1318 4th Ave. - An Aural History, Vol. 5

Okay, so I said in my last post (from October 12, 2010) that you could expect the second part of the series to appear in the coming days.
Well, it’s a damn good thing I wasn’t more specific in that assessment because here we are, four months later, and I’ve finally gotten around to posting it.
For that, I apologize, but it’s been a busy couple of months, and time is something I haven’t had a lot of lately, but I fully intended on not only completing this series, but to continue contributing to this site in some capacity.
As you may recall, in my previous post, I began counting down my Top 10 Favorite Drop Shop shows so, for posterity’s sake, I’ll recap the first five, in descending order:
#10 SHOOTYZ GROOVE W/ TREE (Wednesday, September 24, 1997)
  #9 THE SMOOTHS W/ CRETIN HOP (Saturday, November 30, 1996)
  #8 SPEED MCQUEEN W/ SUPAFUZZ (Friday, February 7, 1997)
  #7 JERRY CANTRELL W/ ZEKE & CHUM (Wednesday, June 17, 1998)
  #6 KARMA TO BURN W/ LIKEHELL (Friday, February 28, 1997)
(You can find the reasons as to why I chose these particular shows in the entry that follows.)
Now that we have that necessary business out of the way, let’s return to our regularly scheduled program.
(Friday, May 15, 1998)
As it would turn out, this would be one of the last shows I attended at Drop Shop.
In fact, by late spring 1998, Drop Shop had stopped booking shows at the same frequency with which they had in the previous months and years. (Although I didn’t know it at the time, financial strain had already begun an irreversible chain of events, which would culminate in the venue’s closing a month later.)
This show, however, marked Clutch’s third appearance at Drop Shop, and their first since a two-night stint in October 1997.
Typically, they put on a rousing set, but it was the support act they brought along with them that had most of the crowd in awe that evening.
Although virtually unknown at the time, Shine was a three-piece from Maryland with a single, solitary seven-inch (“Lost Sun Dance”) to their credit but, after adopting the moniker Spirit Caravan not long thereafter, would become known the world over.
Led by the incomparable Scott “Wino” Weinrich, who was practically a doom metal legend by this point after having fronted both Saint Vitus and The Obsessed, Shine trudged through a half-hour set that left most of the crowd present simply dumbfounded.
It wasn’t the band’s songs that necessarily caught the audience off guard (trust me, they were absolutely punishing), but more so the sheer sight of the often- mythicized figure whom many credit with spearheading the then-burgeoning “stoner rock” movement appearing on a local venue’s stage.
(Wednesday, November 20, 1996)
I could name any number of Chum shows, but this would prove to be the last hometown show for the band before they embarked on an ill-fated tour through the South in late November/early December, which would culminate in the departure of yet another drummer (Elliot Hoffman).
The band had only released its debut album, ‘Dead to the World,’ mere months before, and had since played a handful of shows with Hoffman behind the drums, but appeared as though they were finally gaining stability when they appeared this night.
Their performance was certainly a testament to that.
Chum played a blistering set that featured the bulk of the aforementioned album, as well as select cuts from their previous self-released cassette EP’s (‘Postblisstheory’ and ‘Godgiven’) but it would, unfortunately, prove to be the last Huntington would see of the band for nearly six months.
They would eventually make their return to Drop Shop in April 1997, with new drummer Carlos Torres in tow.
Interestingly enough, this show also marked Disengage’s first Huntington performance since supporting Chum on Drop Shop’s opening night in October 1995. (The band had been holed-up in the studio for the majority of 1996 recording their debut album, ‘Teeth, Heart and Tail,’ which would appear the following year.)
Disengage would eventually graduate to headliner status and, much like Chum, Karma to Burn and Supafuzz before them, become a top draw throughout the remainder of Drop Shop’s existence.
(Thursday, December 12, 1996)
This was, perhaps, one of the biggest “gets” for Erik Raines and Drop Shop up to that point, and there was a definite buzz about this show from the moment it was announced.
The nucleus of Godflesh was Justin Broadrick and G.C. Green, and they had already established the band as a highly revered act within the industrial (and heavy metal) community with the release of their debut album, 1989’s ‘Streetcleaner.’
