Hey Stroker/The Outside/Dicfor
Chain Reaction, Anaheim
Saturday, Sept. 18
Keep your rosaries off our ovaries! Ahhh, we always wanted to chant that, and since this was a benefit for Planned Parenthood and all, we did, quietly, to ourselves—didn't want to raise a ruckus, y'know. The underage crowd probably wouldn't have known what the hell we were talking about, anyway. We thought it odd, though, that the bill was filled out mostly with testosterone-cranked, all-boy punk bands (save for the Angoras, which we love, but sadly had to bail on before they took the stage), not the type of environment that exactly screams "women's reproductive rights." But Planned Parenthood is just as much about doling out free condoms, and there were plenty of 'em at the info table in back. Boisterous punk rockers—and the kids who go to their shows —should always have some handy (we do, and maybe someday we'll have the chance to actually use them).
Speaking of bony appendages, Dicfor (pronounced "Dick-for," and yes, it does sound like either the basis of, or a punch line to, a bad joke) were a punk band fronted by two MCs who stuffed a lot of frat-boy stupidity into their otherwise unremarkable hard-fast-loud set. Which is really how to approach the kind of basic punk-by-numbers that we're confronted with these days—anything even slightly serious-appearing from them, and they would have been laughed at. Out loud. Their crowd, quite tellingly, was lagging—they'd get a pit going at a pretty decent clip, and then it would peter out after just a minute or so, a clear argument for the development of mosh-pit Viagra.
The Outside were much more insignificant—hardly anybody moshed during their 20-minutes-too-long 20-minute set. Our favorite part was when, after one of several unlistenable tunes, their singer asked the crowd if we "loved that shit." Perhaps afraid he'd get hit with a chorus of "NOOO!!!" he immediately answered his rhetorical question rather pompously with, "We love that shit." The Outside were the aural equivalent of bad chili.
Hey Stroker were better, more interested in punk-rock melodies and less so in pointless faux anger. They reminded us of the Assorted Jellybeans (also on the bill, but who we also had to skip out on). Their music was genuinely entertaining rote punk, but their singer came off as a whiner when he launched into a minitirade about how no one was moving around, how this was a punk-rock show and we're all supposed to be moving, how we weren't at home with Mom and Dad —and, oh, by the way, we have videos for sale at our merch booth in which we're naked, girls! Inexplicably, a mad rush on the merch booth did not follow.
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Que Sera, Long Beach
Saturday, Sept. 18
We bailed on the Angoras and Jellybeans to catch the fabulous Peepshot (whom you already know about) at the equally fab Que Sera, but we were also intrigued by the flowery, improvy Nimbus Luna. They have a jam-heavy thing going but are armed with sharp instincts for poppy melodies that have been kissed by sweetly grinding guitar riffs. They came off as a pure, unpompous rock band, which we really should have known going in, seeing that they're from the LBC and all, and we're pretty sure we have yet to meet a Long Beach band we didn't like (it really must be something in their water—needles don't wash up on their beaches, at least). The band consistently tossed out these ornery, playful grooves; dived into them; and rode them out, genuinely curious to see where their muse would wind up taking them. Their guitarists frequently did this clever little loop-de-loop thing, too, which was quite the bomb—you can't plan good shit like that. A deft, rolling, tumbling, pumped-up unit.
The Hub Caf, Fullerton
Sunday, Sept. 19
So we stopped off at the Hub for fliers, coffee and a mean round of Burgertime at the Reagan Years vintage video arcade in back, and we stumbled upon the adroit rockists of Stone Soup—we're so cool that the bands are following us now! Um, maybe not. Stone Soup were an all right bunch, and we really liked their hooky first song (though we thought their second tune was too echo-y and prog. rock-ish). They were at their best when the lead singer whipped his acoustic out and kept things flowing in time with their percussionist, who banged out a mellow beat on a djemb. We must say that their Hessian drummer was a bit off-putting—especially when he insisted on removing his shirt to show everyone his nipples—but their mostly tuneful material (rooted in English folk ballads underneath the layers, it sounded like) and songs about dogs getting locked up in cars on swelteringly hot days made up for any indiscretions.