1/20/2016 0 Comments
Written by GE 138.
"You are going to need wrist bands to get in and out of these doors." some guy was randomly yelling at Erika and I (plus Bob of course) as we were walking into the rear entrance of Backstage Bar & Billiards. As we made our way in he abruptly turned around and stopped us in our tracks and asked "Are you in a band?". Yeah, I replied. "A band that's playing tonight?". I looked at him with a WTF sneer and said Yeah. "Are you sure?" I laughed and said Yeah, I'm pretty sure, and he says "OK, but go right to the front and get your wristbands, OK?" OK, I assured him and make my way inside Triple B's. There already was a grip of people in the place, and the second hand smoke was thick in the air. Faster Pussycat, Kill! Kill! was on a loop on every monitor in the room. Nice. There was a queue of people waiting to get in, and Helen (Pulsar's Mom) looked stressed out as she was trying to do 3 things at once.Carlos S.F.T. and Crystal were walking right up the same time I was. Hi, I said to Helen, I need to get 3 wristbands please. She said "You're only allowed 5, one per band member total and you've already got 3 out." Now as far as I knew, I was the first one to go up front and ask for anything in that regard, so I asked her Who grabbed the first 3? "The drummer, his wife, and her friend." I literally LOL'd when she told me that, and I laughingly assured her that that was an impossibility, as I was the drummer of the band and my girlfriend was in the bathroom, and that we didn't have a friend with us - we had a Bob, who's a dysfunctional member of the Civilians family. She replied, "Oh, well I know him quite well, and I can assure YOU that it was him that took the passes." Uhhhhmmm, OK. I had lost the taste to suss it out diplomatically and logically and just told her Look, the guy in the back was giving me a hard time about getting wristbands to go in and out, and he sent me up here, which is the only reason why I am up here, and you can either give me the wristbands or not, but if you don't, I'm not loading my gear in to play the gig, and you can tell everybody that asks why I'm not. She kind of looked at me and I smiled as she handed over a grip of wristbands, which I then handed out to everyone I knew in the vicinity. So yeah, that's how the T.S.O.L. gig kicked off for me... LOL
Everybody and their Mom was in the place. The Goths, The Punks (Young and Old), The Punx (Oi!), The Bro-hams, The Nerds, and some old people who looked like they were up way past their bedtime. We were all their to pay homage to T.S.O.L., and the turnout was excellent for a Weds. night. I stood around chatting with Monica, Karl, Bethany, Jesse, Roxie, Carlos and Crystal (of course), Dave, and a whole plethora of various people and friends I can't recall at the moment. We all stood around smoking and drinking and waiting for something, anything, to begin. Finally, after a little prodding by Jeremy to the sound man to make sure the bands stayed to their scheduled time slots, opening band Sheiks From Neptune took to the stage to some prerecorded Sci-Fi noise and rolling waves of fog, and even before I recognized them as the band once known as Bloody Ale (at least the singer anyways), I wasn't feeling it. They played an up-tempo Sci-Fi Surf vibe type of Punk Rock, all while wearing fez hats and loud Hawaiian print shirts, looking like Shriners (Shriner-core!), and the crowd was lapping it up big time. I felt old and out of it because I didn't get the appeal. Fun circle pit action broke out sporadically as people were just rocking out to what they were playing, and the fog throughout their set was a cute touch, but it reeked of effort, man. It reeked of them trying waaaaaaay too hard to have people like them, but it worked, because people were digging the fuck out of the Sheiks From Neptune, so what do I know? I said my goodbyes to everyone I was hanging around with and headed off to help Bob with the drum kit backstage.
It's always great to play Triple B's. Big Daddy Carlos runs a good place there, and if it was anywhere else but Downtown, I would totally hang out there all the time, but it is Downtown, the only place that it could really exist, and for that I'm grateful. Better than playing outside in the back area of the Beauty Bar, that's for sure, and everything beats playing at LVCS. Enough said. The Civilians always get a great response when we play at Triple B's, but they usually cut us short, ha ha ha, so tonight, we planned a fast and furious 24 minute set that was all killer, no filler. Lots of circle pit action and just a great response from the crowd. You'd think we were good or something... heh heh We had just gotten our colored vinyl records a few days beforehand, so this gig was a celebration of sorts. Jeremy gave some records out, and people bought a whole bunch more. Red seems to be the popular color of choice so far. I never see anything that's going on while we play, being a drummer and far in the back, and apparently neither do the guys up front who always have lights in their eyes, but I could hear what was going on, and from where I was sitting, it sounded like a wild and raucous and rowdy time was going on. I could hear Karl Bakla being belligerent (You're the only Local band I like!!), and I could hear Scott (the guy who took the picture of the Civilians I stole from Facebook that I'm using for this write up) yelling out song titles, and after every song it sounded like KISS - Alive... hahaha It was a fun time and Thanks to everyone for hanging around and checking us out and supporting us by buying merch. It's sooooo freakin' cool!!
