By Adam Lovinus
By Lilledeshan Bose
By Gabriel San Roman
By Rachel Mattice
By Stephanie Zacharek
By Daniel Kohn
By Nate Jackson
By Mike Seeley
Anti-Flag/The Criminals/Pinhead Circus
Friday, June 11
Punk! Rawk! Punk! Rawk! Punkrawk punkrawk punkrawk punkraaawwwkkk!!!It was indeed another Punk Night at Chain Reaction, but not justanother Punk Night: as an added, unbilled attraction, it was also Stray Bodily Fluids 'N' Wastes Night. The loogies were a-flyin'! The puke was a-spewin'! The sweat was a-gushin'! The poop logs were a-ploppin'! No joke on that last one—some cockless wonder actually pinched off a warm, steamy loaf right there on the men's-room floor! Contrary to the hot rumor, it was notus—if we were ever to make such a bold, blunt, critical musicological statement, we'd have done so onstage in front of a band we reallyhate. But, honestly—talk about bad aim.
We arrived too late and missed the Atomic Bombs, as well as the evening's most thrilling action sequence, which happened when some pasty punker hurled huge, gnarly chunks of crusty puke outside near the doorway (pasty punkers projectile puking—say that10 times fast). After we carefully maneuvered around it and stepped inside, we were greeted by a sea of spiky-mohawked youth, which made us feel like it was 1981 all over again. We had to fight the urge to walk up to someone and mutter something snotty, like, "Excuse me, but are you aware that you appear to have a large sea urchin dry-humping your skull?" It was cool, though—there was even a mohawk contest after the Criminals' set—but we couldn't help asking ourselves some very persnickety questions. Like how many people were there just to model their parentally purchased-at-Wal-Mart line of PunkWear™? And how many will wake up Monday, transformed into perfectly groomed corporate clones, and drag themselves off to that lousy temp job they hate? Our guess: more than a handful. We feel, bruddahs and sistahs.
Pinhead Circus were all right—loud, fast and hard and all, but not terribly memorable. They liked switching back and forth between '77-era punk (which isn't nearly as dangerous as it once seemed), '81-era punk (which kinda still is) and '90s pop-punk (which tries desperately to sound dangerous but usually fails horrifically). About half the punks in the crowd really hated Pinhead Circus' schizoid stance, but some punks hate everything.
We're not sure the Criminals' first composition was titled "Fuck You," but we reached that conclusion on very scientific-seeming evidence: their singer hollered the engaging, forbidden, enthralling two-word phrase some 2,700 times. They were a better band than the Pinheads, alternately exciting and terrifying (but truly scary only when we got too close to the swiftly churning pit, which took up most of the floor). And they had a superb female drummer who positively ripped, defying the unwritten alterna-rawk rule that says if you're gonna have a woman in the band, for some reason she's gotta play bass. We also liked the part where their long-winded crooner shot off a few funny zingers aimed at the people who were too afraid to mosh ("Awww, you don't wanna getcher brand-new leather jackets scratched, now do ya?").
Anti-Flag slapped a "Your Silence Will Not Protect You" sticker on their kick drum and strung up their hefty, upside-down American flag before their set, like they always do. They're a buncha political Pittsburgh peace punkers (say that10 times fast, too), as we told you last week. But their live show was quite the ballsy, unrestrained experience as well, full of anger, vitriol, volume and buckets of hard-working, blue-collar, stinky-ass sweat. The whole damn room turned into one big wet bog on the first few downstrokes of their anthem "Fuck Police Brutality" (and aren't allAnti-Flag tunes anthems?), a song about when bad cops happen to good people. After that rousing intro, they slid through one up-from-the-underclass, pump-your-fists-in-the-air-and-pump-'em-like-you-just-don't-care explosion after another, several of which, like "New Kind of Army," "Red, White & Brainwashed," "We'veGot the Numbers," and especially that one where we all got to scream/spell out ANARCHY ("Ay-En-Ay-Are-See-Aitch-Why!"), made us wanna go start a revolution, march off to Washington, Sacramento and Santa Ana, and OVERTHROW THE PIGS THAT RUN THE SYSTEM! We weren't sure exactly whywe felt this way, but it felt kinda good being part of mob rule, if only for a little while. Today, Chain Reaction; tomorrow, the world!Send tapes, CDs and tips on where we should go (besides hell) to Locals Only, OC Weekly, P.O. Box 10788, Costa Mesa, CA 92627-0247.