This was the best Adicts show I have ever seen. It was raw, high-energy mirth from start to finish in a weird, small-ish venue oddly located across from a placid lake in the bucolic FairmontPark in Riverside. Despite having enjoyed The Adicts several times over the past couple of decades, I have always had trouble thinking of the band as a punk unit because it always sounds so happy and that never-ending party motif can seem trite at times. On the other hand, punk rock is all about ignoring established expectations and categorizations, and this show at the log cabin-like American Legion Hall Post 79 felt exactly like the punk shows of the late ‘70s and early ‘80s…off the radar, seething with excitement, and with very little separation between the band and audience.
As usual, I arrived late and missed the first two bands Godzilla and The Retcons. However, I visited each band’s MySpace page and found that both are worth your while. Godzilla is a Southern California five piece that sounds like good ol’ basic punk seasoned with time and alcohol, delivered with aggressive but affable manliness. Listen at: www.myspace.com/godzilla91. The Retcons are three funny guys from Riverside, CA who seem to be fixated on comic books and extremely basic, garage-style, three-chord levity. It’s pretty catchy and enjoyably stupid at: www.myspace./theretcons.
The Maxies were onstage when I entered the Nordic-looking, wooden A-frame hall and it seemed fitting because the five masked men clad in tampon-inspired red and white are from Greenland, which was founded by Icelandic Vikings. My fiancé loves this band so much that she recently had an erotic dream about the band…hmmm. I like this band also, but not enough to leave drool on the pillow. Even so, I was impressed and happy to see a good number of new, young fans eagerly lining the stage and happily singing along. This is another band that is difficult to categorize as a punk due to its overall crunchy pop and heavy keyboard delivery, but then again, The Maxies put so much energy into their sonic mirth, punk is the only default category that is even remotely accurate. The set was fun, flippant, and sprinkled with juvenile obscenities. www.myspace.com/themaxies
The Billy Bones was supposed to perform next, but due to a pinched sciatic nerve in the frontman and former Skulls vocalist’s aging back, the three young whippersnappers known as Fallujah 71 stepped in to fill the void. Damn! What a great, unexpected surprise! These three kids kicked some heavy old school ass that reminded me a lot of early Black Flag. Alternating between fast and tight bass and drum-heavy punk rock fundamentalism and Greg Ginn-ish deliberate carelessness, I, and many others were compelled to shout our approval throughout the entire set. I honestly expected a shredding cover of Black Flag’s “Jealous Again” to pop up next. It didn’t, but also-shredding originals like “Waiting for World War III” and “Social Crisis” have the potential to be punk rock classics someday. The lean and lissome guitarist Tony Paradox is quite a performer and is deliberately rocking the Sid Vicious look much to the delight of his squealing female admirers. It is clearly evident that somebody who knows is schooling these talented youngsters. You will agree upon listening at: www.myspace.com/fallujah71
Soon, the familiar recorded sound of the A Clockwork Orange theme filled the dark hall and the near-capacity crowd erupted in cheers even though the heavy, red curtain had not yet parted. The fans began to press tightly against the knee-high stage, and some of the younger kids were getting squished. The curtain remained closed and Monkey’s voice came over the PA system to ask that people move back a couple of feet. Surprisingly, they did, the curtain parted, “Ode to Joy” began and, immediately, everyone surged forward…up and over the edge of the stage. It was bedlam, and the security guards were obviously not used to such things. Several of them stood shoulder to shoulder lining the entire front of the stage, obstructing everybody’s view. The band and road crew tried to get the security to crouch down, but no. People kept invading the band’s limited playing space, and a fight almost broke out between one frustrated security guy and an overly enthusiastic guy who just couldn’t seem to find his way off the stage. Even a member of The Adicts’ road crew almost got into a scuffle with a security guard who refused to crouch. The show had to be temporarily stopped.
After being informed that the show would be stopped completely if people did not stop crowding the stage, everything got back on track with “Joker in the Pack.” Monkey, the Technicolored verbal mime threw out dozens of oversized playing cards into the semi-contained mêlée, all of which were eagerly snapped up as souvenirs. The set was rather long and the energy was sustained all along with twenty favorites, not including the encore. Up front, it was exceedingly hot and sweaty as we all bounced along to, “Let’s Go,” “Tango,” “Easy Way Out,” “Johnny Was a Soldier,” “Fuck It Up,” and a bunch more. A young teenage girl standing next to me was having a genuine star-struck freak-out moment. She was trembling, and sort of crying with a clenched fist to her mouth. “Are you freaking out? I asked. “Yes.” Was her quivering reply. “Is that a good thing or a bad thing?” “It’s gooood!” she squealed. “Alright then!” I said and by this time, I’d I had enough of being smashed by happy, smiling people and went to the rear of the room. It still sounded good and I was somewhat surprised to see so many punk rock parents dancing and singing along with their punk rock children. I watched from various vantage points around the room and got a kick out of seeing the white-haired American Legion guy marvel at what was happening. The main set came to a close with “Who Spilt My Beer?” and “How Sad.” The encore consisted of “Numbers,” “(My Baby Got Run Over by a) Steamroller,” “Bad Boy,” and completed the loop by going back to “Ode to Joy.” All during the encore, a multitude of beach balls of varying sizes were thrown and batted about; it was truly a joyful moment. As I left via the backdoor all covered in sweat and glitter, the completely soaked Monkey was already surrounded and being embraced by a steady stream of adoring fans. “That never gets old does it?” I asked as I walked on by. He just laughed and kept on smiling.