Sick Of It All
with AFI, Hot Water Music, and Indecision
The Masquerade, Tampa, FL • November 5, 1999
There were police on every corner in Ybor on Friday night. Barricades blocked the street behind the Masquerade. “Hey, no skateboarding,” one of the officers barked. Once inside, the scene was drastically different. Mohawks, spikes, and chains lay in every direction. The smell of sweat and leather filled the air.
The New York hardcore band, Indecision, took the stage first. They dedicated their next to last song to the grandmother of the “singer,” and the song before was about being twenty-five years old. Some serious anger was apparent, but the mosh pit was small. Then, Hot Water Music played, with a notably loud performance that held no threads of emo. A couple of crowd surfers began to find their way to the hands of the crowd, but it wasn’t until AFI came out that the crowd really began to move.
Two jack-o-lanterns lit either side of the stage as AFI started to play. Finally, the stage lights came on as Davey Havok, AFI vocalist, ran onto the stage. He wore black vinyl, black lipstick, and dark purple hair. Everyone sang along, and the mosh pit doubled in size. The crowd contracted and expanded as people tried to push their way to the front. Some tried to crowdsurf their way onto stage and one lucky fan was successful. Security lunged after him, but Davey pushed them away and the fan made his way backstage, where he was captured by other security. On the song “Halloween,” Davey walked out onto the crowd and stood on the hands of screaming fans while he finished singing the song. “They get better and better every time I see them,” I heard someone say between songs. When AFI was done, punks hollered and grabbed for broken drum sticks and play lists.
As the final act, Sick Of It All, came on stage, the crowd went crazy again. But Sick Of It All put on less of a theatrical act than AFI. Lou Koller (Sick Of It All vocalist) wore a simple outfit comprised of shorts and a T-shirt. He continually jumped onto the crowd, and rarely found enough support to hold his weight up. Yet the crowd seemed to enjoy the performance. The mosh pit retained most of the members who found their way in during AFI’s set, and there were plenty of fans singing along with the music. At the end of the night, everyone filed out. We all left with the satisfaction of having relieved our pent up aggression. ◼