Drawing their strength from the volcanic lava heyday of NYC punk, SickWalt exploded onto the Mercury Lounge stage this week with the veracity of men on a mission: shut your mouth, open your mind and let’s rock, baby.
Lead singer Walter Novak delivered his powerhouse vocals with muscles twitching and veins pulsing never missing a step as the band pummeled each song into submission. Urging the late night crowd with Iggy Pop-ness contortions, Novak was a stellar front man captaining the SickWalt ship while Max Capshaw on drums thundered through the tunes with cymbal crashes and skull-jarring bass drum rhythms. Guitarist Matt Middleton slinked his way around Novak’s vocals, throwing in his two-cents with finesse as his wailing guitar solos danced above the fray. And throughout every song, Pat Fischer on bass kept the frenetic train on track with a steady pulse of someone who has ice-water for blood.
SickWalt is a band 25 years in the making with a chemistry on stage between Novak and Capshaw that has evolved into a non-verbal energy channeled into their songs. The result is a perfect harmony between music and lyrics. Novak thanked the crowd repeatedly throughout the set saying that, “This show could not have happened without all of you. I love you all,” as if he was the mayor of Punk Town holding court in the Village. The fans responded by raising their drinks in a silent toast to the honest expression of gratitude that so many bands nowadays seem to take for granted.
SickWalt is a band that could bring about a revival of the in-your-face punk that many bands have abandoned in favor of electronic enhancements and digital diatribes. This city doesn’t need more skate-electro-pop-hipness with a beard and a mandolin. It needs real bands. It needs to feel the blood, sweat and tears of these hardworking brothers and sisters all over their faces in the front row. They need to hear honest music again and see it with their own eyes. With so many landmark dive-bar music venues closing their doors as of late, one worries that the NYC music scene has lost its way. So pay attention: SickWalt could be the revolution, we die-hard punk fans have been waiting for and all we have to do is buckle in and get ready for the ride of our lives.
Article by: Hannah Soule