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Locker Room Punks

Readers! How doth thy wending, wearying path of existence treat thy psyche? Thy Soul? Me hopeth well for thee.

Ooops. I knew I shouldn’t have gone to that Shakespeare poetry slam last night! Talk about wonton abuse the iambic pentameter!

To state the obvious, I went to a show. Duh!

The Venue: The Locker Room.

City/State: Garden Grove, CA.

It’s located behind the actual Garden Grove Amphitheater. And yes, Virginia, there are lockers. Of course, they’re plastered with sundry band decals and nasty phrases scrawled with permanent marker. Hmm… I did notice one band that got a bit carried away with letting people know who was there. Looking at you Taken Days!

On first was a band that was fresh: Alternative Citizens.

Alternative Citizens. Photo Credit: Me.

And by fresh, I am wondering if these kids have a guidance counsellor. But the rub is would their guidance counselor really want to know where they were that night. I can tell you. They were playing punk rock like a bunch of hungry, hormonal and pissed off teenagers.

Let’s just admit it, THIS is how punk rock should be played each and every time. THIS is why we got into it. THIS is why we still get that shiver running down our spines when those fast, distorted, minor chords kick in.

They enthralled me to no end. Yet, I was very loath to start moshing due to those immense plate glass windows towards the entry of the venue. They play between Lookout! Records-era Green Day and The Violent Femmes. With essence of The Ramones thrown in to compliment the flavor. And yes. Im down for seconds. Please and thank you.

Decent Criminal. Photo Credit: Me.

When watching a band perform, one of my hallmarks, is that their songs sound exactly the same live as on record. This is no small feat. Decent Criminal know their craft quite well. They take the stage and captivate you from the first chord.

Their zeal for performing their music is contagious. It’s a good sign that when a band plays, they look like they are having the time of their lives. And I have to say that Decent Criminal do rock the joint with aplomb. If they don’t get you off your feet and shouting along to their lyrics by the fourth song, something has gone dead wrong.

Despite the goofy/hooky minor chord changes, the deft rhythm section and the monosyllabic song titles, it is the vocal harmonies that separate Decent Criminal from the pack. Like a next generation Bad Religion, the vocals enhance their live performance. Making their songs hit harder and stay in you head for weeks on end.

Toxic Energy. Photo Credit: Me.

Toxic Energy plays a blend of punk standards (Kudos for playing Neat Neat Neat by The Dammed!) and originals into an energetic blend of punk rock. Their set careens around the room causing spasmodic eruptions among the willing and unwilling that, in the end, forms into a frothing mosh pit. But oh yeah. Those plate glass windows by the entrance. Fuck it all. I put in a few laps anyways.

I don’t know about you but when at a venue, I can usually tell who is there to see what band. Tonight, the majority of attendees made it plain as day that the Last Gang was the band de la nuit. Up until that point, I had never heard note one of their music. This can go one of two ways. Way #1: The reason you’ve never heard of them is because they suck. Plain and simple. Way #2: The headliner is a finely tuned group of musicians who can play their instruments well enough to land a recording contract. And I am very thankful that on this evening, Way #2 was in full effect.

Exactly one half of The Last Gang. Photo Credit: Me.

Once on the stage, Brenna Red and company deliver a masterclass on playing gutsy, heart-felt punk rock. The rhythm section is tight and the guitar work is somewhere between Social Distortion and The Dammed. Their chunky yet agile chords bounce off the walls with a cool, brutish attitude. The energy level this band performs at is amazing and never relents for one second.

I would like to thank Greg from Toxic Energy and Efrem from Death By Stereo for putting this show together and manning the soundboard. Kudos to you, Sirs. Kudos indeed for a job well done.

Now I’m done.

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