The Upshot: Classic L.A. punk combos scorch the assembled masses of Denver in fine style.
TEXT TIM HINELY / PHOTOS BY JASON NUNN
I had been excited about this gig for a few months, as soon as I saw that it was announced. Two classic L.A. punk bands who I had not seen for over a decade and a local bad that I was assured was very good.
Punk rock folks of all shapes sizes showed up at The Marquis Theatre, some who looked like they just huffed some prime gasoline while others looked they’d been sleeping in their closet for the past decade all came out to see these two genuine articles.
I had caught one song by The Spells a few months ago and the bit I saw was enough for me to want to see them again. They’re not really doing anything new here with the garage punk genre ….except write really good songs with a smart ass vocalist (who doubles as a stand-up comic I’m told….this guy was hilarious). Singer sounded a bit like Keith Morris while the rest of the band ground out dirty riffage. The audience didn’t know what to make of ‘em. I hope they play round here lots.
I only caught LA’s Weirdos (above) once, in Portland as a headlining act over the Exploding Hearts (RIP) at Berbati’s in 2003 or so. Gone is old guitarist Cliff Roman but Dix Denney is still here as is his vocalist brother John. On bass is punk round karaoke dude Zander Schloss and a beefy drummer who pounded away like his life depended on it. We heard the hits (“Solitary Confinement” and “Life of Crime” plus other cuts like “Helium Bar” and their cover of “Jungle Rock.” Their set was high energy and well, excellent and if I may, John Denney is looking like a cross between The Fall’s Mark E. Smith and someone from The Adicts (ok, it was the hat). Hats off to the Weirdos!
Last time I saw The Adolescents was in Portland maybe 2005 or so when Frankie Agnew and his son were on guitars. This time around the lineup is original members vocalist Tony Cadena and bassist Steve Soto while three other guys rounded out the lineup and you know what? They sounded superb! As distinctive as Rikk Agnew’s guitar sound is, not sure if I’d closed my eyes I would not have been able o tell that it wasn’t him on stage.
Regarding song selection, they played a bunch of hits off their classic debut album from ‘81, the blue album like opener “No Way” plus “Amoeba,” “Rip It Up,” “Who is Who,” “Self Destruct” “Wrecking Crew,’ “Kids of the Black Hole.” It wasn’t all blue album, however, off later, solid records we also heard “Let It Go,” “Thirty Seconds to Malibu,” “Monsanto” and “Lockdown America.”
Damn right they came out for a few encores as we heard “Brats in Battalions” and “Losing Battle.” Apparently in Denver the crowd was much more appreciative than the one in Salt Lake City the night before (Tony had some heartfelt words on his Facebook page re; the SLC show) and I can’t wait ‘til the next time these guys hit the stage. I’ll be there, will you?