Madball Played For A Crowd Of Thousands In New York On Saturday
Right now, nobody seems entirely sure when live shows are coming back, or when live shows should come back. The pandemic is still raging, but more and more people are getting vaccinated. Live shows have been happening for months, at biker rallies and cavernous clubs and open-air parks. Within the hardcore community, certain people (mostly old-head veteran types) have been vocal about the idea that live shows should’ve never stopped, and a few have thrown maskless indoor invite-only shows. This past weekend, though, hardcore shows returned on a large scale. A group of New York bands played a massive open-air show at Tompkins Square Park, a place that’s had a long history with punk shows. Naturally, a great many people are pissed off about the show happening at all.
The long-running NYHC headbusters Madball headlined Saturday’s show, which drew an estimated 2,000 people, many of whom moshed maskless. (In Stereogum’s Instagram comments, Fleet Foxes leader Robin Pecknold says that he was at the show “by accident” and reports that it was “a real headfuck.”) The show was free, though there was a $20 suggested donation to raise money for the New York Firefighters Burn Center Foundation. The bill also featured a number of veteran hardcore bands, including Murphy’s Law, Bloodclot, and Wisdom In Chains. Springa, former frontman of Boston hardcore legends SSD, joined Murphy’s Law onstage while wearing a shirt that said “BLACK FLAG MATTERS,” which upset people.
It wasn’t just the shirt that pissed people off. For the past few days, people have been fuming at each other on social media over whether this show should’ve happened. Bloodclot leader and former Cro-Mags singer John Joseph fanned those flames in an Instagram post directed at “all the chumps and beeotch’s talking shit.” Joseph compared the show to Black Lives Matter protests and added, “This was our fucking protest – this was our rally.”
It seems very early for anyone to be holding events of this scale, and it also seems unlikely that everyone at the show was vaccinated. On the other hand, the show also looks extremely fun, and if I was in New York and fully vaccinated, I probably would’ve been there. Sometimes, it simply needs to be set off. Brooklyn Vegan has a lot of great photos from the show, and you can see some videos below.
There are a lot more hardcore shows planned for Tompkins Square Park in the months ahead. The next one is a 5/8 show with bands like Antidote NYHC, Kings Never Die, and the Last Stand.