Review / photos: Suicidal Tendencies at the State Theatre in St. Petersburg
As I stare at my computer and keyboard, trying to figure out how to describe one of the best shows I’ve ever seen, the server at the little Ybor City coffee shop pours my third cup of coffee.
How do I put into words the energy, the power, the pure originality of Tuesday’s Suicidal Tendencies show at the State Theatre in St. Petersburg? My images do not do it justice, despite the hard work of my Canon Digital Camera and a multitude of lenses. Even video would lack the proper vibe that was present at the State, as the iconic thrash/punk band took the stage and totally dismantled the minds of all in attendance.
Let’s just say this: if you are familiar with the power and intensity of Suicidal from the ’80s, not one drop of fury has dismissed itself from their show. In fact, I think it has increased, because the old schoolers in the crowd were so anxious to see the band that was a huge influence in their life.
It was also obvious that younger kids in the crowd had never been exposed to such a powerful band. The crowd was huge, so huge that the upstairs balcony section was opened up. And if the show itself wasn’t enough, there was a special occasion behind the concert: 25 years ago the concert promoters at No Clubs began organizing shows within Central Florida. One of their first acts on stage? Suicidal Tendances. What better time to get these guys into town and grind St. Pete to its hardcore roots?
The opening act, hed(pe), prepped the crowd and kept them on their feet. Some devout hed(pe) followers even had a chant rummaging around the venue. After a long set, comprised of public service announcements like “Let’s all get along!” and “If you have sex use a condom!” the overall notion from the crowd was: “Enough already, bring on our Suicidal!”
After Suicidal Tendencies’ soundcheck, the lights dropped. Finally, the opening chords of Bring Me Down began, and Mike Muir’s vocals were heard. It was a surreal moment, and chaos was at hand. The vibe was straight out of the old-school days. And if you think age makes musicians slow their pace, please don’t tell Muir. His energy was among the highest I’ve seen in recent years. He even got more hyped towards the end of the show.
Suicidal Tendencies played at least one new song, proving they have no plans to slow down their grind. They just released a new CD in September, including unreleased re-recordings of songs from their 1987 album Join the Army and re-recordings of No Mercy songs (including the previously released Something Inside Me and No Mercy Fool!).
The set was long and filled with the tunes we grew up with. We were like kids in the candy shop with Suicidal Tendencies causing carnage for the masses.
By the end, I thought the show could not have gotten more interesting, but it did. What’s better then the usual encore most bands throw at us? How about inviting the whole crowd onstage for the last song? Yes indeed. Muir looked at the front row and waved a few people up to the stage. Then Muir said, “You too, and you too ... everyone, I want you up here.”
What? How the hell is that going to work? But it did. The stage was rammed with the audience. Crazily enough, it was done in a respectful way. The band members weren’t bombarded with hugs, but the show continued with a packed stage.
You’d have thought Muir was running for president. This is a vocalist that truly loves his fans. He shook so many hands, posed with for so many photos, and even saw some fans sporting Suicidal tattoos. It was organized chaos.
I can’t say enough about this show. If you missed it you better give yourself a swift kick in the ass. I’m not sure I will see one like this for a very long time, but hopefully Suicidal will make a return to Central Florida in the near future.
-- Review/photos by Andrew Carlton, tbt*