Danny, scored us free
tickets to this through KALX where he's a DJ, but was
late picking me up from Fruitvale BART so I missed the
DEK completely. I
wasn't too bent out of shape about it though. Four
suburban teenagers dressed in ridiculous Partridge
Family inspired clothes/costumes from the 70's
playing "punk" songs about high school crushes,
teenage boredom, "parents that just don't understand,"
and crappy B-movies like a second rate version of
early Redd Kross?... Whatever.
Angel City Outcasts'
combination of Eddie Van Halen inspired hard rock
guitar theatrics, melodic street-(pop)-punk,
andcountry-fried rockabilly didn't move me, or anyone
else, very much at all. Vocalist Alex Brugge and lead
guitarist "Tak" (aka. Artak Boroyan) repeatedly tried
to win over the crowd with everything from dumb,
greasy haired and tattooed tough-guy anecdotes about
drinking, fighting, and "being on parole" to
practically begging us into singing along to the
choruses of "I'm An A.C.O.," "Never Hang Up Your
Boots," "Outlaw Rock 'N Roll," "Let It Ride," and an
infantile, post-9/11 jingoist fantasy involving Popeye
(yes, the cartoon character) sailing to the Middle
East to "Take down each and every man who tries to
mess with this great land!" called "Popeye In
Afghanistan." The band's cover of Motorhead's "Ace of
Spades," however, was surprisingly good. Drawing a
small number of us, desperate by that point to hear
anything worth getting excited about, upfront for a
brief fist-pumping group-shout.
setting up their gear and doing a quick sound check
behind the stage's mini-movie screen (where scenes of
The Specials skankin' it up from Dance Craze: The
Best of British Ska was shown to keep us
The Briggs wasted no
time with introductions. Charging to the edge of the
stage with barking rant-chants over slashing riffs,
the LaRocha brothers, Joey (vocals/rhythm guitar) and
Jason (lead guitar),steered their bandmates through
the '77 punk rock-spiked oi! of the band's Numbers
debut ("Red Alert," "Media Control," "One Shot Down,"
"Bored Teenager," "3rd World War," etc.)and a cover of
Cock Sparrer's "Runnin' Riot." For their encore they
down-shifted into the dub reggae of "Top 40" from last
year's Leaving The Ways EP, presumably to give
everyone a chance to catch our breath, before kicking
into the East Coast style hardcore of "All On
Me"complete with a mid-song solo by nimble bassist
Chris Curtis. Joey finishing the latter from inside
the pit after jumping/dragged offstage into it and
getting his Army jacket nearly torn apart in the
process. Not bad at all.
A lot of people made a big stink about founding
members Tony "Reflex" (aka. Tony Brandenburg) (aka. "Cadena,"
"Montana," etc.) (vocals), Steve Soto (bass), and
Frank Agnew (rhythm guitar) reforming the
Adolescents a couple
years ago without legendary lead guitarist Rikk Agnew
and drummer Casey Royer (longtime vocalist for D.I.).
Although the absence of those two is definitely
noticeable both creatively and in terms of
showmanship, having Derek O'Brien from Social D's
Mommy's Little Monster era lineup as Casey's
replacement on drums, in my opinion, at least half-way
makes up for it. The circle-pitchurnedroughly as they
ripped into the seminal "Blue Album"'s jagged-smooth
mix of caustic punk venom and canorous pop harmonies
(except for the markedly absent "I Hate Children") - a
veritable blueprint for early 80's LA/OC HC; a handful
of new ones like "Hawks And Doves," "Lockdown
America," and "Where The Children Play" off OC
Confidential, their first release in seventeen
years; the title track from Brats In Battalions,
and a cover of The Stooges' "I Got A Right."
Frank's stand-in due to his, according to Tony,
"recovering from knee surgery" was fifteen year old
guitar prodigy Joe Harrison from the band Wrecking
Crew (named after the old Adolescents
song), who was nothing short of amazing. The band flew
this kid all the way out from LA for this show and he
didn't miss a single note throughout their entire set.