If there’s one lesson that The Adicts can teach humanity, it’s that in their hands, the indomitable spirit of punk rock is a contagious fountain of youth. Though last night’s audience at the Yost (the second performance of a two day run) was predominantly comprised of 20 and 30-somethings, even the old farts who turned out could not resist the invigorating spectacle and energy of The Adicts’ show. Their show, of course, consists of their aggressive, highly memorable punk rock songs and a carnivalesque visual component. And while their performance brings out the kid in most people, many of those people also brought their kids out to the show.
Ironically, there were more kids at this show than there were at House of Blues Anaheim, in Downtown Disney, where The Adicts’ performed their previous Orange County show, in January. On that note, Santa Ana’s Yost Theater was a much better venue for the occasion. Both venues accommodated [the HOB location recently closed] roughly 1,000 patrons, but in the case of the Yost, it accommodated The Adicts’ packed house more comfortably. Still, at least 300-400 of that 1,000 routinely gets voluntarily smooshed or drawn into a mosh pit, so it was a little startling to see that at least half a dozen of the fans had brought their tykes.
Before the show began, the security guards warned the photographers that they would be permitted to photograph the band, from the barricaded photo pit in front of the stage, during the first three songs — unless the crowd got too aggressive as it apparently had during the previous evening. True to form, as soon as the house lights went down, at roughly 11:15 pm, an empty tin beer bottle landed at the front of the stage. Luckily for the photographers, there was not a volley of them.
After a DJ spun an additional song or two for the dark house, the official herald came. Wendy Carlos’s theme for A Clockwork Orange was played so loudly and with the bass turned up so high that those wearing earplugs near the front of the stage had to shove their earplugs back into their ear canals; the plugs had vibrated themselves loose. The crowd surged as the band took to the stage and opened with “Joker in the Pack.” After lead singer Keith “Monkey” Warren made his grand, caped entrance, he doffed the cape and began tossing playing cards into the crowd while singing.
And so it went, another timeless rendezvous with the 40-year-old punk rock band. The crowd sang along with the band on faves like “Horror Show,” “Life Goes On,” “I Am Yours,” “Numbers,” “Bad Boy,” “Who Spilt My Beer,” and “Viva La Revolution.” Then again, since the synergy of the band / house never waned, every number might as well have been a fave. The band was tight and vicious as usual, with the exception of Pete “Pete Dee” Davison’s gentle guitar intro for “Put Yourself In My Hands,” which naturally transitions into another of the band’s über catchy stomps.
Reliably, as the band performed its roughly one hour and fifteen minute show, various conscious and unconscious members of the crowd were lifted from the sea of bodies or were escorted back into the sea after having washed up into the photo / security pit. Commensurate with the violence inspired by the thrashing music, the lighthearted lyrics and tomfoolery of Monkey and the band tempered the crowd’s energy. The result, as all Adicts fans can attest, was a seductive sensation of positive energy. The ultimate proof that the prevailing attitude of the show was positive and hopeful — despite some good old fashioned mosh pit madness — occurred during their penultimate song, “You’ll Never Walk Alone,” when the band invited all of the small children in the house to join them onstage for a singalong.