For three days I hit the road with Raleigh’s own Abuse., a vicious hardcore act that plays brutal power violence with no time left between songs – just a stripped down, speedy hellstorm of chaos. Being one of my favorite Raleigh bands, I knew I had to hit the road with these dudes once they announced that they would be going on a 3-day mini-tour over winter break. The dates were announced: the dudes would first play in a basement in New Brunswick, New Jersey, another basement in West Philly, and a record store in DC by the name of Smash Records. After the out-of-town dates, they would play a homecoming show at The Berkeley Cafe.
The first day we woke up at around 8AM and filled up the van the guys had borrowed from a friend. After 2 ½ hours of listening to nothing but black metal and hardcore, we were in Richmond. Richmond, being an awesome place for records, was a stop we had to make on the 9 hour trip to Jersey. After scoring a bunch of sick finds, we were back on the road.
Making hardly any stops, we took on the next 6 hours of the trip and landed ourselves in a residential area by a university in New Brunswick. The guy who lived at the house helped us bring in all the gear and get familiar with the house. The bands that played that night were Godswallower (NJ), Loose Ends (NJ), and Abuse. Moving between the merch table and the show room, I was able to catch most of the sets. Godswallower played a nice mix of blown-out grind and heavy doom. Not bad at all for a first show! Loose Ends was a local hardcore act that drew in a lot of local ragers. Abuse.’s set was super tight and brutal. Considering the show was in a basement, the sound was pretty good!
After the show in NJ, we went and got some of the most delicious (and cheapest!) Mexican food I’ve ever had with a friend who had been selling records out of his distro at the show. He was nice enough to let us stay at his swanky apartment and use his shower. He kindly sold me an awesome old Green Day EP. Unfortunately, there wasn’t enough time to flip through his extensive record collection – we had to get up early the next morning to go to New York City.
Although there were no Abuse. dates in NYC, we found it necessary to go since 2 of us had never been before. Driving in Jersey was difficult, but finally we made it to a small parking lot by the Newark train station where we could park for 12 dollars for the whole day. After much confusion, we managed to make it on the train to Brooklyn from Newark. Though cold and drizzly, we all managed to have a great time in NYC. We went to Generation Records, Trash and Vaudeville (some “punk” store we had heard about on TV that we wanted to visit for laughs), Times Square, and a whole bunch of other places in the city. Times Square was incredible – I found myself constantly taking pictures, not caring at all that I looked like the biggest tourist ever. We took a bunch of funny pictures, one being a picture of all of us in Times Square with the Marines. A friend commented on the picture when it was posted on Facebook: “The few, the proud… Abuse”.
Abuse. , Me, and The Marines
This LED-flag in Times Square was SO bright that it sucked all the light out of the picture – this was taken outside in the middle of the day!
We made it out of the city at around 3:30 PM so that we could make it to the Philly show. Although we didn’t see Fresh Prince, we did manage to have a great time at the show. It was in a basement with a bunch of awesome local bands: Callous, Congenital Death, and Bad Side. Callous played grimy sludge, Bad Side played fun hardcore punk, and Congenital Death had a great mix of crushing female screams and speedy fastcore. The crowd turnout and reaction were both GREAT and I can honestly say it was (crowd-wise) the best night of the tour. After the show everyone came up from the basement and danced to Funkadelic. I would definitely like to go to Philly again, especially since by the time we had arrived there that afternoon it was too dark to get a good look of the city.
Click here if you want to watch the full set from Philly!
After Philly, we had plans to stay at a friend’s house in D.C. 2 ½ hours later, we finally made it to D.C. and crashed immediately. We had plans to see a little bit of D.C. and take a look at the record stores in Baltimore the next morning. Waking up at about 10 AM, we headed straight to Sticky Fingers Bakery after having a nice chat with one of the dudes who lived at the house. I got myself a delicious quesadilla while the other dudes had some bagels. Sticky Fingers is definitely a must-stop in D.C. for vegeterians and vegans!
After getting a bite to eat, we made our way to Baltimore to check out Celebrated Summer Records. To say I was astounded by their selection in vinyl is a total understatement… From new releases to the rare record you always wanted but could never find, Celebrated Summer has it. Shout out to the owner for having the coolest record store ever and to the super nice employee for giving us the inside-scoop on the Baltimore music scene.
Spending most of the day in Baltimore, we tried our best to beat traffic so that we could make it to the D.C. show at Smash Records. On the bill was Vile Faith (a bunch of cool high school kids playing their first show) and raging hardcore act Human Shield. The turnout was great and we had the opportunity to check out the records. Alex, Abuse.’s vocalist, got a superb copy of Bathory’s “The Return…”, which I was (and still am) extremely jealous of. Human Shield’s drummer got Morbid Angel’s “Domination” – also an awesome find! Smash Records is definitely one of my favorite places to go to whenever I visit D.C., so I was glad to know that the show was there. The set Abuse. played at this show (music-wise) was definitely my favorite of the whole tour. It was nothing but pure, hateful hardcore. I shamelessly raged from behind the merch table. The dudes who lived at the house we had stayed at the night before were kind enough to let us stay the night again. After the show we got food and chilled.
The next morning we left bright and early at about 7AM because the vocalist had to make it to work by 2PM. In addition to that, Abuse. also had the homecoming show that night with touring bands Recide (TX), Breakout (TX), Manic (GA), and Desist (local ragers, first show!). The show that night was awesome! The touring bands were super nice guys. I missed Manic the last time they came through Raleigh… that was definitely a mistake. Recide, Breakout, and Manic were some of the best hardcore punk bands I’ve seen in a long time. Desist put on a great show as well. I can’t wait to go to future shows with them on the bill.
To round things up, I had an incredibly fun time being sweaty in a van with 4 other guys for 3 days. Abuse. are the coolest guys ever and I am very thankful to have been their merch guy on this tour. Thanks to everyone who gave us a place to stay, the other bands that played, and of course the people who came out to the shows. We had the best time going up north and being treated with superb hospitality. Thank you so much.