Shelter-Downset-H2o-Fury of V at Stone Pony Asbury Park NJ 5-5-96

During the winter of 1995-1996, I did not really go to shows for some reason. I think it was a combination of a lack of rides (I was still 16 and about a year away from having my own car) and starting at my first ever job. Our friend who drove to shows dropped out of high school and went through some pretty serious personal problems around this time, so we had to scramble to get other rides, which led to a lot of missed shows.

Shelter came through the area and I drove up this show with Crystal and our friend Chris. This show was an absolute nightmare from start to finish.

On the way up to the show, Chris’ beat up car broke down. We got it back running, but it was a real mess to get it going. By the time we finally got to the show I was famously, as always, pretty stressed out and frustrated. Welcome to the next five years of my life.

This was the first of many times I would see Fury Of V, but I don’t remember anything particular about them. They were nice dudes despite their tough guy reputation. I once had a pretty serious chat with their singer about False Justice, which was pretty ill.

H2o were about to really blow up and got a crazy reaction from the crowd. I think their album was just out or about to come out. At first they seemed like an okay band, but of course that changed as time went on. They covered a Minor Threat song I think at this show.

Downset as many know used to be this shitty hardcore band Social Justice, but then switched it up to be this corny Rage Against The Machine clone (but kind of sort of talked shit about Zack I think, right?). They were Krishnas too I think and did a few albums. They busted out an Inside Out cover, but I was not really paying attention because sometime during their set I realized I lost my glasses! I had them in my pocket and have no idea how they got lost. I tried to get a few straight edge kids around me to help look for them, but they blew me off. Ah, my first experience with what a bunch of pieces of shit most edge dudes are. Keep breaking down those walls!

Bummed out, I still packed it up front for Shelter, who I did not like a lot even back then, but I did dig a few songs. Say what you will about Ray Cappo, but that dude has crazy energy and absolutely went off during the set. It was pretty funny to see how short both him and Porcell were in person though! They seemed like such massive dudes in the pictures on Break Down The Walls. Speaking of, they busted out a cover of “Disengage” at the end of their set, which was pretty cool at the time.

On the way home, we had this weird chat about Krishna Consciousness. Chris was a Christian and Crystal had these weird PC politics at the time (did not enjoy the One Life Crew album on green I got her for Christmas that year! How did my local store get five of those?), so the conversation got a bit weird as I talked about having read the Bhagavad Gita that year (and would again senior year too, which led to a hilarious confrontation with my ultra right wing study hall teacher). You could start to see some of the cracks in friendships beginning to emerge for sure.

At home after I got dropped off, I had a big fight with my parents over my glasses and whether I did drugs that night (which OF COURSE made me laugh because all I could think about was “Institutionalized,” which made my dad so mad). My father calmed down after a few minutes and my mom said she would take me in the morning to get new glasses. This was back when we had really good insurance, so they were pretty cheap.

What was cool looking back about the way the night ended was that I think this was the first time my parents took me being straight edge, and hardcore generally, pretty seriously. I think they could see that I was pretty serious about this stuff. After that, a lot of our conversations about various things really changed.