BEING THERE: Jay Laughlin @ Johnny Brenda’s



Opening with “Before the Dawn” perfectly set the mood for Saturday night’s intimate, unplugged celebration of the 30 year anniversary of the day guitarist Jay Laughlin and his friend Frank “Skip” Candelori started playing music together in a band called Turning Point. Although Skip tragically passed away in 2002, Saturday night, Jay sat with his old acoustic guitar upstairs at Johnny Brendas to walk us through his memories making the audience fell like they were right there in the practice space writing some of early 90’s hardcore’s most seminal material.

Some diehard fans from back in the day adorned with their old Turning Point shirts would heckle endearingly here and there as Jay would laugh and briefly mention things about Skip and then bust out a Rollerskate Skinny cover he loved. He also mentioned a secret that most of the songs he wrote were basically based off a particular Metallica song.

After a few Godpseed songs such as “Swimmer’s Ear” he started winding down with Turning Point ballads such as “Broken” and “Thursday.” By then one could feel the tears forming in the room as he closed with “Behind this Wall”. If you closed your eyes it was easy to picture him as a teenager blasting tunes out of his basement and now at Johnny Brendas, a stage and crowd so familiar it’s become an extension of himself. Something about the way he plays and sings makes you feel like you’ve always known him and keeps you wanting to know more.

Supporting bands were openers Matt Scheuermann a.ka. Lowercase Roses, with his unique deep dark yet melodic guitar and new shirt he said he bought for the show when Jay asked him to play, followed by more sweet sounds by Roger Harvey. As a 90’s Boston hardcore kid who never got to see Turning Point since they never played up there, I felt like I was actually at an old Turning Point show waiting for them to play and could feel the love for Skip in the crowd. — MARK LIKOSKY