It’s often said that music can bring people together. Well, I don’t know if it was the music, or the fact people are more open to meeting others in college, but I can still remember that cool autumn evening when three friends — the geeky guy, the metal head and the stoner — headed out in an old, beat up, dark blue LeBaron.
Destination: Biohazard at Pearl Street.
Eric brought an ample supply of tunes: a little Dream Theater, some Machine Head, Anthrax of course. And it was all on tape. In fact, the car stereo was so makeshift, it was held in place underneath the glove compartment.
Mark sat in the backseat. He drifted back and forth when it came to musical taste, sometimes he liked metal, sometimes he hated it. No matter what his predisposition before the show, he was a changed man afterwards.
The trip wasn’t long … at least, not for us. We were used to multi-hour treks to various venues in search of better stores or entertainment venues … the joys of living in the “backwoods” of New Hampshire.
The hour and a half ride was uneventful as we listened to the first two Machine Head tapes. We got to our destination, waited in line, ran into a couple of friends (one of which would eventually become an ex) … but none of that really mattered … it was what was to come inside the club that would make this a night to remember.
The “club” was actually nothing more than the basement of a larger club. Hardly big enough for a crowd of 500 … or maybe even 300. The cramped room had the feel of a death trap, but no one cared about that. We weren’t thinking about how hard it would be to get out in case of a fire, we were amazed at how close we would be to a band two of us had been waiting to see for over five years.
The first opening act was nondescript and hardly memorable, though I remember hanging out with the singer and bass player for a good ten minutes after the set (they wanted to get a bunch of people on a mailing list — I don’t remember ever hearing anything about the band after that night).
Next up was hardcore underground pseudo-legends, 25 Ta life. I remember being more taken by the multitude of piercings on the lead singer’s face than the group’s music.
After those two bands finished their sets, everything changed. Next up was a young hardcore upstart band from Connecticut with a sound as large as Slayer and a posse to match: Hatebreed, touring in support of its debut EP. Even at those early shows, you could tell there were big things in store for the band. Jaime Jasta filled the room with his presence that night better than any other front man I saw there over the next seven years.
Then onto the main course, Brooklyn, New York’s own Biohazard. Eric and I staked out a couple of spots at the foot of the stage, if you could even call it that. It was simply a two-foot rise at the far side of the room. we stood directly in front of Evan Seinfeld. During a particularly vicious circle pit, one of the only times we left our spot, I saw Mark at the back of the room. He was headbanging and going crazy to the music though he couldn’t see any of the action — he got kicked in the face during the opening song and broke his glasses. (From that night on, he had a spare set for the many shows we would venture to.)
Biohazard tore through ever hit, “Chamber Spins Three,” “Wrong Side of the Tracks,” “Punishment,” “Authority,” “Shades of Gray,” “Tales from the Hardside” and so on. And for a few fleeting moments during “Business,” I joined Evan at the microphone to sing along.
He didn’t care. That was the type of band Biohazard was, they wanted fans up on stage. The wanted everyone to have a good time. I had the time of my life.
We left the show sweaty and spent, and listened to Anthrax all the way home. As we crossed the city lines back into Keene, “Bare” blared through the speakers and Mark noted the huge street light up ahead. He couldn’t see anything without his glasses and didn’t realize it was the full moon.
And now, even though I’m approaching ten years later — and sadly don’t talk to those guys anymore — I remember the show every day when I look in the mirror and see my biohazard symbol inked into my throat. Much like my tattoo, the memories my fade over time, but they’ll never disappear.