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Live report/video: Judge & Murphy’s Law At Saint Vitus

Now that the dust has settled and there has been calm after the storm, we may as well take this opportunity to revisit the awesomeness that ensued this past Friday. Presented by Invisible Oranges as part of the CBGB Festival, New York hardcore legends Judge found their way to Saint Vitus Bar, the most intimate venue they have played in over 22 years, to bring down the hammer. Judge first reunited for two shows back in May for the annual Black ‘n’ Blue Bowl, along with appearances in California and Europe, plus a set at this year’s This is Hardcore fest in Philadelphia. Opening the show was a quick set from NYHC new-bloods Manipulate, proving that hardcore still has plenty left in the tank in 2013. A surprise special guest announcement made the day of the show turned out to be the legendary Murphy’s Law, complete with saxophones, electric banjo, and Jimmy Gestapo’s on-stage hilarity. One might find it strange that the party animals of Murphy’s Law were paired on a bill with the straightedge warriors of Judge, but it was a great display of the unifying power that music possesses and camaraderie amongst hardcore fans.

The crowd, which included all sorts of NYHC scene legends, were all well aware of what a once-in-a-lifetime experience seeing the original Judge lineup at such a small venue would be. While the bartenders definitely had their hands full, there was no shortage of hands with X’s drawn on them in permanent marker and straightedge varsity jackets. After a brief soundcheck, the sounds of rainfall came over the P.A. to let everyone know that there was a storm brewing. Judge proceeded to open up with their track “The Storm” off of their iconic 1989 release “Bringin’ it Down, and the crowd was kicked into full stagedive and mosh mode. The band performed their limited but all-killer discography almost in its entirety. Anthony “Civ” Civarelli (of Gorilla Biscuits fame) joined them to perform their famed Blitz cover “Warriors”. They closed out the night with an ode to the New York hardcore brotherhood entitled “New York Crew,” off their 1988 EP of the same name, joined by guest vocalist Richie Birkenhead (of Underdog/Into Another fame).

Judge are headed to Austin to join the stellar lineup down at Fun Fun Fun Fest, but we’ll just have to wait and see if Judge will make any more appearances. Although they may decide to continue with more reunion shows, topping the intimacy and energy level of Friday’s show at Saint Vitus may not be an easy task.

— Words and photo by Matt Achstatter
— Video by Unartig

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