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My first concert in just over two years, and I wish I had better things to say about it. This was one of those shows where you buy the ticket based solely on the headlining act, and actually no opening acts were announced when I ordered my tickets. During that time, two bands I had never heard of were announced, they then had to pull out and two other bands I had never heard of replaced them. I am always cautious with opening bands, but sometimes you do discover band you like because of it.
… this wasn’t one of those times.
What… was that? While the band is obviously punk, and founded by former Dropkick Murphys lead guitarist Rick Barton, it was like some sort of flashback to the late 1970’s. The lead singer, Sweeney Todd, has obviously watched a few too many videos of Johnny Rotten singing with the Sex Pistols, and possibly a few too many concert films of Iggy Pop from his Iggy and the Stooges days. When he wasn’t trying to slither across the stage (poorly), he was too busy adjusting his mic stand for the thousandth time, or attempting to stumble around like he was drunk.
As for the music itself, it seemed like something that could best be described as barely controlled sonic chaos. It was more a cacophony of musical notes than something resembling music in the idea that all members of the band play the same song at the same time.
In short, I was not impressed and I highly doubt you will ever find this band in my music collection. You can see (poorly shot) images from this set on my Flickr account.
The mid to late 1980’s were a great era for bands to come out of the Los Angeles, CA music scene: Guns N’ Roses, LA Guns, Faster Pussycat and so on. It would seem someone forgot to tell Angel City Outcasts that not only that this style of music is pretty much dead, but there is also no burning desire to see it return.
ACO seemed to suffer from another case of “We’ve seen bands act a certain way on stage, and it was cool, so we will just wholesale rip it off.” The lead singer, Alex Brugge, is obviously just slightly in love with himself, and enjoys far too many live performance videos from the 80’s LA bands. (Really, the foot on the floor monitor thing is still cool? You sure seemed to think so) Lead guitarist Tak Boroyan… oh, where do I even begin. He is an adequate guitarist (no, that is not a compliment), but everything about his stage presence screams “I practiced these moves for hours in the mirror in my bedroom when I was in high school!” Their drummer, Travis (no last name apparently), is a barely passable drummer who is obsessed with his snare, barely leaving it for any other drum in his kit for the vast majority of songs. And, by the way guys, the suit vests as a “uniform”? That only works if you do a complete outfit, some wearing a t-shirt under it while others wore a collared shirt… yeah, it just made you look like idiots.
If I sound like I am being a bit harsh on them, I am, but my opinion seemed to be shared by the audience. There was an enormous amount of milling around, cell phones being whipped out to check messages, and next to no audience engagement. More in fact there seemed to be a complete audience disconnect from the happenings on stage.
Besides a few sojourns into attempts at punk and one song that was a bit rockabilly flavored, ACO stuck to their outdated fad music of the 80’s, and was quite forgettable and unremarkable. The style of music was also an incredibely poor match for the styles of the other two bands.
Images from this set, again poorly shot, are on my Flickr account.
When the Dropkick Murphys took the stage, a lot could be forgiven, but then my hatred turned to the person behind the mixing board for the show.
The Murphys are well known for their inclusion of instruments such as banjos, bag pipes, tin whistles, mandolins and so on. It would have been nice to have heard them. While you could hear some of them at times, the bag pipes were horribly lost in the mixing, and that is a damned shame.
Beyond the sound problems, the Murphys put on a heck of a show, taking few breaks between songs so as to lose no momentum to the energy. There was one thing I noticed in stark contrast to the other two bands… the Murphys, who have been around for twelve years, realize people are here to listen to the music, not to watch onstage antics. While they did move around some, there was no wild over acting, no staggering to feign drunkenness, no putting a foot up on the monitor, there was music, and only music. Perhaps this comes with age and experience? Sure, they brought people up on stage for two sing-a-longs, but those made sense as they were… you know… sing-a-longs, but as for the rest of the show, it was just straight forward Murphy’s doing what they do best: playing music.
Overall, they put on an enjoyable set, and the pain of the first two bands was quickly forgiven.
Images of the Dropkick Murphys can be found on my Flickr account.
As a parting note to the venue, The Blue Note, if you post rules about no moshing, no crowd surfing, etc, perhaps you should inform the bands of this? Everybody Out actively encouraged excessively dangerous behavior, including pulling someone up on stage so he could leap into the crowd. If you’re going to lecture us about “the rules” while we are standing outside in the freezing cold, telling us to behave ourselves, well, what do you do when the bands tell people to do it? Yeah, you did nothing, just like I have seen you do so many times before.
There’s a reason I always get there early and race for the balcony, it’s because I know you have zero control on that floor. After I got caught up in it back in 2000, I realized you guys had no clue what you were doing when it comes to security, and glad to see you continue to prove me right.