Sunday, November 15, 2009

Didn't want to play your games...

So the Dutch Hardcore band Backfire played its last shows this weekend. Now I gotta say I've never been into Backfire or any of the bands of their M-Town Rebels scene, and I guess that the only Backfire song I recall listening to on purpose was a live recording of them covering AF's 'victim in pain' with Freddy Madball on vocals. I won't deny the fact that Backfire was a hardworking band that has influenced a lot of people's lives, but let's just say it's never been my cup of tea and leave it at that.
I did however go to Backfire's last show in Antwerp the other day, but I guess I was there with a different agenda than most visitors of this sold out show. I was there to see New York Hardcore legends Breakdown play their first European show in over 8 years. If I remember correctly I saw Breakdown play one of the first Resistance tours in 2001. At that time the Resistance tour was just a name for three bands that toured Europe sponsored by Eastpak, and in no way resembled the travelling circus it is today. Back then I wasn't really familiar with Breakdown: they had just released that Battle Hymns For An Angry Planet full-length, and I wasn't into that at all so I had never bothered to check out their other releases... It wasn't until a few years later when I got schooled on Breakdown's back-catalogue, and stumbled upon classic Hardcore recordings such as Blacklisted and their demos. So I was hoping for a second chance to experience a Breakdown liveshow on Friday night at the Trix. I feel obliged to insert a thank you to Rudi for letting us in even though we didn't have tickets, and while I'm at it: shoutouts to Hoya Roc of Madball/Dmize fame for gracing us with his presence and supporting his NYHC brothers.
Now I gotta say up front that I have developed a profound hatred for this club in its short existance. I just don't like the general atmosphere and let's not get started on the sound quality. I have literally never experienced a good sounding live set in the Trix. This may just be me but I've seen bands like the Cro-Mags, Kickback and Fucked Up play this club and neither of these (usually great) bands has been able to impress me... And I'm sad to report that Breakdown didn't impress much neither.
It wasn't so much the band itself I guess, as their setlist was great and they played relatively tight. Mike Dijan was definitely into his playing and portrayed more youthful energy then you'd expect from someone who has been doing bands for as long as I can remember, and must be in his late 30-ties(?).
I'll blame it for the most part on the worst sound quality known to man (ATTN: Trix management - get rid of that soundguy!), but I gotta say I was not impressed and I just wasn't feeling it... Breakdown's set seemed to lack the rage and energy their recordings hit you in the face with, and which I've alyways considered an important factor in this band.
Their genuine frustration, authentic anger and their blatant disregard for subtleties is what sets Breakdown apart from every mediocre band that wants to come off as hard, tough and pissed off. Besides authenticity, Breakdown has another advantage on those bands: they have a lot of groove in their riffs, which keeps the songs interesting to listen to and at the same time causes the hard parts to sound even harder...

Out of respect for Breakdown I listened to Dissed And Dismissed, Blacklisted and both the 1987 and 1988 demo's today, in an attempt to wash away the sour taste Friday's show left in my mouth. I now can safely say that Jeff Perlin shouting "all... I... ask!" still gets me charged up!
This makes it more than justified for today's Quote Of The Day to be dedicated to Breakdown. Known for his less-than-positive song lyrics, I've only been able to relate to most of Jeff Perlin's words up to a certain extent. However the first few lines to 'sick people' have always struck home with me, as they are not negative as much as they are realistic. If that makes any sense at all.

Quote Of The Day:
I'm just grabbing for something to hold me up
in a world disintegrating around me.
Breakdown - 'sick people' - 1987 Demo


  1. Amen to this post.

    Erik T.

  2. Thanks Erik! What happenend to Electric Voodoo?
    I just notice Mike Dijan looks younger now than he does on that bandphoto that was taken 10 (?) years ago!