Wednesday, February 18, 2009

N.Y.H.C Documentary

I'm not sure where I heard about this, probably from the awesome guys over at Double Cross, but I picked it up cheap on the Ebay. It came out initially on VHS like 13 years ago and was recently reissued on DVD with a bonus disc. The original documentary focused on the era around 94-95, although due to editing and finance issues it wasn't released until 1999. It focuses on eight New York hardcore bands: Madball, Agnostic Front, 108, No Redeeming Social Value, District 9, 25 Ta Life, Crown of Thornz and Vision of Disorder. 

It's a decent enough cross-section of the bands of the era, ranging from the Krisha-core of 108 to the jabronie-core of No Redeeming Social Value. All the boroughs are represented, as well as Long Island (with V.O.D). Almost everybody comes off as a misfit, but with a decent enough heart. I'm sure victims of DMS beatdowns back in the day might disagree, but you can't argue that the major players in the game took their lumps for the team. Among other moments, Agnostic Front frontman Roger Miret is interviewed from the hospital after breaking his back at a CBGB and Lord Ezac from Crown of Thornz shows off his scar from his infamous screwdriver stabbing. There are obvious internal scars as well, recounted via firsthand anecdotes from the parties involved. If you didn't understand it firsthand, you get a rare degree of insight into what makes the guys in the hardcore scene the way they are. It's also notable for encapsulating the era before the straight-edge thing jumped off. 108 are undoubtedly so, but not in an Xed up or Nikes and bleached flatop way. I'm not saying that I find the Krishna stuff any less creepy. There are certain odd absences, like Warzone and Sick Of It All, but it does a good job of capturing the era.

The second disc talks to many of the players from the original documentary 10 years after the initial VHS release. Some have aged better than others, but most of the players are still active ten years on, scarred perhaps, but for the most part as dedicated in their late 30s (save for Freddy Madball, who has been down since his single digits). There is bonus footage of shows from Coney Island High from that era featuring a good number of the bands. The 108 and Madball live stuff is pretty great and the interviews with Ezac (including footage of him clowning Toby H20's hairline to his mom on speaker phone) are classic. I'd love to hear him tell the story of his run-in with Dwid, but this isn't the Beef DVD series and director Frank Pavich, while for the most part objective, tries to keep things positive. If you have any interest in the mid-90s NY hardcore scene, this is definitely worth picking it up. Buy it here.


1 comment:

kats said...

Canderia was a band I was really into in the mid-90's...don't know if you heard of them...