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Youth Brigade: Sink with New York

Written by: Andrea Janov, CC2K Music Editor

ImageTo celebrate 25 years of making and distributing music, the Youth Brigade and BYO Records held a show in NYC and CC2K’s Andrea Janov was there. So blast your 80’s punk rock collection and check this out.

Sunday night at Mercury Lounge in New York City’s Lower East Side the audience was transported back into 1983. Punk legends, Youth Brigade screened their new documentary, Let Them Know: The Story of Youth Brigade and BYO Records and afterwords, they played a basement style show.

This documentary added another chapter to the history of punk rock. Full of sound bites from Fat Mike, The Bouncing Souls, 7 Seconds, Ian MacKaye, and the Stern brothers, it illustrated a clear picture of the southern California punk scene of the 80s and Youth Brigade’s place in it. From riots to police harassment, hostilities were at a boiling point in Southern California in the 80s, and in turn pushed punk kids to create their own place. From squats to warehouse shows, they just wanted a place to play and listen to music without the threat of tear gas and a baton to the face on the way out the door. Bands began booking shows at local VFWs, American Legions, and warehouses instead of the traditional music venues and a true DIY ethic began to thrive. Kids began releasing their own records, cross-country tours began being booked, and bands began to gain national exposure. This film really documented the California sect of the DIY attitude that permeates many punk scenes today.


A show followed the screening, NJ’s TV Tramps and The Scandals opened up for Youth Brigade. The Scandals are young and full of defiance. The music and vocals were a great balance of thrash and melody. (Totally excited to see what these guys do in the future.) You can check them out on their myspace page and go buy their new album, The Sound of Your Stereo.


The median age of the crowd was in its mid-thirties but there was no shortage of slam dancing in the pit. Already a bit antsy by the time Youth Brigade’s set started there was a slight disconnect in what the band wanted of the night and what the audience was looking for. The band tried to fill the space with some banter but the crowd was there to sing and dance. Everything gelled as the crowd thrashed along with Believe In Something and screamed I Hate My Life like it was their anthem. As predicted, they closed with Sink with California, inviting everyone to come on stage and sing along. A handful of guys climbed up on stage, arms around each other, crowed at microphones screaming “and we’ll sink with California when it falls into the sea” while the rest of the pit danced as one writhing mass. 

Andrea Janov