The first ever benefit for Matt Leveton was in January 1999. Matt used to book shows at Manville and got seriously hurt in a car crash. These shows were a really big deal at the time and a nice showing of what can happen when the hardcore scene comes together for something good.
The first day was highlighted by a reunion show for Strength 691. I remember seeing a lot of people who I had not seen in a few years, which is an odd feeling when you are 19, and hung around catching up with a lot of people. There were a lot of bands playing that I did not like, so I spent a lot of time in the back or outside. I ran into someone I had been chatting with online….uh…yeah…and they showed up with a boyfriend. Whoops.
Strength 691 opened with Cro-Mags and Leeway covers, which was awesome. I’m not a huge fan of their music, but they were always around and people in New Jersey loved them. During their Gorilla Biscuits cover I dove and landed my knee right on the face of someone I knew. Ouch. Sorry.
I’m all over the Ensign set in the video, but don’t really remember anything about it. The goatee looks so stupid on me. That is Steve from Uprise on drums for Ensign.
I don’t remember Sick Of It All playing, but maybe they did?
Instead of staying up near Manville, I drove 90 minutes home and then…drove 90 minutes back the next morning to Manville. Egads.
I don’t, again, remember a ton about the openers. I remember seeing a friend sitting at a table doing a reading for school and felt like an idiot for never thinking of doing that. I started sitting in my car at shows and reading chapters before heading inside. Better than just standing around making banal small talk. I wasted so much time “hanging out” at shows.
Vision were excellent at this show and really fired up to play. They always got such a great reaction wherever they played in New Jersey.
The special guest turned out to be Agnostic Front. I dove onto Roger’s back by accident at one point. Sorry! AF were good and mixed up old and new songs. It was pretty cool of them to come down and play a show like this.