We Gotta Know

As much as I like the Cro-Mags, and considering I’ve not seen them many times on stage, I think I’m going to have to give them a swerve on Sunday at this years edition of the Outbreak Festival. They’ve now been bumped up to headliners as Turning Point had to pull the plug on all their European shows last week. 

I’ve only seen them live twice in all my time of gig going. The first time was in Holland where they headlined the European Hardcore Festival III in Eindhoven. I was lucky enough to attend the previous festival in 1999 with Stampin’ Ground. That year NYC’s Skahead closed the show.  The year after I blagged a space in the van with Freebase. 

The second time I saw them I think was in Birmingham, possibly at the Foundry. I’m not sure when this was at all. I believe they played the venue in 2001 and that was the last year I went there, so it must have been then, unless it was a different venue.  

They’ve been knocking around their native New York City as a band since 1981 and were one of the earliest bands to fuse together the cities burgeoning hardcore punk scene with the up and coming thrash metal movement. 

Their career has been quite a tumultuous affair. Frontman John Joseph quit then rejoined. An album was written then they split up. Harley Flanagan appeared to keep the flame burning, but after the band’s last album (2000’s Revenge), the strain was too much and tempers have been frayed ever since. 

Like a few bands that have gone before them in this blog there are currently two versions of the band doing the rounds. Saturday sees Joseph’s version rolling into the UK. This interpretation of the band have been together since 2008 with Joseph being backed up by guitarist AJ Novello from Leeway, Sick of it All’s Craig Setari on bass and Fun Lovin’ Criminals drummer Mackie Jayson. 

Ironically Flanagan’s hybrid of the band play in London mid May, I’m not sure who else is making up the numbers here, I’m guessing it’s the band who recorded the eponymous album with him last year. Too be honest I’ve not looked into that show all that much once I saw it was a Wednesday night and I’m rapidly running out of holidays at work. 

The thing putting me off seeing the bands in Leeds on consecutive evenings is the though of traversing the M62 four times in two days. It’s always a 90 mile run fraught with incidents and a horrendously long stretch of roadworks that feel like they’ve been there forever now and have easily overstayed their welcome. I’ve looked into lodgings somewhere within the Yorkshire city, but unless I’m prepared to pay a minimum of £140 for a single night that’s a non starter. 

You never know, I could change my mind when I get out of bed on Sunday morning, or friends I know in attendance might offer me a space. In the meantime I’m going to console myself with a few plays of their first trio of albums. 

We Gotta Know was featured on their 1986 debut The Age of Quarrel. It might sound familiar to some even if you’ve not heard the crossover original, as it’s been covered numerous times with the most well known probably being by Sepultura on their Under A Pale Grey Sky live album.