Right after the set I was just exhausted and sweaty and sitting on my ass in the magical hidden room inside the book case directly behind the stage. Lots of kind words and compliments being through my way, with the strangest compliment someone gave me was that "The Civilians have a unique sound'. Whatever. Left Alone started into their set and I just wasn't feeling it. I'm not a big fan of their music, and when I ventured a peek out front to see about maybe taking some pictures of them for the website, I could see it was packed tight as sardines up front, so I went back to the green room to hang out with the guys in T.S.O.L., where Jack was getting everyone drunk on Jack & Cokes and Ron Emery was talking guitars with Jesse Amoroso. I was also engrossed in conversation with Rob Ruckus and Monica and Erika about cannabis oil and edibles, among other strange, interesting things.
We were still chatting away backstage like hens in a hen house when T.S.O.L. took to the stage and started playing their standard set of greatest hits for the hungry crowd. They sounded exceptionally good, except for the drummer, who was THAT guy in the green room, beating on everything he could with a pair of drum sticks while twirling them with his fingers, just to let you know he was a drummer. Ghey. I don't know what happened to their other drummer Tiny, but this guy they had behind the kit was no Tiny, that's for sure. Missed accents, flubbed tom rolls, and non-existent cymbal hits. But besides those little annoyances that probably only I noticed, the band sounded good. Really good. Jack was his usually charming, witty, charismatic self, engaging the crowd and cracking wise to everything being said, and watching that man work a crowd to do his bidding, whether good or bad, is something I've enjoyed for well over 30 years now. It's still very entertaining to watch, and he sounds as good as ever. His voice was strong. He sounded great. Ron's guitar tone has always been impeccable; soulful yet angry, crunchy and melodic all at the same time, and when he plays the guitar lines to songs like Superficial Love or The Triangle, it still makes your blood pump and it gets the hairs on the back of your neck standing straight up. And he's been doing that for years. Fucking love it. Mike on bass does the same thing to me when he plays the opening riffs to Property Is Theft or Weathered Statues. His bass tone is like spooky surfy nightmare melodies made to get you moving, tapping your fingers, toes, something. When he gets to rocking, it's hard to stand still, but yet I was. The crowd was energetic, with a few lunatics running around looking for some circle pit action, but no one in the crowd was feeling it. We were all just a bunch of old people out on a weeknight up way past our bedtime and just wanting to hear some kick ass T.S.O.L. tunes and not slam and pogo around like we used to when we were younger. I was cool with that, because I was spent. T.S.O.L. played every great song of theirs that you can think of, and the crowd loved every minute of it, and after about an hour or so they called it a night by closing with Code Blue. It was a great set from the band, and once they were done the lights came up and everyone shuffled out the doors. Great gig. Fun times. What more could you ask for? T.S.O.L. - you know I love them!! :)
Written by Karl Bakla.
Rough past two weeks for Rock ‘n’ Roll, we lost Dickie Hammond (Leatherface), Brandon Carlisle (Teenage Bottlerocket), Filthy Animal Phil (Motörhead), & we almost lost Dr. Know (Bad Brains) …so turn their tunes up, the music they gave us lives on!
With that stated I went to see Lagwagon last night, let me correct that I went to see Pears play last night & Lagwagon just happened to be on the line up. This might sound strange but for the past 23 or so years I have gone to several Lagwagon concerts, but never seen them play, maybe they are amazing, I dunno!
Got to the show just as the doors opened & I couldn’t help notice how empty the show was. 20 years ago there would have been a line wrapped around the Huntridge if Lagwagon was playing… shortly after I entered the venue the Pears started their set. There is a lot of hype behind this band & usually that just leads me to disappointment, but not tonight! The Pears did not disappoint, even though the room was cold & empty the Pears brought some much needed energy, it also helped that most of the people up front seemed to know all the words to the songs. If you haven’t check out their album Go To Prison, check it out! The songs sound even better live… Pop Punk, Hardcore, both labels apply! By the way, does the singer of the Pears do yoga? He has some amazing moves and kicks shit up several notches!
Next up was the Runaway Kids and they fucking sucked, I wondered whose filthy butthole they licked to get onto the show. If you like Strung Out, you might like this band. The singer sings & they have hints of 90’s mall Punk. For further proof that this bands sucks, just take a look at their Facebook page (click here), one of their members wears a Limp Bizkit shirt, sure that guy will probably beat me up, but so what. I’d rather get my ass handed to me than listen to Nu-Metal or whatever the fuck you call it.
