This was a crucial show—August 9, 2002—at the old Grog Shop on Coventry in Cleveland, Ohio. In George W. Bush America, post-9/11, I didn’t want to hear complacent or arty music. We were under attack. From our own government. Sound familiar?
The music was incredible. Seriously. Here were three of the best bands at that time on the thrash / hardcore axis, laying it down onstage. Heavy. Fierce. Punishing.
First up was Fields Of Fire from Los Angeles.
“The only other factoid is I was the only Angeleno in FOF. Noel and Jamie were high school friends from Goleta, Graham was from Oak View, and Chris was from Oxnard. Noel and Jamie had already graduated, but still living in Goleta.”
Check this out—Ben Edge’s tour diary from 2002, with his impressions of Cleveland, the people and the show:
Next band to play was Annihilation Time, this crazy-heavy Oxnard/Ventura, CA-area band that blew our minds on the 9 Shocks Terror tour earlier that spring.
Ben Merlis has the edge on the particulars: “Annihilation Time was Fred Hammer (vocals), Graham Clise (guitar), Chris Grande (bass), Jamie Sanitate (second guitar), some dude named Clinton filling in on drums just for that tour. Tony Melino was the regular AT drummer at that point and he just couldn’t do the tour. A couple years later Noel Sullivan became the AT drummer.”
Now I thought these next photos were of Annihilation Time—but they’re not. Why the confusion?
Ben again: “Fred Hammer (O.G. AT singer) was still in the band. Jimmy was our roadie, and he quit in Cleveland and stayed there. Then Jimmy joined AT later on. I don’t remember exactly the month/year, but probably within six months of that tour ending.”
Clevo rage + Socal vibey, post-SST hardcore = some amazing shit, man! AT was just beginning a climb to rock immortality. You could feel the legend building with every guitar lick—I’m not even exaggerating. If you don’t know Annihilation Time check them out (and watch this site for photos coming soon).
But for this particular show at the Grog, it seems I have no Annihilation Time pics. WTF? I’m super bummed.
Which means, this band must be Jimmy’s Dirtbag, a transitional band between GSMF and AT.
Sharkey got naked, certifying the evening as a most successful party.
All the fests and D.I.Y. shows they had been playing over the years had culminated and here they were—heading up their own musical movement.
The opening bands gathered around as they ripped through classic jam after classic jam. I really felt like I was leaving town on a high note.
I wish I could remember more details. Maybe you do? Maybe you even have video or photos?
Here’s more from my final months living in Cleveland: