A Night of Rock and Reunion

Our good friend Steve Bailey, scenester, zinester, and Cultural Exchange Advocate, attended the Footstone and Friends, Romans, Countrymen reunion show at Maxwell’s back on February 6, and was kind enough to write an awesome review of the night.

It was great to see Steve – it had probably been fifteen or sixteen years since we’d spent any time with him, and although we _were_ worried that we wouldn’t recognize him, he hasn’t changed a *bit* and we picked up right where we left off.

The night was spectacular, the club was filled, and rather than review the show ourselves, we’ll let Steve’s review do the talking:

“February 6, 2009. Maxwell’s, Hoboken.

Seeing these people, hearing this music after all of these years thrilled me more than even I had expected. Oh sure, we’ve aged a little and we’ve seen our share of knocks. Some have kids. Some are still searching for life’s answers. The one thing that has not changed is our connection to something special. The music we made nearly two decades ago meant something.

Now, as bands like Green Day and Guns N’ Roses are touted as “highly influential”, I find myself longing for a time when bands of talented musicians created cutting edge sounds underground. Apart from the corporate machine, we struggled to be heard. In the end, that music was more original and far better than anything the American Idol generation tells us is original or good today.

Along with the music was the friendship. While some relationships over the years did not last, most did. The hugs and kisses flew as I walked into the back room at Maxwell’s (1039 Washington St, Hoboken). Al Crisafulli of Dromedary Records—the catalyst behind this night—was shocked that we recognized each other. Hobbling on his recently broken legged, we hugged. His wife Sandy gave me a big hug and kiss. Immediately, the reminiscing began.

Stories flowed from years gone by. More importantly for me, there was this feeling of hope. So many of our comrades were regrouping to toil in the arts once again. Who says the future of rock ‘n’ roll belongs to the young? Fuck that! These days, so many newbies have been brainwashed to believe that the status quo is now the benchmark for greatness. I say we seasoned old farts are the future!

As the shock over how much time had past and Al and Sandy’s oldest child being fourteen (they had no children the last time we hung out), it was time for the thing we came for. The music. I made my way to the stage.

First up; time to ride your pony into a dark, greasy garage because southern rock was about to collide with pop/punk. I never heard The Dark Brothers until tonight. Before they played, Ralph (singer for Footstone) and several others told me that I could not miss them. They were right.

Next came a sorta revolving-door reunion of Friends, Romans, Countrymen whose history spans from 1990-2005. Players changed to help relive various points in the band’s history. Including their ‘hair’ era, helped by the inclusion of ludicrous wigs. Self-described as burly pop-core, they rocked thru an emotional set in front of an enthusiastic crowd. A crowd that included fans and family, young and old.

No offense to the other incredible bands, but closing the night was the reunion I was waiting for. Footstone was a beacon for me back in those early days. A band whose passionate, rhythmic, loud precision defined their multifaceted songs.

Standing in front of that stage and watching something I had not seen in over ten years, a lump formed in my throat. Partly from the memories and partly from the hope, but mostly from the fact that Footstone always affected me this way. This was, in fact, their first show in ten years. With but a handful of rehearsals and a nervous energy that was palpable, they simply rocked.

Fans of Footstone and Friends, Romans, Countrymen have been lucky thanks to the formation of Stuyvesant. A hybrid of the two bands bringing the best of each to a new forefront. I honored that hybrid this night by wearing my Stuyvesant t-shirt. I called it my in-between shirt.

What now? Onward and upward. Will there be more shows like this one? I’d like to think so, but it almost doesn’t matter. The seal has been broken on a longing for quality. Friends have already started to get pumped about whatever may be next. With Dromedary Records back in the game, several more bands of that era will be resurrected—even if only in recordings—to bring real music back.

Al has promised great things on the horizon for new releases as well. Much of that promise can be heard on the compilation ‘Make the Load Lighter: Indie Rock for Haiti’, proceeds of which will go to benefit Haitian relief.

Stay tuned for more.”

Steve’s blog can be found at http://www.stephenbailey.com/ – check it out!