(Prior to the band’s formation, Broadrick had done his undergraduate work as a guitarist with Napalm Death and, later, Head of David.)
Although they were by no means a commercial success at any point in their career that clearly wasn’t evident the night they took the stage at Drop Shop.
When Godflesh (whose live lineup also featured former Prong drummer Ted Parsons) first appeared that night, a show in support of their recently released, fourth full-length album, ‘Songs of Love and Hate,’ they were adorned in welder uniforms, which proved to be suiting attire for the auditory onslaught they unleashed.
They immediately launched into the album’s opening track, “Wake,” and proceeded to perform an hour-plus set of relentless and pulverizing aggro-rock.
(Ironically enough, the biggest Godflesh fan I knew couldn’t attend the show. Chum’s John Lancaster, on tour at the same time with his band [please see above], was actually stranded with his band mates somewhere in the Deep South, the result of a van mishap.)
(Sunday, March 16, 1997)
Admittedly, I was not a fan of Type O Negative prior to the release of the album (‘October’s Rust’) for which they were touring in support of when they appeared at Drop Shop.
I gave that album a chance on the advice of a friend and loved it (and still listen to it today), but had I not it’s likely I wouldn’t have even attended this show. (Okay, so maybe not, but I would have enjoyed it a lot less.)
Now, I’m probably going to have to check with Erik on this, but I’m sure that this was one of the most, if not the most, costly shows Drop Shop ever hosted.
That was evident from the moment Type O Negative arrived at the venue with a semi-trailer truck housing their gear and “props.”
I actually helped with the load-in that day and it was quickly decided that the band’s stage set would not be able to fit on the Drop Shop stage.
Thankfully, their instruments could.
Type O Negative’s set was heavy with songs from their most recent release, but also included perennial favorites “Black No. 1” and ‘Christian Woman.”
Stuck Mojo was already making their third Drop Shop appearance, and served as good contrast to Type O Negative’s gloom and doom set with their own high-energy performance.
Drain STH was a pleasant surprise as well, not only on the ears but the eyes, and would come back a few months later for their own headlining gig at Drop Shop.
(Sunday, July 13, 1997)
While Corrosion of Conformity’s fan base might be divided over which incarnation (the thrash metal version or the sludge/stoner rock version) of the band is better, there’s no doubt in my mind that the group that produced the albums ‘Blind,’ ‘Deliverance’ and ‘Wiseblood’ was a far superior unit.
The version on display that night was the Pepper Keenan-led version, my version.
Following a particularly brutal set by Bay Area metal titans Machine Head (as well as Snot, whose lead singer, Lynn Strait, would meet an early death just a year-and-a-half later), C.O.C. hit the stage, and it was like a bomb went off.
They played a varied set that featured, amongst a host of others, “Vote with a Bullet,” “Albatross” and “Drowning in a Daydream.”
It wasn’t until the nearing of the close to the band’s set, though, that they pulled out what I feel to be the single greatest performance I ever saw at Drop Shop.
Regretfully, by then, a good portion of the crowd (my friends included) had already filtered out when C.O.C. launched into ‘Wiseblood’s’ closing track, the all-instrumental “Bottom Feeder (El Que Come Abajo).”
I simply stood there captivated, and although I had consumed vast amounts of booze by then, I was completely blown away by what I was seeing and, more importantly, hearing – four guys, locked in and just playing with everything they had, while practically resurrecting the ghost of the mighty Black Sabbath.
It was the best eight minutes of music I ever witnessed at 1318 4th Ave.

So, there you have it, my Top 10 Drop Shop shows.
Of course, it was difficult narrowing the list down to only 10 shows, so the following deserve honorable mention (in chronological order):
(Thursday, December 7, 1995)
(Monday, July 08, 1996)
(Tuesday, March 18, 1997)
(Tuesday, August 26, 1997)
(Wednesday, September 10, 1997)
Obviously, I chose these for personal reasons, and stated as much in the outset, but I’d really like to hear from you.
What shows meant the most to you personally?
Did I overlook any that you think merit inclusion?
Please, feel free and let me know.

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