Bad Brains and Leeway
Ten years after their original formation, the Bad Brains finally came through our little town for not one but two nights. The first night, Tuesday the 29, seemed like it would never get underway. At 9:30 p.m. there was a good-size crowd waiting to get into the Speedway but soundcheck hadn’t even happened yet. After a lot of bullshit and stress for everyone working the show, the doors were opened and the crowd poured into the beer room. Then we had to wait for Sick of it All and Leeway (both New York hardcore bands) to power through their sets. They were great, especially Leeway who was exceptionally popular with the girls backstage. Their singer, Eddie Cohen, was 24 and looked like he was pushing 19.
All the waiting was worth it as the Bad Brains played through the most incredible set ever to hit the Speedway’s stage. I was in a trance watching H.R. go from epileptic thrashing about to gentle swaying back and forth, depending on the song. Yeah, these guys have the chops to play such a diversity of music so well. The guys from Leeway told me H.R. is “the prophet,” and he is. He could be the charismatic leader of a cult and I would follow blindly. I wonder if you’re a rock icon for long enough if you eventually acquire the powers of a prophet. Whatever the case, H.R. is a well-seasoned musician and his voice (I thought Axl Rose had range) is as good as the lyrics that come through it. Check out his solo album It’s About Luv for more of his talents.
The second night, Wednesday the 30 had just as much intensity but not quite the same energy level. At least the doors were opened on time. Maimed for Life played on the bill as well, but had to start so early that everyone who wanted to see them ended up missing the boat. When professionals come through town and say 8:30 p.m., they mean 8:30 p.m.! It pissed me off that those guys (the production managers) think they can shit on the locals because they’re locals…Oh well. Many of the songs played the night before were included in Wednesday night’s set like “I against I,” “I Luv I Jah,” and “With the Quickness.” Too bad more people didn’t come on Wednesday because now I doubt the Speedway will take that kind of risk again, especially since they ended up losing money. You’d think 800 people in Salt Lake would want to come and see such a great band. Those who didn’t think it was worth it missed one of the greatest shows in the history of the Speedway’s existence.