I was over at Jones Beach covering the Warped Tour with my team (Mitch and Anita), contemplating if I needed to leave before the headliners Less Than Jake come on at 8pm in order to catch the Sick Of It All 30th Anniversary Show back in the city. I had been told that Sick Of It All’s set time was 9:20pm, and my GPS had estimated the trip to Webster Hall to be around an hour. I considered the possibility that I may never see LTJ perform again – so I photographed as much as I can during their first song then rushed to my car hoping I get back to NYC in time. Thankfully the rain and traffic stayed clear and I was in front of Webster Hall at 9:20pm on the dot. I didn’t have time to look for a parking spot though, so Mitch stayed in the car for me and I ran in to the venue.
SATURDAY 07/09/16 – NEW YORK, NEW YORK
By the time I got my credentials, I could hear the thunderous beats of SOIA shaking the entire building. The place was packed wall to wall and I managed to make it near the front of the crowd. The energy was intense, palpable but most of all infectious. A part of me just wanted to throw myself in the pit and just enjoy the show as I often did almost 20 years ago. I instantly was reminded of what their publicist had told me in an email. “No barricade show, read no photo pit”. Fuck. Yes. I squeezed towards the front and started shooting video. There was no way this was going to work, as the crowd swayed wildly making it impossible to steady the camera. I switched over to snapping photos, but even that was no easy task. I was dodging flying bodies and being pushed back and forth while getting some shots in between. All of this was a good thing since it wouldn’t be a true hardcore show otherwise.
I made my way up to the mezzanine to try and get some different angles and saw that it was packed up here as well. The view from above was epic, especially when Lou (Koller) commanded the audience to form a circle pit. As wild as it was, everyone followed the rules – pick up anyone that falls.
There were 3 photographers on the edge of stage left waiting for a turn at a closer view of the band. When I came back down from the mezzanine, I noticed that the section was now clear. I flashed my photo pass to the security guard and he helped me up on stage. It was an incredible feeling to see the crowd with fists in the air and singing every word. I had not seen something this powerful in years. For all of us there, there was not a care in the world – the only thing that mattered was the music that helped us all these years and being part of this moment. For one night, everyone there was family. Sick Of It All gave us everything we love about Hardcore music and reminded us to have fun no matter how old we get.