34 years of sweat, mosh pits and pure singalongs, all to the glory of New York City. Veterans of the stage, the quartet almost seems to be in better shape today than they were when they started out. Sick Of have had a marathon run in New York since 1986, yet hits like “Long As She’s Standing” and “A Month of Sundays” – composed over the past decade – sound even more violent and edgy than their earlier productions.
Loyal to their native Queens, the CBGB, their modest origins, and 80s spirit, and humble to the core, the group’s line up has remained absolutely unchanged for three decades. An almost impossible achievement in an environment where band members are seemingly interchangeable.
Apart from a radio clash in the 90’s with Born Against, the two Koller brothers with Armand Majidi and Craig Ahead got along with everyone and managed to keep away from scandals, prison and hard drugs. This is quite something when you consider the background they came from: the NYHC scene of the time – led by Madball, Warzone, Agnostic Front and Cro-Mags – looked more or less like a vast reenactment of the Battle of the Somme right in the middle of the Lower East Side, but this time with guitars and amps.
Since starting out, Sick Of It All have adopted the rhythm of a pretty traditional rock band: ‘usually we do one album, then two years of touring, then a year off’, their bassist Craig Setari aka Craig Ahead recently stated. ‘Sometimes things get delayed. But that’s normally how it works.’ In the way that some people head to the office every day, the Koller brothers get their heads down, both in the studio and on stage, all in the name of the hit factory that is Sick Of It All. The band is very keen on the working-class hero side of things. Just like their brothers-in-arms from Agnostic Front, S.O.I.A. owes as much to hardcore as it does to proletarian Oi! “Call to Arms”, “Long As She’s Standing” and “Sanctuary”, all tracklisted here, are clearly there to remind us of this. “Us Vs. Them” is clearly something of a hooligan song. This delicate reference to skinheads as well as to the English working class – an inflammatory model of youth – has always appealed to the core New Yorkers, and has been exported across the Atlantic.
It would appear that the source of the fountain of eternal youth is in Queens, and Sick Of It All continue to drink from it. It’s a good bet they’ll be celebrating the band’s fortieth anniversary on stage. Be there! Or, for those of you who have already seen them, go again! We all know the experience is incredible.