My first show of 1997 was in Bordentown, NJ at the Fieldsboro VFW (which apparently doesn’t exist anymore?). When I began teaching at BCC in 2009, I noticed I drove near Bordentown every day on my commute and it always made me think of the shows I went to at this venue (Also, Vincenttown. Do the punks still slam there?). I missed the two other Floorpunch shows here (one with Rain On The Parade and Vision, and the other with Human Remains and Earth Crisis).
I went to this show with a bunch of friends, two of which, John Piorkowski and Justin “Ferret” Bragg, I did Parade Brigade Fanzine with a few years later. Our friend Peter (brother of Ian, who was in Hogan’s Heroes/OS101, etc) drove because, while I had my license, and maybe John did too, I don’t think either of us had cars by then. I don’t think I got mine for another few months because I didn’t turn 17 until September of 96.
We got to the show pretty early and I met up with some people I had met via the net. I remember someone with us being a bit weirded out by that for some reason. OH, and I met Dave K at this show!!! I had been a massive fan of Hardware Fanzine for a few years and saw their table, Dave’s Star Trek: Deep Space Nine hat, and knew I had a friend for life. I don’t think I officially “met” Brett until that summer. This show was also, I think when I met my friend Mickey and Tim Shaw too.
Last Straw was a pretty generic youth crew style band who did a demo. Members of this band have gone on to a lot of other stuff. Max and Brett did Game x Plan Fanzine for a few issues. I remember Brett was the person who tracked down Jules from Side By Side at some point too. I haven’t seen either of them in years. I heard Brett is a lawyer now. Alex Soudah was also in 97a for a bit and then did A Death In The Family with their other band member Chris Alpino, who has done a lot of design over the years.
9 Lives also apparently played this show, but I have no memory of them. They had the singer of Black Train Jack. Uh, no thank you.
Bladecrasher was the band that got people moving around a bit. They were a fast, um, what we now call “82 hardcore,” style band from Virginia. Their singer bounced around the room and really got the crowd going. People these days may remember him better as the vocalist for No Justice. They were great and did a demo and then a 7″ on a new label called Youngblood.
I had been tipped off a few days before about Uprise being from my home area of Morris County, so I really wanted to check them out. They were good, moshy, hardcore and their “Morris County Youth Crew” really repped them hard at the show. They did a couple of covers, but I cannot remember at all. Uprise died out that summer, but members of the band have gone on to be in Dead Nation, Tear Itr Up, Splitting Headache, etc. I still see Matt, Steve, and Greg from time to time.
The band I was looking forward to seeing the most, oddly enough, was Fastbreak. At this point, they were one of my favourite bands and I had worn out a copy of their “Don’t Stop Trying” record. This was long before Fastbreak turned into a cutesy pop-punk band with pin up style back covers. The crowd went off hard for them and I think this was one of the first times I successfully piled on for a sing along without falling off like a dumbass.
Another cool thing about Fastbreak was that both young and old were way into them. I remember thinking that was super cool. People both 15 and 30 were dancing and singing along. I picked up one of their Descendents rip off shirts (a red one…I have only seen blue since) and a tape copy of their “Where It Lies” ep, which I guess only had a few hundred on vinyl. HILARIOUS STORY ABOUT THAT: Years later, I auctioned that tape and a member of the band emailed me a nasty note about bootlegging their record. Uh, why would I put it on TAPE? Ha! I told him that, dude, I got it from your fucking band in 1997. Turned out someone related to the band made them and I got the vibe they didn’t really know. Wah-wah. Same dude was also a dick when I tried to get a Fastbreak interview around this time.
Another band we were really anticipating was Hands Tied, which was the new band for Tim McMahon from Mouthpiece. The record must have been out by then by the reaction of the crowd (check out Sweet Pete going off up front), but I picked up both vinyl and a CD at this show (and their “New Jersey Straight Edge” shirt, which I LOVED proudly wearing to school). I remember thinking that Hands Tied were faster than Mouthpiece. They covered Bold and The Faith. I remember slipping and falling on my butt during the Bold cover. Uh.
At this point, Peter decided he wanted to leave for reasons I still do not know. He had dropped out of high school and was going through some pretty serious personal shit at this time and I had kind of began keeping my distance a bit. I told him I wanted to interview Uprise after Floorpunch played, but he demanded that we leave. So as Ten Yard Fight imploded on stage and kicked out a member, who would merge with someone mentioned earlier to form In My Eyes soon enough, I was outside interviewing Greg, Steve, and Matt from Uprise. I remember Peter blasted Eyehategod’s In The Name Of Suffering from the car at us for some reason.
So that means we fucking missed Floorpunch! Ugh. I remember being so angry and begging my parents for a car the next morning. I ended up buying my grandfather’s car off of him a few months later. It may have been over spring break, After that, the good news was that I drove to most shows. The bad news was that, at seventeen, I had to coordinate everyone and often be some kind of parent/nanny for people’s bullshit. When I got a truck in 2003, with two seats, I was so thrilled.