Absolution Reunion

For the first time in a very long time I drove up to this show with my friend John. We hit a ton of rain on the way up but, thankfully, by the time we got to New York City it was gone besides some lightning. John and I caught up on what each other was up to and laughed at the antics of the world around us.

On the way up we listened to Dave K’s 1988-1990 NYHC mix.

Upon arriving in Hoboken and trying to find a parking spot for probably around twenty to thirty minutes I quickly realized why I can’t stand that city. Yuppies and “norms” everywhere going to bars and other social gathering. On the way home we had to watch adults stumble out of bars bombed out of their minds. Pathetic. Thankfully, we went directly to the PATH train and got to 9th street pretty quickly where we met up with our friend Dave.

A cab ride later we were in front of the club. I have seen a variety of bands at The Knitting Factory, from 7 Seconds to Kristin Hersh’s solo act. These days I am not really a people person, even worse than before, so when we got in the club I tried to make my way inside as quick as possible to check out whoever was playing.

We ended up getting inside while Maximum Penalty was setting us, which was fine by me. I had not seen MP in many years (I think the last time was in 1996 with Hogan’s Heroes and Vision…) so I did not know what to expect from them. The records they released in the nineties weren’t too hot but I love their demo from 1989, which is one of the best attempts at combining Bad Brains style hardcore with Alleyway Crew style mosh parts.

Despite some new songs that were a bit on the long side, I thought MP played well enough. They busted out most of the demo plus the songs from the Blackout! compilation. A huge pile on for Acceptance ended their set in excellent fashion.

Now this a reunion I just did not think I would ever see. After that haphazardly put together discography CD in the late 90’s (98? 99?) I perceived bad blood between band members and the chance of a reunion being near zero. I made my way up front and slid off to the side where some friends stood so I would be out of the way of the kickboxing (take it back to the nineties, please) and other jerky bullshit. My original plans had been to dance and dive and generally have fun but after running earlier in the day my stomach never settled (at the time I was a little under the weather) so I decided to pass. Soon enough Gavin came out along with Sergio (Collapse, Quicksand), who was filling in on bass, and their fill in drummer Doug (formerly of Slapshot, Speak 714, and other bands).

After a few minutes of tuning Djinji came out to a rather loud round of applause. Quickly they were flying into As We Are (no intro?!?) and from there they proceeded to play a pretty good set. In the beginning they were a little sloppy but that changed after a few songs. For some reason Gavin’s guitar was really, really, low in the mix for a handful of songs as well. Djinji had great things to say between songs and the band went off hard.

I was hoping on the way out to find Djinji so I could mention how much I appreciate his father’s playing with John Coltrane on the Ascension album, but the band had disappeared into the backstage area. Ascension is one of my favorite Coltrane albums. There is an excellent reissue CD from a few years back which combines both versions (as the story goes, I guess, one version came out but was recalled and the second version was then released in subsequent pressings) onto one CD. I tend to like the second version (they are long suites) more, but you can’t go wrong with either one.

After getting the cold shoulder from a few long time “friends” I decided to go find Dave and John and start heading back to New Jersey. We ended up at the World Trade Center PATH station and from there parted ways and headed home. Absolution and Maximum Penalty are playing ABC No Rio in a few weeks. I don’t think I am going to be able to make it, but I would advise others to check them out while they can. There are rumors of a more organized discography CD in the works as well.