But the night belonged to The Suicide Machines, whose hour-long set included a sampling of songs from their entire five-album catalogue, including such crowd-pleasers as DDT, Burning in the Aftermath, Too Much, Permanent Holiday, and New Girl. Much of The Suicide Machines’ music is political, and, midway through the set, lead singer Jason Navarro stopped long enough to encourage the audience to register to vote and get George W. Bush out of the White House. “This is serious,” said Navarro. “To save our country, and the world, even if we have to vote the lesser of two evils, this guy’s got to go.”

Navarro also paused to remark on the similarities between Detroit, his hometown, and Buffalo, saying that both were dying rust belt cities with many similarities and that he loved this city. Then the band broke into Step One, a song about Detroit and its rapid decay.

There was no encore at this show, a surprising thing considering how frantically the kids danced and sang along, but we here at Alt got something better. Navarro agreed to talk with us a little about politics, music, and his band.

On Bush and Iraq:M

“I look at him [Bush], and he doesn’t look intelligent. Not only is it embarrassing, it’s very scary that he has so much power.”

“What I see on T.V. was this: first they said Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, then it was, ‘oh, they’re harboring terrorists,’ and now it’s ‘oh, wait. We’re doing this to liberate Iraqis.”

“But, the thing is, we need a military base in the Middle East; that’s why we’re there.”

On the Democratic Presidential Aspirants:

“I don’t think any of them are a good choice. Wesley Clark is the only guy who could probably win.”

“People on the left have to get behind a Democrat who can win the race. Right now, that’s what needs to be done.”

“Locally, people can work to get more progressive people, such as the Green party, into office, but the national picture is too scary to let Bush win again.” On Music, Politics and Consumerism:

“The whole reason we went on the Warped tour was to speak out against the war in Iraq. I knew we’d play to a thousand people or so everyday, and most of the people were with me.”

“At the time we made our last album (A Match and Some Gasoline), everyone seemed to have kind of shut up about the war.”

“All punk music doesn’t have to be serious. We’re goofy at times. The world needs goofiness.”

“Punk’s been totally hijacked as a fashion. I’m not a sour old man, though. I’m glad the kids have what they have.” On the Buffalo Detroit Connection:

“I think Buffalo’s part of the midwest. I don’t care what anyone says.”

“I love Detroit, but Detroit’s always gonna suck. The casinos are going to make it worse. Give it ten years.”

“By the time I was 20, my friends were dying from heroin and getting car-jacked. It’s happened in all these rustbelt cities.” The Suicide Machine's month long tour ends December 6. Navarro said that they’ll be back on the road and back in Buffalo next year, doing what they do best: playing fast, loud, angst-filled songs. By Brendan Coyne

Skating and cold weather don’t go together and Vans’ sponsored events normally don’t make it this far north after September, but the recent opening of Extreme Wheels on Hertel Avenue in Buffalo promises to change that. Housed in the 111-year-old former home to the John Kam Malting Co., the eight-week-old Extreme Wheels is banking on becoming Buffalo’s newest home for the punk rock skater sect with a growing slate of concerts and, for a small fee, half pipes and ramps available to the skating and biking public. The venue has had a couple of shows, featuring local bands. But the real coming out party occurred on November 8 with Detroit ska-punk veterans The Suicide Machines headlining a six-band bill. There were about three hundred persons, mostly high-school aged kids, in attendance. They included a few dozen skaters and bikers, who took full advantage off the live soundtrack to their friendly competition. All five openers pleased the young crowd, with Boston’s Unseen and Chicago’s Break the Silence drawing the most enthusiastic response.