Paraquat Punks

The conceit of local music scenes is pretty much half bullshit and half the best ever. On the one hand, big-upping bands that live and play where you live and play is like patriotism for teenagers, and y'all know where that leads. Also to be considered is how super-localized scenes lead to scenester douchebags merrily proclaiming entire cities "so over" or "so next level" and writing hyperbole-heavy, context-free books about tiny subgenres of punk rock (like mine, due out in 2007). On the positive side, local scenes can cultivate communities of like-minded people, combat cultural homogeneity and give kids hobbies other than bottle fighting.

The value of this "best ever" part is pretty deeply felt in Orange County, where bands of local music past quite often turn out, in retrospect, to be really good. One of those bands still in action is Fullerton's Agent Orange. The "first wave" punk band, who rip up surf-inspired punk rock, had a heavy influence on local hardcore and a big hit with their early tune "Bloodstains." Their least relevant biographical fact may well be that (my) man-crush Steve Soto used to play bass for them. See? Heavy. Currently, Mike Palm, Bruce Taylor and Dusty Watson (Dusty!) play a sort of Queers-ian punk rock that's orchestrated in a more refined (read: wholly unexpected) way. Here's to being more than a footnote.

Agent Orange with Loogie, the Scabs, Locked and Loaded, and Noise Attack at the Galaxy Theatre, 3503 S. Harbor Blvd., Santa Ana, (714) 957-0600; Thurs., Aug. 24, 8 p.m. $14. All ages.


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