For close to 30 years, Agnostic Front has been the lode-bearer for American street punk and oi. Since forming in 1980, Roger Miret and company have released twelve lengths, numerous splits and a handful of live albums documenting their macho-throwdown, unity-driven stage show.
By the time the Front put out the timeless NYC hardcore artifact Victim In Pain in 1984, punk had evolved from a quirky art-school pastime into a vicious and working-class assault, with bands like Cro-Mags and Reagan Youth. For many young punk rockers, Agnostic Front was a gateway into the oi and skinhead scene. Songs like "Blind Justice," "Crucified," and "Gotta Go" spoke to a different class of kids who needed an aggressively abrasive edge, searching for a more close-knit element than was found in other punk subgenres. They informed a generation of little Travis Bickles in boots and braces who felt pissed on and pissed off by Reagan's America.
Over the years, AF's music has steadily morphed into a more thrash-based sound, leaning towards more metallic riffage, while still sticking to its basic hardcore roots. The group signed to Tim Armstrong of Rancid's indie label Epitaph Records in 1998, and released four albums that garnered a whole new following of kids weaned on latter-day hardcore groups like Hatebreed and Madball.
Their success led many fans in the States to rediscover older oi groups like Iron Cross and The Business, with the band even touring with the latter off and on since the late '90s. In 2004, AF signed to metal label Nuclear Blast have continued to release new material. 2007's Warriors was a return to their New York beginnings, showcased on the single "For My Family."
In between AF time, Miret stays busy with Roger Miret and the Disasters, a more rock and roll venture owing more to the Clash and the Stranglers. Founding guitarist Vinnie Stigma and Miret are now both in their mid-50s, and show no signs of giving up the ghost.]
With Mongoloid, Roots of Exile, Your Mistake and Crows Feet, 7:30 p.m. tonight at Walter's on Washington, 4215 Washington, 713-862-2513 or www.hatetank.org.
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