To those who didn't consider punk rock to be "just a phase" in high school, last Friday night at Alex's bar was somewhat of a culmination. The Grim, the Dickies and the Adolescents--all local, monumental '80s bands who started playing just a little bit faster than the rest of the scene--under one liquor-lacquered roof? Oh, yes, the punk gods were generous that Friday evening, indeed.
However, all this only if you completed the quest of getting inside. A surrounding block bore a hand-scribbled sign touting, "No bar parking anywhere on this street." And once you actually found a glorious spot and made the cross-block journey, there was a snaking line of eager permanent punk rockers to brave before you got in.
Of course, it was way too crowded, but the Dickies were quick to diffuse the stuffiness of it all once they started their set. They began with a mellow version of "Rosemary" and eventually graduated into their signature jubilance. Front man Leonard might be old-school, but he still has more energy than any teenager on meth (not to mention some pretty sweet-ass pipes). The band was all over the stage in tights, using a different prop for each song. My personal favorite was the scuba mask and blow-up doll custom-made for "Waterslide." All classics were covered, including the talking-penis manifesto "If Stuart Could Talk," a crowd favorite.
Adolescents were awesome as always, assuaging fans by basically playing their whole blue album, which they probably made when they were actual adolescents.
Most of the band members are still the original founders--and therefore legends. Original singer Tony Cadena still managed to beautifully portray the intensity of their songs and lyrics, while original bassist Steve Soto backed him up with his usual powerful bass role and catchy chorus lines. From the coming-of-aging proclamation of "Kids of the Black Hole" to the girl-problem-affirming "L.A Girl," the days of endless fun were definitely not anywhere near through.
As if the show couldn't get any cooler, Stan Lee, Dickies original guitarist, came onstage for the night's imminent feature presentation of "Amoeba," forming this epic punk-rock performance as the night's clincher.
Critics Bias: I was "one of those fans" who listened to the Adolescents' blue album.
The Crowd: Midlifers, mostly couples who still keep it real--and (apparently) Shawn Stern of Youth Brigade!
Overheard In The Crowd: "Dude, there was a huge line for for the guy's restroom, so I just took a piss on the wall!"
Random Notebook Dump: Pogo with caution, please. You've got a camera now!
Setlist (The Adolescents):
Who Is Who
Things Start Moving
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