I would like to take a moment and say fuck this venue! I can’t believe people that are 18 years old that pay full price for a ticket have to stand in a small pen on the side of the venue, while people that are 21+ get to stand right in front of the stage but are expected to pay 24 bucks for a double whiskey… I really felt that we are there to buy drinks and the music really didn’t matter. Now don’t get me mistaken, I know they are running a business and have to make some money, but this place was douchie as hell, the only thing douchier were the guys from Punks In Vegas. I’d like to thank Punks In Vegas for their continued commitment to making Punk Rock safe! I noticed that Punks In Vegas has some shit on New Noise Magazine, fuck that magazine it is lame as fuck. If someone handed me New Noise when I was twelve I probably would have passed over Punk for something else.
Next up were The Briefs. Sure the bulk of the crowd didn’t seem to care, but there were quite a few people up front that were excited that they were playing, especially the guy that looked like Rob Schneider. Sure I am not familiar with the bulk of the Briefs discography but I love their Hit After Hit LP & I was stoked they played Silver Bullet & closed their set with Poor & Weird!
Next up were Lagwagon, but it wouldn’t be a Lagwagon show if I stayed to watch them play, so I left and headed out to Roberto's. It’s funny I don’t hate Lagwagon & I actually like a few of their songs, I just never really cared for the white trash tweeker skateboarder types that seemed attracted to them, sure most of those types don’t go to shows any more, but traditions are traditions!
11/6/2015 0 Comments
Written by GE 138.
I had to get out. I had to get away from the computer. Too much Death and Remembrance all over the Interweb had me feeling weirded out and mortal, so with Erika and Bob in tow, I headed off to the Dive to check out a few Local bands that were playing. I was pretty sure I wasn't going to make it to the end of the gig, because it looked like a lot of noise overload on the bill tonight, but I just wanted to have some drinks and be around people. Lots of Friends in attendance had me feeling nostalgic and warm and fuzzy all over. Took me a while to get in because I was chit chatting with everyone and catching up with people I haven't seen in a while. The Dive is going through some renovations as of late - new booths, new stage, new sound system, y todo! The kitchen isn't open yet, but they swear that it's really going to open sometime soon. I can't help but laugh as I've heard that from Angie and Nate for years now, but who know? Maybe this time for real? Doesn't matter. The first band was starting to tune up, so I left my comfy seat at the bar to check out what was going on on the stage. It was System Rejex getting ready to play. I was very interested in seeing these guys, because a few of my friends had raved about them recently.
System Rejex played a really fucking impressive set of true 80's Hardcore Punk Rock tunes ala M.D.C. or early Corrosion Of Conformity. I fucking dug them. Apparently they've been around in one form or another since the 1980's, and are now just getting back into gigging around town and tearing shit up. The bass player / lead vocalist (I think) looked like a Satanic Geddy Lee from Rush and played their crazy fast thrashing Punk tunes with his fingers, which is always impressive. Larry B. (from Life's Torment) was on guitar and he was just cranking out these slamming, awesome, feedback laden riffs with the greatest of ease, and he sang a few songs as well. New songs? Old songs? I had no idea. Sounded pretty good though. Everything was shouted / screamed out and sounded really angry. I liked it. I have no idea who the drummer was, but he was working his ass off back behind the drum kit, playing fast as fuck, breathing hard, and I had a blast just watching him bash away on his kit. He was sweating his ass off but looked like he was having fun while playing. System Rejex were really good. Check them out when you get the chance. One of the more promising Local bands I've seen in a while. Welcome back. Good stuff.
