper pages and re-reading reviews, spotlights and interviews I’ve already read 15 times, but the current format allows for so much more content and he has a strong team of contributors that help keep this site running strong.

in effect 2

Over the past few months, I’ve been honored to write some reviews for InEffectHardcore.com and to be involved in some way with a project that has played an important part in my HC wonder years. When Chris asked if I could contribute a little somethin’ from Rain Fest, I was excited to write about a HC fest that assuredly plays just as important a role in a lot of young NWHC kids’ lives (including this 38 year old kid). That “little somethin’” actually turned into a pretty big project; a 3k+ word overview of the weekend with tons of pictures from five or six different photographers, as well as a ton of Instagram hang-pics. Please, check it out at: http://www.ineffecthardcore.com/features/rainfest-2015/

Make sure to bookmark InEffectHardcore.com and add it to your regular browsing rotation. It’s a great site and Chris is a diehard Seahawks fan, so bonus!

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Munich: A Place For Covers

CBK Champion Covers

One of the funnest shows I’ve ever played had the potential to be a huge bust.

Champion toured Europe with Comeback Kid in summer 2004. Promises Kept was fresh off the presses and Wake the Dead would be released shortly. Munich had a pretty small scene at the time and the show was in a tiny venue, which is usually fun, but the stage had a really weird setup. It was basically just a series of platforms of varying height set up awkwardly enough so that you couldn’t really move at all. The room was too small to play on the floor, so you had to play on these artsy platforms.

The show was supposed to be a three-band bill, but the opening band canceled. So it was just Champion and CBK. We were all a bit apprehensive about the coming show, expecting a really awkward vibe. As various members of both bands recognized the potential for a less than stellar evening, we started to discuss what we could do to make the night memorable.

We threw out the idea of doing some band-member swapping and maybe some punk rock karaoke, drawing out a list of potential covers that individuals knew. Here’s how the plan played out:

London Tube Crew

Champion took the stage and played two songs. Following which, Jim said into the mic, “We’ll be right back, CBK is going to play a few songs.” We all handed our guitars/drums/mic to CBK who played two songs. Then they handed our gear back to us and we played two more… then they played two more… We each played four of our own songs (two at a time), then the real fun began.

I don’t remember all of the covers we played, but various members of Champion and CBK morphed a number of makeshift lineups and tons of different people got to sing different covers. Marco from Avocado Booking/Paint the Town Red sang Chain of Strength, Peter from Team Killer sang Pride, by Madball. Our roadie sang Minor Threat… we also did Glue, by SSD; Alone in a Crowd; Gorilla Biscuits; Young Til I Die; another Chain of Strength song; Ready to Fight, by Negative Approach… I believe we were one person short of even doing Damnit by Blink 182!

It was such a memorable night. There weren’t a lot of kids there and the stage was a mess. But that didn’t matter. Every kid in that room had a smile from ear to ear as they piled on and sung along.

I’ve never been one to tout my own bands for greatness or anything, but one thing that I’m really proud of, when looking back at Champion’s legacy, is that we had a knack for turning potential bust situations into incredible memories. It was all about the attitude of; we’re going to put everything we have into this show no matter what the circumstance is and we’re going to make this night memorable.

I see so many bands that blow off smaller shows, or let their disappointment show from the stage and that bums me out. If there’s one kid that paid to see your band, or even made the effort to leave their apartment to come watch you play, you need to check yourself and check your ego at the door and play your heart out. If you want to be a rock star, learn a few more chords and play another style of music.

I can say with complete sincerity that Champion never mailed in one single show, out of the hundreds we played. In fact, some of the smallest shows we played, or in the weirdest venues, were some of the most memorable, Here are a few snapshots:

  • At a show in Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada we played in front of three kids. The opening band was a stand-up comedian…. who wasn’t funny. We were going off so hard at that show that I broke two tuning pegs off of my guitar, after the headstock ricocheted off of Aram’s forehead. When he regained consciousness, we picked up the song right where he left off (though concussed Aram definitely wasn’t playing the right song…).
  • After missing a Ferry to Gothenburg, Sweden and arriving at the venue (a boat) hours after the show ended, Champion and The Promise played to each other and five kids who stuck around after hours, in case we showed up. I remember Aram (who had a wireless) running to the back of the long boat, mid-song, then running back and sliding in on his knees, Marty McFly style. Pretty awesome.
  • We played a weird venue in Melbourne, Australia that was the upstairs of a dance club. There were tons of kids there, but the venue was set up so the band was playing behind a railing and down below the crowd. It was a very awkward scene and would be easy for any hardcore band to be discouraged by this set up, but I remember climbing the rail mid-song and stagediving UP to the crowd which stood three feet above us. Jim ran all over that club, popping up in front of random people and screaming in their faces. He even went out onto the catwalk on the other side of the glass wall behind us and above the massive thriving dance club. I almost expected him to pull an Eddie Vedder and swing from the rafters above the clubbers.

These are just a few off the top of my head, but putting 110% into tiny shows in tough situations was definitely not exclusive to us. If you have any fun memories of your band playing wild weird shows, please share them in the comments section. Or if you have good memories of seeing great HC bands kill it in less than ideal situations, please share. Would love to read em!

 

Thanks to Scott Wade for the photos!

 

UPDATE: Andy found this picture of our covers set list from that night.. We added a few more songs, as noted above, but here it is:
covers