D.R.I. D.R.I. Photo by Brian McDonald

DRI/Stuck Backwards at the Riffhouse Pub - Review by Brian McDonald

I'm getting too old for these weekday shows, I thought, but I knew this was one I had to see.

If the guys headlining can do it and they are my age, I should be able to handle it. A packed parking lot let me know I wasn't the only one. This great line-up had a sold out crowd to impress, and each band certainly did their part. I apologize to Bato, from VB, for missing their set but heard good things from the crowd and I have seen them before, raw and fast with an old-school hardcore vibe. I'll try harder next time guys. I included a Bandcamp link so you can see if I'm lying.

Next up was Swamp Rat from Portsmouth (P-town... ) but that night the "P" stood for Punk, Swamp Punk. Short songs, dirty riffs. Hate to compare anyone to other bands but they reminded me of early Municipal Waste and that can only be seen as a compliment.

I have to be honest, although DRI was headlining, the next band was why I was really there. I had read, while picking through the trash, that the long awaited, and I mean long awaited second release from our hometown degenerates Stuck Backward was coming out. Not sure what happened, Turkish prison, really good straight-jackets, banned from the studios?

Supposedly founded in a white-trash trailer in VA in 1998, they released their self titled first offering in 2004. It was a scorcher, gaining worldwide attention and a cult following of metal, punk and hardcore fans, kidnapping victims from other genres as well. Their live show has always been packed with cringeworthy humor and antics. It's as much fun as you can have at a punk show without feeling the need to wash your junk in the sink.... I did though, after their set, to be safe. They have toured with and supported some big players over the years and once the masses hear these new songs, big players are going to be opening for them. The vocalist, HE-Mutha Johnson, slings vocals like a monkey slinging crap at the zoo. He has a maniacal yet articulate delivery, with the range and intensity of H.R. and the urgency and bravado of Jello. Funny, charming and scary all at the same time, he is a formidable presence on stage; you're never sure if he would hug you (std alert, he warned us) or rip you to shreds and roll you up in a dirty diaper and smoke it. His handlers are Mike 'Puke' on guitar/backing vocals, Nate 'Masterbate' on bass/backing vocals and 'Moose' Knuckles on drums. With names like that they must be good, right? It's trailer parky, thrashy, urinal cake hardcore at its finest... I can't get enough of it. Get the new album, Fear Of A Prison Planet, available now in digital format and on CD September 1 from Team Ugly Records with cover art by Ryan "Humanburger" Jones.

Next up was SUNLORD from NY. Leaning more to the metal side, they had a great sound and an obvious Motörhead influence that fit the bill perfectly. They recently added Paul Bento (Guitarist for Carnivore) on lead and produced a wall of guitar laden, heavy metal. They currently have an ep, Burning Saint, available from their site.

Now it's late, I've been up since 6 a.m., I know DRI's entire catalog of songs. Almost every time I get out to see any band that's been around this long, I prepare myself to hear a "light" version of their former set. I should have prepared to see and hear a more polished and powerful set than ever before because that is what we got. They basically invented the Crossover genre and I was a fan before and after they moved from hardcore punk to the more metal/thrash sound that was evident in their third release, fittingly named Crossover, in '87. The band was founded in 1982 in Kurt's father's house. Founding members, singer Kurt Brecht and guitarist Spike Cassidy were backed by longtime mates Harald Oimoen on bass and Walter Ryan behind the drums. It seemed like they played 30+ songs, spanning their career of 30+ years. Nothing was left unanswered or undone.

OG thrashers DRI, Sunlord and Stuck Backwards made me proud to be that old guy at a punk show, and the younger bands made me proud for making music that embodies the spirit of original hardcore punk, putting their own stank on it and keeping it going. Everyone seemed to have a blast. Great job by the venues staff and security once again. I got home about 1:30am and couldn't hear or sleep. I paid for it the next day but it was well worth it. In the past, I have worried about being the oldest guy at the show. Lately I've realized what an honor it would actually be.

This night will be remembered as the last time many of us watched a show with Joey physically in the crowd with us but he will be with us in spirit, always. Remember to hug your families and tell them you love them.....and your local musicians too. Rest Peacefully Joey Rudacil.

-Brian McDonald

Pics and Youtube vids taken by Brian below! 

 Check out these Youtube vids below! 

D.R.I. - Riffhouse, August 10, 2017:

Swamp Rat - Riffhouse, August 10, 2017:

SunLord - Riffhouse, August 10, 2017:

Stuck Backwards - Riffhouse, August 10, 2017:

Brian McDonald

I am a 49-year-old child who refuses to grow up and put away his childish ways.  I have lived in the Tidewater/Hampton Roads/7-Cities/Coastal Virginia (wtf, decide on a name) area my entire life.  If I'm not in the Atlantic Ocean with one of my daughters, I'm listening to punk, metal, hardcore, or any hybrid of the three.  I still think I'll be the drummer in a killer band one day.  I'm really just a simple fan of truthful, brutal music, and happy if that's all I ever am.