If punk is dead than somebody forgot to tell Scenic Presents and the rest of the New York City punk scene. Because things got live as fuck in the Safari Room at El Cortez in Bushwick, Brooklyn on Sunday evening when Scott Sturgeon’s auxiliary band The Crack Rock Steady 7 swung through for a hoedown.
The room was packed to the gills from start to finish to see Rebelmatic, Skullcaster, Trashy, and late edition (literally added to the bill during the show) Cop/Out get down with the godfather of the Crack Rock Steady beat. But even though Stza was the main attraction the riotous punks in attendance made every band feel welcome by singing along to the lyrics and moshing along to the rhythms.
Rebelmatic was first up and their drummer Ray Reed is an absolute punisher behind the kit. His ferociousness on the drums sets the entire tone for his bandmates lead singer Creature, guitarist Alkatraz, and bass player Karnage who all come together to drive home some of the most original punk music in The Big Apple.
Upstarts Skullcaster, a band that Stza himself claims to have helped name, got up second next and their brand of hardcore punk got the crowd going really good. A little too good in fact and frontman Joey Steele had to banish some crowd destroying bros to the back of the room mid-set. The group shares two members with All Torn Upin Steele, and guitarist Jay Tancer (also of The Crack Rock Steady 7) so they come with a built-in fan base in the City That Never Sleeps and they delivered for their devotees.
Third up was Cop/Out, sort of an all-star team of the New York City politico/punks all of whom help organize Punk Island, an event which they called “the biggest free DIY punk music festival in New York City.” The group didn’t know they were going to be playing until just before the set and the group shares Steele with his other projects as lead singer. He admitted he may have left a little too much on stage opening with Skullcaster but still managed to dial in a more than competent performance that came off as much more tongue in cheek than his other projects.
TransCore darlings Trashy took the slot right before CS7 and even with a singer/guitarist Al working double duty in Cop/Out they put on a tremendous set. To start the set off the group invited anyone was queer, short, or brown to the front of the stage to catch the show.
They have a much more melodic/poppy sound than the two bands that came before and deliver them in a much more upbeat way than Skullcaster and Cop/Out. Don’t get me wrong, the doom and gloom of anti-capitalism is important … but it’s okay to smile every once in a while too. Some of Trashy’s subject matter may be pretty heavy, but they still deliver it in a fun and relatable way.
Scott Sturgeon and his Crack Rock Steady 7 were really more of a Crack Rock Steady three and a half in the Safari Room on Sunday. Sturg was joined by Tancer on bass and a drummer as well as Enoch on guitar on some songs. Before getting into the set Sturgeon let the crowd know this was his first New York City show in 8-months, which is the longest he had gone without a hometown throwdown in quite some time.
The group opened with two Choking Victims tunes and then moved in to “3,000 Miles” by the Star fucking Hipsters before “Fucked Reality,” and “Zombie Christ,” which lead into renditions of “500 Channels” and “Crack Rock Steady.” Stza also unveiled a brand new tune known only as “Metal Banger” for now, which he claims could be the first tune on Leftover Crack’s next record.
Things got pretty choppy when Stza and Tancer switched instruments to go into what they were referring to as:”the extended cut” of “Ya Can’t Go Home.” The bass gave out on Stza multiple times before he decided to take the strap off and throw a mic to the ground and head off stage. Sturgeon’s tantrum lasted about 10-minutes but he did return to the stage once the tech was working again. As a Kanye fan, I was way into the idea of one of my favorite artists leaving the stage a refusing to come back due to tech issues, especially so many songs in. But heaving Stza re-enter and finish out strong wasn’t a bad way to go either.
After the intermission it was a few more songs including “Money Change,” and “Born To Die,” and The Crack Rock Steady 7 closing out strong. Frankly, it was a lot like watching a rehearsal, but when it’s Crack Daddy Caine himself playing the tunes and a familiar New York punk audience that ain’t so bad.