Fun Fun Fun Fest Live Shot: Cro-Mags

Reformed NYC hardcores resume the ‘Quarrel’

By Marc Savlov, 10:30AM, Mon. Nov. 11, 2013

There was a time when dinosaurs walked the Earth, spitting fire amidst circle pits and bruised elbows. Let’s call it NYCxHC, circa the mid-Eighties. Murphy’s Law, S.O.D., and Agnostic Front garroted the downer-town scene, trading gut-punch, thrashed-out punk for the previous decade’s Blank Generation.

by Shelley Hiam

You either loved it or it left its stab wounds and bruises on your back. Yet the pre-Guiliani New York punk scene was harder and tougher than The Warriors and Escape From New York combined. The return of the Cro-Mags, with vox punk John Joseph up against a seismic wall of fans and an even more impressive tsunami of sound, turned Ladybird Lake into a seething circle pit of pure, proud, two-chords-and-no-truth punk/metal crossover.

It’s been ages since Texans D.R.I. proved that the Clash and smash of punk rock and crushing down-chords could prove massively historical, yet the reformed Cro-Mags slaughtered any existing memories of ABC No Rio’s hardcore punk matinees on the Lower East Side. Caustic opener “We Gotta Know” set the tone for the duration of the quarrel, with fisticuffs classics “Hard Times,” a pre-shredded “Malfunction,” and “Kuruksetra.”

Never mind the Krishna past-life. This version of the Cro-Mags (opposing previous FFF outfit “Cro-Mag Jam”) was a Near Death Experience for those brave enough to tackle the pit. For the rest of the audience, nearly none of whom were birthed before 1986’s landmark The Age of Quarrel, this was a rigorous flashback to NYC’s hardcore’s boots ‘n’ braces past. Best Wishes holding your ground against the onslaught, “Then and Now.”

For more Fun Fun Fun Fest coverage, see www.austinchronicle.com/fun-fun-fun-fest. For photo galleries from the fest, see austinchronicle.com/photos.
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