There was a lot going on in the RVA hardcore scene in the late 90s and early 00s, and this amazing gallery of hardcore flyers from that era does a great job of capturing that fact–and reminding us all that 15 years really is a long time.
There was a lot going on in the RVA hardcore scene in the late 90s and early 00s, and this amazing gallery of hardcore flyers from that era does a great job of capturing that fact–and reminding us all that 15 years really is a long time. For those who, like me, were going to shows at that time, it probably doesn’t seem like it’s been that long. And yet there are a variety of reminders of just how much things have changed. For one thing, this was a time when house shows could put the address of the house right on the flyer, without having to worry that the cops would see it online and show up before the show started. Of course, that didn’t work 100% of the time, as anyone who remembers the House Of Mosh on Parkwood Ave will tell you. But the number of flyers in this gallery that feature both addresses and, sometimes, directions to a basement show may astound the younger kids who only know today’s internet-based paranoia.
There are other ways in which it’s clear that these flyers are a survivor of different times–the cut and paste graphics, for one thing. Sometimes this translates to sloppy, half-assed imagery, but at other times, it opens things up for some pretty amazing hand-drawn art, which doesn’t show up much on today’s computer-designed flyers. Meanwhile, the flyers in this gallery that were obviously designed on computers look primitive and crappy, because computer design was still in its infancy at that point. And of course, all of these flyers were eventually taken to a Kinko’s or an Office Max and xeroxed 500 times on copy machines that never ran quite as well as you hoped. Anyone who promoted a lot of shows in those days became an expert in fixing those damn things on the fly (if I had a dollar for every time I was asked by other Kinko’s customers if I worked there…). Then there’s the surprising amount of hugely-popular bands who are listed as openers or mid-card acts on bills that would fill much bigger venues today. Hatebreed opening for Six Feet Under? Killswitch Engage AND Every Time I Die playing at Alleykatz, aka Kingdom (there were about 10 people at that show, too)? Terror as the opening band on a straight edge show at Twisters, aka Strange Matter? You’ll never see any of these lineups again.
One thing that all the fold-lines and beat-up corners on these flyers makes clear is the ephemeral intent with which they were produced. If they got you to come to the show in two weeks, they’d served their purpose, and most of us threw them away afterwards, or used them as scrap paper to make grocery lists and take phone messages (haha, remember landlines?). Fortunately for us, reddit user softscrub chose to rebel against the disposable nature of show flyers and save all of these, so we can now look back on an era that’s gone forever. Enjoy going through all of these and reliving the memories, or drooling over the shows you missed because you were only 10 at the time. Full disclosure: my old bands are in here a few times…