• Agnostic Front With Armed & Hammered/Deadmouth - Hard Luck Bar, Toronto, Ontario June 15, 2013.





    A whole lot of people have a whole lot of opinions of New York's Agnostic Front, but one thing is certain....they are the hardest working band in hardcore today. What some would call "late to the party", the band first made a name for themselves with 1983's "United Blood" EP, the pioneering foray into what would become known as the New York Hardcore sound, and quickly followed it up with the classic "Victim in Pain". While other hardcore bands of the day were singing about politics and their need to maintain a straight edge, Agnostic Front were informing people about life on the city streets, sleeping in squats, and maintaining a sense of unity and brotherhood with their friends and family. Though the membership in the AF club has changed frequently, the core has largely remained the same in the form of vocalist Roger Miret, whose unique delivery compliments the bizarre and diverse character that is guitarist Vinnie Stigma.









    Like AC/DC (Yes, I just made that comparison), you won't find too many differing themes on Agnostic Front records; the streets, family, friends, and above all, hardcore, all as it pertains to their great city of New York. But like AC/DC, they somehow deliver the same ideas over and over again without it ever getting tired. Perhaps a large part of that are the changing members, which keeps the delivery fresh; most recently with the addition of Inhuman guitarist Joseph James, who brings a more crossover/thrash metal sound to Agnostic Front's last two albums, "Warriors", and, "My Life, My Way".

    And so, fresh from playing a huge festival in Montebello, Quebec, Agnostic Front graced the stage of the Hard Luck Club in Toronto with their presence. It didn't look like it was going to be a good time, at first. Earlier in the day, one of our party had bowed out, leaving two of us wondering if we were going to make the drive into the city or not. Arriving early enough to get in and see the opening band, we found out that the Hard Luck Bar didn't have scanners in place for the online tickets that we had purchased. Heading back out for a beverage at another club, we returned a half hour later to find that the situation had been resolved.









    As we got in the door, we were greeted by friend and AF guitarist Joseph James, who sincerely thanked us for making the drive into town. Things were about as down to earth as they could be, with Roger behind the merch table, and openers Deadmouth ripping into some crazy hardcore on the stage. Fortunately, being a Saturday night, the band was chock-full of paying customers, ranging from huge skinheads to rockabilly types to a few snappily-dressed Hells Angels and their friends, and the vibe was one of excitement. Following Deadmouth, local favourites Armed & Hammered took to the stage and blasted everyone's eardrums with some blistering punk rock, making conversation next to impossible.










    It looked like it was going to be a swell night after all, but Joseph James was unsure; "Our soundcheck was really good. REALLY good. That's never a good sign. When a soundcheck is shit, we rock the place. When it's good, we're terrible". Fortunately, Mr. James was incorrect. As the band took to the stage and launched into "Eliminator", the sound, the musicianship, and the crowd were all in perfect synch. Barely taking a breath to rest, they crashed into "Dead To Me", before breaking out crowd singalong, "For My Family". Finally stopping for some in-between-song banter, Vinnie Stigma cracked jokes, ruffled hair in the front row, high-fived everyone, and thanked everyone for coming out before they went back to the older school with, "Friend or Foe", followed by "Victim in Pain" and, "Blind Justice". But it was during the Iron Cross cover "Crucified" that the crowd peaked, shouting along with the chorus and violently waving their firsts in the air.

    Addressing the fact that the clock had rolled into Father's Day, Miret paid tribute to the dads in the audience by saying that "Anyone can be a father, but not everyone can be a dad" and dedicated the next song to "those dads who actually care about their kids". Not showing any sign of losing steam, they blasted through "Power", "Your Mistake" and a few others before paying tribute to CBGBs and The Ramones with "Blitzkrieg Bop". Finally, "A Mi Manera" and "That's Life" rounded out the set, and Agnostic Front were done, proving that even after 30 years, New York Hardcore is still going strong.





















    Comments 4 Comments
    1. Ian Jane's Avatar
      Ian Jane -
      No theramin?That pic of Vinnie looking green is rad.
    1. Mark Tolch's Avatar
      Mark Tolch -
      No theramin. Haha. Thanks for fixing the pictures, homes.
    1. Ian Jane's Avatar
      Ian Jane -
      Hey, if I need to fix pictures for my family and or my friends, I can do that. Those broken links gotta gotta gotta go.
    1. Mark Tolch's Avatar
      Mark Tolch -
      Hahahahaha, awesome.

      It was a great show. I wish that I could've gotten some shots of the crowd. There were a lot of characters there. Hells Angels showed up with these crazy hot chicks, and they had this guy with him...I'm assuming he was some kind of security for the older HA guy....who was about 7 feet tall and 350 pounds of solid muscle and ink. Scary as hell. Security was also carrying people out left and right, who were way too hammered to even stand.