They Want My Smokes!


An accounting of the State of Punk Rock in 2005 can't be composed without a fashion report, which on this night included one tired clich after another. For the boys: studded-leather belts and keychain rings on belt loops a-plenty. For the girls: ripped fishnet stockings and anarchy-symbol tote bags. Both sexes modeled the required-by-law Ramones and CBGB tees, but we would have thought the guy with the Guns N' Roses shirt was being ironic if he hadn't looked so damned serious about it.

The one large, overwhelming commonality appeared to be the return this year of big, billowy, feathered hair—we're talking Kajagoogoo-esque feathered hair, which can only mean the ever-revolving punk cycle is now back to 1985, the year when it became impossible to tell the punks and the hairspray Hessians apart from one another (witness the gent who sported red-leather lace-up trousers—punk or metal? We'venoidea!).It was all a bit like being at the old Anaheim metal club Jezebel's again. Okay, we never went there, but we heard enough sordid stories. . . .

Speaking of sordid, a cheerleaders convention had apparently been going on someplace, as the streets of Downtown Disney were insane with a nauseating cacophony of perk. Though we would have loved to see them take on the punks in a furious, bloody knife fight, we ultimately decided that the first band, Civet, probably could've used some of the giddiness suppositories the cheerleaders had obviously been inserting. A Long Beach band, Civet merely proved with their stupefying set that all-chick punk bands can be just as dull as all-dude punk bands. Strictly from the holler-and-shred-away-and-hope-nobody-throws-shit-at-us school, they were unoriginal and unadventurous in every possible way. Even theylooked bored.

River City Rebels weren't as “punk” as Civet were—at first, they sounded more like Eddie N the Cruisers, but at least they had discernible melodies. But we liked the sax and trombone blowers, which at least proved there are non-ska options after high school for band-club geeks. More metal than punk, though, which kind of explained why every member looked like a version of Axl Rose before he developed his plastic-surgery fetish. And the lead singer's intellectual discourse was profound: “Awright, you douche bags! Here's a song about havin' a good time and drinkin!” “This song's called 'Fuckin' Bloody Pussy!'” “This song's about fuckin'. I used to hate it, but I kinda like it now!” (Wanna bet that by day, he's a necktie-wearing real-estate agent?) The Rebels' music was pretty decent, actually, during the moments when they weren't screaming of self-parody.

And then . . . DuaneFuckin'Peters!Back with yet another new band, Gunfight, which was mostly indistinguishable from the Hunns or US Bombs. Duane's been around so long that if it's not hard, fast and loud when he's onstage . . . er, then he's notonstage. We keyed in on the band tees that demanded POLICE YER GOVERNMENT, which clued us that Gunfight may be an outlet for some of his most political songs. We won't really know till May, when an album comes out, but y'know? Everythingis political to Duane in some way. Take these Chairman Duane quotations:

“We hate the Warped Tour, and we hate all the fuckin' emo shit takin' over everything, so you can take yer sensitive shit!”

“This is a message from the president—HE WANTS TO KILL YOU!”

“You tired of Nazi America? Me,too!They took everything, and now they want my smokes!” (the band then slid into a tune we're pretty sure was called . . . “They Want My Smokes”).

Oh, and the Weirdos headlined, but we didn't feel like sticking around just to hear their one good song.

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