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THE MATCHES

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Between the agony of adolescence and the burgeoning cynicism of early adulthood is that golden time of discovery when possibilities become terrifyingly real. You know, the subject matter for after-school specials, coming-of-age films and what the politicians call "youthful indiscretions." For Oakland-based punk group the Matches, that time is now, and fortunately for them, it's happening just as they're becoming bona fide rock stars. Oakland--a town whose musical legacy builds more on rap stars (like, er, MC Hammer) than its rock acts--apparently bred enough suburban angst to get these guys a covetable deal with Epitaph, which released their tongue-twisting debut, E. Von Dahl Killed the Locals, last May. That album consists of songs they'd already released independently, plus a couple they hadn't: "More Than Local Boys" and "Borderline Creep," otherwise known as the only song with the word "fuck" in the lyrics. "We all live with our parents still," says lead guitarist/vocalist Jon Devoto, "and they didn't want us to use that song until we weren't using their money anymore." Yeah . . . so these Warped Tour veterans are also mama's boys, though it's somehow fitting--while their reputation as a bratty, raucous live act is well-founded, E. Von Dahl's punk falls more toward the heartfelt, Elvis Costello side of the meter than, say, the sex-and-poop-filled G.G. Allin end. And offstage, says Devoto, "we're not a huge crazy party band." He pauses. "We don't have orgies back at our hotel room, either. And if we did, I wouldn't be telling you." (Mark Sanders)

THE MATCHES WITH MOTION CITY SOUNDTRACK, FROM FIRST TO LAST AND MATCHBOOK ROMANCE AT THE HOUSE OF BLUES, 1530 S. DISNEYLAND DR., ANAHEIM, (714) 778-BLUE; WWW.HOB.COM. WED., 6 P.M. $15-$17. ALL AGES (UNDER 16 MUST BE ACCOMPANIED BY AN ADULT).

THE OAK RIDGE BOYS

PARTY LIKE THE BUSH TWINS

Fun fact about the Oak Ridge Boys: they're President George H.W. Bush's favorite band. This country/pop barbershop quartet--featuring one member who hasn't seen a barber in decades--has performed at several Bush family events, including George W's recent inauguration and George H.W.'s 80th birthday party back in June. But don't be fooled by baritone William Lee Golden's bad-ass ZZ Top look--the tenderly corny Oak Ridge Boys have been rocking their fans very gently since they broke out in the late '60s. Their roots are in gospel, but even after they crossed over into country, the moral-minded group eschewed songs about cheating and stealing and refused to cuss in their tunes. The Oaks aren't blatantly political, but with songs like "Take Pride in America" and "Thank God for Kids" (an easygoing anti-abortion ballad), their music coincides with Bush Family Values. Their more well-known hits include "American Made," which was popularized on Miller Beer commercials, and "Elvira," a remake of a '60s doo-wop song, featuring Rich Sterban's trademark "boppa-ooh-mow-mow" bass vocals. Luckily for our 41st president, his beloved band returns his affection. In their online journal, tenor Joe Bonsall raves about H.W.'s birthday party and was evidently particularly impressed when the former prez and his buddies (Brit Hume of FOX News and Chuck Norris, interestingly enough) enjoyed some Army-supervised skydiving: "'41' came soaring out of the sky. It was very windy, and the Army insisted that he jump in tandem with a Golden Knight, and so he did. Still . . . at 80 years old . . . the man is simply amazing. I love him with all of my being. We all do!" (Kara Zuaro)

OAK RIDGE BOYS AT CERRITOS CENTER, 12700 CENTER COURT DR., CERRITOS, (562) 916-8501; WWW.CERRITOSCENTER.COM. THURS., FEB. 17, 8 PM. $30-$60. ALL AGES.

THE MEAN REDS

FUCK THE WORLD I HATE MY PARENTS

I stood in the back and watched, and I wasn't sure if I was pleased or annoyed: five tiny little teenagers prancing—yes, prancing--around a stage, playing their own rendition of the old standard "Fuck the World! (I Hate My Parents and This Is My Way of Expressing Myself--Through This Indecipherable But Aggressive Music)." And each member was only wearing '70s-style running shorts. Nothing else. They'd taken the signature sound of every label--Dischord to 31G--that I listened to my junior year of high school and scribbled all over it. Weeks later, I found myself in a warehouse south of Los Angeles, watching the same five--and still mostly naked--kids. Everyone was dancing, too many people were drunk, some of those drunken people were naked--eventually including every band member--and everyone had a hell of time. This is how every Mean Reds show would be that I attended from then on: a noisy clusterfuck between Iron Maiden and the Locust. Of course, this sort of thing--drunken idiocy, nudity, the obvious enjoyment thereof--got them kicked off the 2004 Warped Tour, though it turned out to be a blessing in disguise. The Reds were the oddballs of the flock, ostracized by audiences as well as the other bands. After four weeks on tour, they were asked to leave--for undisclosed reasons. So they came back to LA, and they are still completely unashamed of those running shorts. (Curtis Carver)

The Mean Reds with the Blood Brothers, The Chinese Stars and Beep Beep at the Glass house, 200 W. Second St. Pomona; www.theglasshouse.us. Fri., 7 p.m. $10. all ages.

 
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