First Avenue welcomed the “Church Of Suicidal” congregation for a night of bombastic music and circle pits. Suicidal Tendencies has been moshing its way through the states in support of “STill Cyco Punk After All These Years” which dropped a few weeks ago. The long-standing New York hardcore outfit, Madball, provided support.
Despite Madball having roots that reach back into the 1980’s, our paths had never crossed until this show. I knew the band was intertwined with Agnostic Front and developed into its own entity that become a force in the genre. Knowing the energy that Suicidal brings to the stage, I was anxious to see if Madball could match that intensity. From the opening song “Rev Up” it was clear they were ready. Singer Freddy Cricien took over the stage with relentless energy and enthusiasm, while he force-fed the crowd a heavy dose of unapologetic music that hit like a buzz saw.
There was a strong showing of allegiance to the band as they worked through an extensive set. Some of the songs that stood out for me were “Heavenhell”, “The Fog”, “Born Strong” and the sing along gang chorus inspired “Freight Train”. Madball is the real deal and the band bleeds New York City Hardcore. The music encompasses the passion and soul that built the genre. It translated throughout the crowd as the pits got bigger and more people began to push to the stage to get further sucked into its addictive venom. I was impressed from the set and the closer “Doc Marten Stomp” was ripping and my favorite song from them.
Suicidal Tendencies has a legacy that is firmly attached to the fabric of American music. By blending thrash and hardcore, adding some groove and funk, they created a musical landscape all their own. The band returned to First Avenue, a place that introduced them to Minneapolis crowds decades ago, to deliver another exciting show.
Vocalist Mike Muir is the only original member in a band that has seen constant turnover in its history. Flanking Muir was guitarist Dean Pleasants and bassist Ra Diaz. The drums were taken care of by the legendary Dave Lombardo. Filling on guitar was the talented Tim Stewart. The traditional opener, “You Can’t Bring Me Down”, ignited an already combustible atmosphere. Muir began his non-stop prance that he kept up the entire night. Not to be undone by the singer, the band was just as active on stage but the circle pits in the crowd outdid all.
The set-list touched on many eras of the band. Some of the classics included Subliminal”, “I Saw Mommy”, and “War Inside My Head”. My favorite S.T. album is 1990’s ‘Lights…Camera…Revolution!’ so I was delighted with “Lost Again” and “Send Me Your Money” which included a little section of Prince’s “Purple Rain”. When you in the house that Prince built, why not? “Trip At The Brain” sounded fantastic and got a huge response from the crowd. They mixed in some newer material with “Clap Like Ozzy” from 2016’s ‘World Gone Mad’ along with “F.U.B.A.R.” and “I Love Destruction” from the newest release. Watching Lombardo on drums is amazing. I found myself spellbound throughout the night, as I could not take my eyes off him. He added another dynamic to the songs that took them to new levels. It is always an honor to watch him play.
It was a cool vibe seeing this band at First Avenue. This venue has a rich history and Suicidal Tendencies is part of it. There something very cool that Mike Muir can bring back this machine, decades after they first played there, and rev up songs for fans both old and new. Fans were treated to “How Will I Laugh Tomorrow” and the anthem “Pledge Your Allegiance” as the show came to a close.
Both bands brought a lot of energy and provided fans with fantastic night of music. Madball was everything I had hoped they would be and Suicidal never disappoints in a live setting. It never gets old leaving First Avenue after a great rock show and tonight was no exception.