The F-Ups/Wiggum

Photo by Amy TheligTHE F-UPS/WIGGUM

T'aint much sonic variety when you're going out on Halloween eve—everything's mostly a blur of barroom costume contests and four-act tribute-band bills (for us, the holiday can't get more frightening). So we visited our good ol' reliable haunt, the live-music extravaganza of downtown Fullerton, which wasn't exactly WeHo in the number of costumed revelers wandering around Harbor Boulevard—we liked the guy dressed as a crazy homeless dude who kept pulling off wicked tai-chi moves till we figured out he probably wasn't in costume after all. Then at the Santa Fe Café, we spotted a girl in a jacket pockmarked with vintage punk-band patches, likely purchased that afternoon at her local Hot Topic—really, we doubt she could name even one Subhumans song.

We were just in time for Wiggum, a group of Santa Fe regulars who were making like they were at Chain Reaction circa 1999 (Subhumans chick did not approve, whining, “I hate emo! I hate emo!” all the while—but they weren't emo, whatever emo means anymore anyway). Sure, Wiggum are one of a zillion bands that could not exist had Green Day not been there first to steal from. Their attempts at sloganeering were weak (“Kill the Scene” was scrawled on their amps—er, what scene?), and on any other night, we might have hated them. But if there was any proof good live shows are half atmosphere, this was it—there's just something about sitting on cold concrete stairs on a mid-autumn night, watching a band loudly go off as creepy freight trains speed past just a few feet away, kicking up blustery, foreboding drafts of air. It was like evil was afoot someplace, and we weren't even sucking on one of the café's hookahs. So Wiggum were good, but were this a sweatbox like Chain Reaction, we'd probably think different.

Next were the F-Ups—that's what they call themselves; self-censorship is lame—who are apparently signed to Capitol, of all places (you can't get a write-up in Teen People if “fuck” is in your band's name, y'know). But then they started playing, and well, they weren't half bad, shooting off what sounded like a batch of great, obnoxious, drunken Irish-bar anthems—not nearly as grand as, say, the Dropkick Murphys, but maybe in a few years. Their other tunes were mostly punk-by-rote, though, yet the kids did pull off an “All the Young Dudes” cover, a song they really had no business touching. Still, it went down sweet and zippy—too bad there wasn't a single other person in the crowd of maybe 30 who knew it was a cover besides us and the band, which made us feel old and cranky. And that was totally F-upped.

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