Revelation Records Twenty Five Year Anniversary
Revelation Records 25 Year Anniversary Night Three, GORILLA BISCUITS, Underdog
Statue, Shai Hulud
200 W. Second St
Pomona, CA, 91766
Chemistry is everything. Mixing different elements together can make something explosive happen or, on the other hand, nothing at all. The band UNDERDOG was an example of such an experiment, with a lifespan shorter than expected, but with powerful after effects that still linger on.
The two key, constant elements of Underdog during its span of four years were Richie Birkenhead (vocals) and Russ "Wheeler" Iglay (bass) who decided to form a band while talking at CBGB in 1985. The band, named True Blue for about a week, soon became UNDERDOG. These two NYHC matinee regulars and longtime skateboarders, Richie and Russ, were indeed at opposite ends of the spectrum in temperament and circles they ran in. Case in point: Richie did time with Youth of Today and Russ with Murphy's Law.
UNDERDOG was also one of the first punk bands with deep roots in skateboarding, and skating still remains a focal point in the life of the band.
Richie, while fronting UNDERDOG, raised the bar in NYHC during those years, in a scene filled with aggro, straight-up hardcore bands that concentrated more on athletic, than vocal prowess and melody on stage. He prowled the stage, commandeered the crowd and could switch from a guttural scream to the voice of a choir boy in a split second.
Russ, well known for his Andy Capp, drink up, devil may care, knuckle-up persona equaled Richie in the stage presence department, swinging off ceiling pipes and taunting the crowd all while keeping the rhythm section tightly pumping with kid brother Dean Joseph (Iglay, stolen from Jersey Shore pranksters Good Humor), who replaced original drummer Gregg very early on and remained a permanent member.
UNDERDOG became a hugely popular musical hybrid capable of playing shows with any other band while winning new followers along the way. Their "fuck with our friends and you fuck with us" attitude wasn't just a bullshit theme for a song,like lots of other bands. These guys practiced what they preached. The band's attitude on stage encouraged everyone in the crowd to let loose and go nuts without fear of getting sucker punched or bullied by anyone. And they did.
Shai Hulud are arguably one of the hardcore scene's best groups, yet that title seems a bit too hasty considering they have only released one full length album. Hearts Once Nourished with Hope and Compassion is a fantastic album that succinctly wraps up what the late 90's hardcore scene has become, and provides nine songs that are all worthy of becoming anthems for the modern generation. Shai Hulud on the surface may appear to just be a batch of musicians overdosing on testosterone and anger, yet a glimpse at the lyrical content of this album will show something quite different. Blazing with intelligence, daring the listener to actually think, Shai Hulud prove that there is integrity amidst hardcore's abundance of intensity. Anyone half interested in finding out more about hardcore should be given Hearts Once Nourished... as their first lesson. While Shai Hulud may not have pioneered the genre, they certainly deserve recognition for releasing one of the genre's most exquisite masterpieces
The Glass House
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