From Nick Pell at Red Star Times.
I don’t think a city ever needed a hardcore scene more than Boston. Beantown is a cold city, both the temperature and the population. Whether you’re a Beacon Hill patrician or a Charlestown townie a basic attitude of “fuck you” underlies each and every human interaction. Add to that an influx of obnoxious art school and college kids and you’ve got a recipe for extreme alienation for anyone with a brain and an independent streak.
It’s hard for me to imagine what Boston was like before hardcore dropped. Legend has it that the city was full of, in the eloquent words of Al Barille, “new wave faggots and new romantic bullshit.” I’d like to say that I can’t imagine BU students going to Landsdowne on a Friday night in pirate shirts and Adam Ant-style warpaint, but sadly I can picture such a thing all too easily. To this day, Boston is plagued with skinny jeans, angular haircuts and a hipper-than-thou aesthetic that has infiltrated even my beloved hardcore scene. But it wasn’t always this way.
Boston hardcore was forged in a climate of bad weather, worse people and just a tiny taste of the sounds coming out of Washington, D.C. I give respect to D.C. for being the inspiration for Boston. However, where D.C. had the optimism and intelligence of the children of diplomats and Senators, Boston is marked by the chip-on-the-shoulder of kids from the more well-to-do elements of the working class. Boston hardcore was too clever by half. Kids in the scene and the bands were smart enough to know they were getting stepped on, but not quite smart to do anything about it and a little too smart to just not care.