Over The Weekend: The Vandals Christmas Formal at the House of Blues Anaheim

The Vandals at House of Blues Anaheim
The Vandals at House of Blues Anaheim
Andrew Youssef
The Show:  Only a band as hilarious as the Vandals can tour seasonally on a Christmas album (the 1996 masterstroke Oi to the World!). Yuletide cheer enhanced by lots of libation fueled the event. Dave Quackenbush appeared in a dapper suit and tie crooning like a punk Frank Sinatra as he tackled such cheerful songs as "My First Xmas (as a Woman)" and "Grandpa's Last Xmas." It didn't take long for the audience to get in the spirit as they moshed and sang along, spreading wonderfully raunchy tidings to all. Three water bottles aimed near my head were some examples of good will spread to all during my tenure in the photo pit.

Every year the Vandals randomly play a song multiple times throughout the evening as a running gag. This year, the Vandals chose "Sorrow" by Bad Religion to stir up the crowd. The irony element? They were borrowing drummer Brooks Wackerman from Bad Religion since usual skins man Josh Freese was in another country.

It wasn't all Christmas tunes as they also worked through some of their material from Hitler Bad, Vandals Good ("I've Got an Ape Drape," "My Girlfriend's Dead") and other fan faves such as "Live Fast, Diarrhea" and "Anarchy Burger (Hold The Government)". The evening might have turned somber when Warren Fitzgerald took his turn on the vocals for a mockingly depressing performance of "Hang Myself From The Tree" but the sloshed crowd gleefully clapped along. "Don't Stop Me Now" had a five-hundred part harmony thanks to the assistance of a packed House of Blues Anaheim. The night climaxed with a jubilant rendition of "Oi To The World." Just like the lyrics say, everyone wins. 

Inland Empire acts Knock-Out and Voodoo Glow Skulls opened the show with some fun, ska-punk-tinged tunes. Knock-Out got everyone in the Christmas spirit with a cover of "Frosty The Snowman" while Voodoo Glow Skulls skanked through "Feliz Navidad". The moshpit heartily approved both of their sets.  

The Crowd: Young and old punks moshed side by side. The best spotting goes to a teenage punk with liberty spikes outfitted with a rad jean jacket covered in patches with bands like GBH, Reagan Youth, and Fear. The kids are alright.  

Overheard: "Thanks for coming to our show instead of the Ed Hardy bash at the Long Beach Arena;" and "Can we get a spotlight on Warren for his guitar solo? Oh, That's not in the budget is it?" were some of the many classic quips from Dave Quackenbush. 

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