Like most punk fans in their late 20s/early 30s, I’ve been a fan of the whole “crack rock steady” family of bands for a long time now. I’ve seen Leftover Crack, Morning Glory, Star Fucking Hipsters, etc but never got to actually see Choking Victim before…the closest being Leftover Crack playing “Infested” a few times that I’ve seen them. So when I saw they were doing a reunion show at Philly’s Union Transfer, I bought that shit the second it went on sale. I got to the venue right as Public Serpents were setting up.
I’ve never seen NJ’s Public Serpents before, and have only heard a few songs by them previously but knew they fit in perfectly from the few songs I have heard. Fronted by Choking Victim/INDK drummer Skwert, Public Serpents play ska-punk that fit right into the whole crack rock steady family of bands. They put on an enjoyable set that had a few people skanking around, and if you are clamoring for more music in the veins of Choking Victim/Leftover Crack/INDK, then definitely give Public Serpents a listen.
Next up were Philly locals The Brood, who I’ve caught once before a few years back at The Golden Tea House and remember being blown away at the time. Tonight was no exception. Featuring ex-members of Philly’s Witch Hunt, The Brood were by far the heaviest band of the night with their explosive crust-influenced hardcore. Sharp riffs, harsh gravel vocals with the occasional melody thrown in, if you dig similar bands like Behind Enemy Lines or Warthog, check the Philly locals out. While their recorded stuff is solid, you really need to go see them live to truly appreciate.
By the energy in the room you can tell for many such as myself, this anticipation has been over a decade in the making, and once Stza and company took the stage the place burst into a roar of applause. Choking Victim wasted no time as they ripped into their classics from No Gods/ No Managers and their Crack Rock Steady and Squatta’s Paradise EP. With their irreverent, cynical political lyrics and their catchy blend of ska, punk, and hardcore Choking Victim had pretty much the entirety of Union Transfer moving along in what was one of the rowdier shows I’ve been to in a very long time.
Stza kept the stage commentary short to get as many songs in as possible, only briefly stopping to introduce a few of the bassists who’ve played with them and thanking Skwert saying that he was the main reason the band was doing this final tour. Definitely one of the most fun and best shows of the year.
The band played most (if not all) of their songs, but here is a list of the songs I remember (not in order):
Suicide (A Better Way)
Hate Yer State
In My Grave
Five Finger Discount
Money Changes Everything (Cyndi Lauper cover)
Sweet Dreams (Eurythmics cover)
Born To Die
You Oughtta Die
Apple Pie & Police State
Crack Rock Steady
Video by youtube user: Tlhmn1977