LIVE: Hooligan Holiday, Day 1 @ Empire Underground, 01/28/2022
ALBANY- After a very brisk winter walk down the alley behind Empire Live Friday evening, we arrived at the doors to day one of the Hooligan Holiday at Empire Underground. The venue, reminiscent of a speakeasy (except for metalheads) was a walk back in time, as I haven’t been to a hardcore show in over 15 years. Empire Underground was the perfect venue for this show, as Vegas Nacy, lead vocalist of Bruise Brothers said, “It definitely has this fight club feel to it” and he was spot on with that description. The place filled up quickly and I felt as though I was walking through a family reunion all night as there were many embraces, handshakes and pictures being taken throughout the night.
Kill All Betrayers and Remains of Rage were the first two sets, warming up the pit to get your blood flowing before the return of the Bruise Brothers and Sheer Terror. The first song of the night was an instant time warp back to the days of my youth, hanging out at Bogies, The Hudson Duster, and Valentines.
After 21 years Bruise Brothers took the stage, bringing the energy as if no time had passed since their last show. Mike Valente on the guitar and Matt Bielinski on drums came in heavy, while bassist Patrick McNulty slapped his bass as if it did him wrong. Seconds into the song came the unforgettable voice of Vegas Nacy. The fans lit up with excitement as adrenalin began to flow and the dancing started to “Bullet Proof Ego”, the tenth song on their newly released album “21 offers you can’t refuse”. To be honest, though, I remember the pit being a bit livelier back in the day. Perhaps the fans were just feeling dormant from lack of shows due to the pandemic, and will hopefully bring all their rage for the next two days of the Hooligan Holiday. Regardless of the lackluster pit, the Bruise Bros. slaughtered their fans with great music leaving the audience wanting more. Be sure to scour their social media for announcements of more shows.
Following the completion of the Bruise Bros. set, a 50/50 raffle was held to benefit Agnostic Fronts vocalist, Roger Miret (now thankfully in remission from cancer after a few surgeries) in order to aid with the financial hardship of a cancer diagnosis and removal for the Miret family.
Last but not least, Sheer Terror, a pioneering hardcore band from NYC reigned the crowd in with a few strong strums of Johnny Eggz guitar as the rest of the band followed suit. It wasn’t long before you heard Paul Bearer’s deep, gruff bark-like voice. He even came with heartfelt life lessons (I can’t in good faith repeat these R-rated life lessons) and words of encouragement and acceptance during these chaotic days of health and politics. The fans danced and sang the night away as they reunited in holy hardcore glory!
Cheers to Mike Valente with Update Black and Blue productions and Empire Underground for hosting the three-day Hooligan Holiday and bringing another great music venue back to the heart of the Capital Region in downtown Albany.
If you’d like to check out the Bruise Bros. latest album, be sure to check out https://upstaterecords.bandcamp.com/album/bruise-brothers-21-offers-you-cant-refuse
If you missed the show and would like to support Roger Miret and his family, you can donate to his Go-Fund me. https://www.gofundme.com/f/roger-miret-needs-our-help