I was telling Chris from Unfair Fight beforehand that it's been years since I've seen them play. He laughed in agreement. I don't know how that happened, but I don't like it. I told Erika and Bob beforehand that I was only going to the gig to see System Rejex and Unfair Fight, and I am sooooo glad that I made the effort, because Unfair Fight played one of the most intense, fucking Brutal, in your face Hardcore set of tunes I've ever seen them play before. Ever. And there was hardly anybody there to see it. Of course. The weeks of touring on the road have made them into a sharp, well armed, Punk Rock killing machine, and the new songs they played from their just released self-titled flexi disc sound fucking amazing. I have no idea of what they were called, but they were a great mind fuck. I couldn't even take pictures, because I was just standing there watching it all unfurl in front of me, mesmerized. Holy shit did Unfair Fight sound good. Dan was his usual passionate, animated self, screaming and barking into the microphone while throwing himself all around the stage like a man possessed, and Chris' guitar work is indescribable. I don't know what he's playing up there, what style, what notes, what chords, but it sounds crazy, like the sound of a machine dying. I dunno. I think the last time I saw Unfair Fight play they had Liz on bass, but she's long gone now, replaced by some Scene kid who looks like he's having a ball up there playing along with the band. Derek on the other guitar just stands up there and rocks the fuck out, hammering away, trying to keep up with what Chris is playing, and banging his head. A lot. Pete's drumming has only gotten harder, faster, more intense, more spastic, with flourishes of brilliance sprinkled throughout. He's the heartbeat of the machine. He powers the whole thing. It runs off of his sweat. It's fucking sick. Unfair Fight's music is intense, dark, twisted, metallic, sinister, and unsettling. Unfair Fight are so good it's scary. I stood front and center dumbfounded, watching as they just chewed the musical space up and spit it out in everyone's face, blowing the roof off the Dive with little to no effort, commanding everyone's attention while they played, playing with a contagious intensity that had everyone in the place creeping forward and being drawn in to what they were playing. They were doing soooooooo good, and then they went off track with a cover of Ready To Fight by Negative Approach. It was a great cover, and they even dedicated it to me, but still, when they were in the middle of an amazeballz set of original songs that were just killing it, it just seemed like a waste of time to play a cover, especially considering the strength of their back catalog of songs. Oh well. I was probably the only one who was bothered by it. It is a pet peeve of mine. Meh. Unfair Fight finished up a much too short set to lots of applause and well wishes from the few and the brave and the friends up front. Fucking fantastic. I was seriously stunned stupid at how fucking amazing Unfair Fight just played. Why these guys are not taking the Punk scene here by storm is one of the most fucked up things ever. Ever.
Burned out. No energy left. Sleep sounded good, and I just wanted to leave. I watched a few songs from Stapled Shut, a Hardcore band from L.A. that I'm sure Larry met at one of his many gigs played out there. They had a heavy Power Violence sound and a scary, ex-felon tattoo'd look about them. They were pretty good but I wasn't feeling it. I was hungry and just wanted some pizza and bed, so leaving Bob behind at the bar, Erika and I went off to Joe's New York Pizza for some grub before passing the fuck out. Sometimes it's good just to get away, if even for a little while.
For more Pictures of System Rejex, please click here. For more Pictures of Unfair Fight, please click here.
Written by FNG Matt.
Yay! I’m writing a gig review for 138! Thanks Gilbert, Yay!!!
That will be the extent of my joy for this article.
After typing for an hour I realized that this review turned into a 3-page rant that was way too long and angry. So here’s the shortened version, but since I don’t want to be a Negative Nancy right off the bat let me start with the good things they did for this It's Not Dead Fest debacle. The coolest thing was the Main Stage. It was 2-sided and turned 180 degrees. So while one band was playing the next was setting up, as soon as a band finished their set the stage rotated and the next band went right into theirs. No downtime. The only exception was NOFX, they were setup but still took their sweet-ass time to start playing. Fuckin Divas.
Next, I must give credit on the lineup itself. Quite a feat getting all those bands together on one day. And finally, it warmed my little heart to see thousands upon thousands of Punks gathered together in one place in the name of Music. It is NOT dead by any means. Punk Rock is alive and well, unfortunately I saw the prices of drinks and I quickly realized that it IS getting a major ass fucking. I would love to write a novel on how shameless this whole thing was but let me stick to the cliff notes before I start smashing my keyboard.
1. $11.50 for a Coors Light tall can, $15 for a double mixed drink, $16 for a “craft beer” $4.75 for a bottle of water, and when I finally gave in and bought one they wouldn’t give me the cap of the bottle. That was very annoying.
2. No pre-announced set times for bands. It was posted inside and I was pissed when I realized I didn't have to be there until around 3 in the afternoon to see the bands I was there for.
3. The SOUND for the main stage was SHIT. I was upfront for The Bouncing Souls set and my friend and I took out our ear plugs (yes, we wear ear plugs) and had a full conversation without yelling in each others faces. I hope someone got slapped for that.
4. Now I know that I can’t blame them for the heat but I still want to bitch about it. It was miserable out there. Makes me appreciate the tents, lunch tables and misters at Punk Rock Bowling.
But at It's Not Dead Fest your comfort is the least of their concerns, Punks are just walking dollar signs that are herded in like cattle. What else is to be expected of the same guy that created Warped Tour and turned it into a traveling joke? Someone wiser and (much) older told me recently “Punk rock belongs in small clubs, on small stages” and as I’m getting older I’m starting to realize that for myself.
It's Not Dead Fest, I shan’t be returning if there is a next year for you. Get fucked ya greedy bastards.
Thanks for reading, I enjoyed writing it even though it raised my blood pressure just recounting that day.
See ya later true believers.