The Long Weekend
Hello readers. I hope you are having a great year so far. And hopefully, you’ve got out there and checked out some shows.
Not going to lie, when I heard that The Currently Classic/Taken Days/This Is A Trainwreck and others were going to play a show in Pomona, California, I was like WHY? When I hear the word Pomona, several things come to my mind. With none of them being any good. Truck Stop Hookers and Meth Labs are the foremost of the bunch.
I put the show in the back of my mind as the Holiday Season ramped up and reached its’ critical mass. As The Holidays came and went, publicity for the show increased in my Instagram feed. “BAH!” I said. “Who wants to go out there for a show? Not Me!” Then during this time, the first Odd Robot show popped up in Oceanside, CA. Decent Criminal was supposed to play on that bill. But Decent Criminal is a band for another article. But trust me when I tell you this- you need to get very, very familiar with Decent Criminal. The sooner the better. You can thank me later.
The plot gets interesting here. I was torn. I hadn’t seen Odd Robot since last August. Odd Robot gets me, musically speaking. But I guess you already figured that out.
And the week of the show, I found myself wanting to go to both shows. But how could I do that? I’ve never in my life taken on such a challenge. 83 miles separate the towns. And I would start in Long Beach for both trips. The logistics were simply staggering.
On that Friday night, I found myself eating dinner and wanting to go to Pomona. And as 7:15p.m. rolled around, I gussied myself up and ordered a Lyft to Pomona with no expectations.
I entered DBA 256 and heard a band playing a cool blend of The Smiths/Mudhoney/Dinosaur Jr. Their name: Storm Coast. As they played on, I began to kick myself that I didn’t arrive earlier. I was witnessing something special occurring. DBA 256 is a very well-appointed bar/performance space. The stage is a bit on the small side. The acoustics are good. But the downer is that the bathrooms need a bit of work.
Storm Coast @ DBA 256. Photo Credit: Me.
As Storm Coast ended their set, I found a place that was rapidly filling up. What? A packed club? No Way!! Way, I say. WAY! After a while several of my friends, who are used to the lukewarm, non-existent crowds and empty floors in Orange County, stood in stunned silence as we turned to face the entrance of DBA 256 to see it teeming with people. These days, I can’t tell you just how refreshing it is to see a live music venue filling up. Then This A Train Wreck hit the first note of their set.
If you don’t know about (I’m going to abbreviate This Is A Train Wreck as TIATW from here on out.) TIATW, you need to. TIATW has a zany energy about them that makes you want to pull them closer to you. Because on the outside, they’re just regular people, like you and me. As their set progressed, I was stunned at just how great these guys can play punk rock.
This Is A Train Wreck @ DBA 256. Photo Credit: Emily Shephard
Despite their fresh faces, these guys can hang with the likes of Pennywise and No Use For A Name any day of the week. As an added feature, these guys are one of the hardest working bands out there. It’s a rare weekend that this band isn’t playing somewhere. Needless to say, I enjoyed their set immensely. I often found myself shouting along to the lyrics…even though I really didn’t know their song catalog that well. Rest assured dear readers that I am taking steps to rectify that. And yes folks, you can party with them after their set. They like that sort of stuff.
The Currently Classic @ DBA 256. Photo Credit: Me.
The Currently Classic is a band that sneaks up on you. When they start playing, you really don’t have a clue as to what they’re on about. Are they alternative? Are they punk? Are they moody lil brats? Or are they just ambient noise with a cool blonde (Or whatever hair tint Peter is feeling at the moment. That evening, his hair was a Lilac blue type of deal.) Latino Morrisey thingamajig. I really didn’t know for sure at that time. I will say that their bass player, Diego, swings and is their secret weapon. I began to understand them as their set progressed. And, I liked it. I’m glad to say that these guys are coming back. They have something unique to offer your ears.
Pomona showed me something I did not think possible-A place that people actually wanted to be at. This scene desires resurrection. If you’re in a band and reading this, I heartily suggest that you get on your ponies, hitch up your gear and ride out to DBA 256 and play a few of your tunes. These people are clamoring for good, original music. I even made some new friends. If I can do it, so can you.
The next night found me in Oceanside, CA. The Pour House was my destination. It may look small from the street but once inside, the club opens up and has a decent sized stage and a good P.A. system. I went inside and caught up with the guys in Nights Like Thieves. They delivered a stellar set. Their new songs sound great live.
I had seen Odd Robot several times before, so I knew what to expect. Yet, I bristled with excitement before they hit the stage. Once they’re off the runway, Odd Robot swings with ease. Odd Robot has some very catchy tunes. Wait a minute…who am I fooling? ALL their songs are as catchy as herpes after Uncles Day at the local brothel. But at its core, the beats supplied by Mr. Damien Monroy are exactly what separates Odd Robot from the boys of the power pop punk pack.
A fully operational and assembled Odd Robot. Photo Credit: Me.
I have to be honest here. I am not a big fan of keyboards in rock or punk for that matter. Just listen to Children of Bodom. That is some fine, face-melting guitar playing and even finer Scandinavian Death Metal. Alexi Laiho was taken way too soon. Yet when those keyboards drop, the air is let out of the balloon and then the song flits about and makes a farting noise as it splats on the ground with nothing left to give. Then we look at the detrius of our action and wonder why did that in the first place.
And yes. When I heard the keys on that fateful night, when Odd Robot performed their livestream last year, the keys were very prevalent. I really didn't know how to take it. Eventually, I decided to accept the decision and go with the flow. The way I was used to them sounding when they were a 3-piece (Hard as fucking nails.) seemed like a very long time ago.
But here I am about to gush like a freshly tapped Oklahoma oil well about a keyboard player. So here goes...Nate Phung takes Odd Robots' music well into the next level. The touches and nuances he brings are amazing. The guys' tone ups the ante; giving them more depth live and on record. And as cheezy as it sounds..Wait! There's more! His ability in the backing vocal arena is a welcome addition as they play. So, yeah. I'm all on board with the addition. Thank you very much.
Odd Robot Set List 1/29/2022. The Pour House, Oceanside, CA. Photo Credit: Me.
On the drive home in the wee hours that very early Sunday morning, I felt very fortunate to have been able to witness both shows. I'll admit that it was a while for me to recover from all that energy being emitted and absorbed. Face it. This an amazing time to catch a live rock n' roll show. Much love and respect to all the bands I saw over this weekend.
Now I’m done.