Suicidal Tendencies @ Marquee Theatre| Friday, September 21
As I moved through the crowd tonight during Suicidal Tendencies' make-up date at Marquee Theatre, I stopped to lean against a rail.
An older woman in front of me was texting on her phone. As my eyes wandered to the bright glow of her iPhone, I caught a glimpse of her text. It read "Still at this foul fucked up concert," followed with another that read,"I think all the hooligans and hoodlums are here."
Well, she was right about the second part. The show was full of bandana-clad miscreants, all looking to bask in the 30-year-glow of Suicidal Tendencies. I wanted to pull her outside and teach her a lesson of open-mindedness. I wanted to explain that what was going on here was more than rabble rousing, fighting, cursing, and moshing. What she witnessed was timelessness, a multigenerational gathering of fans who wanted to catch a glimpse of whatever Mike Muir has. Because make no mistake, he still has "it."
The show started out with Scottsdale punk band Bro Loaf. As everyone knows, I love gimmicks (not really). But I get it. They're making fun of the "bro" culture of lifted trucks, sideways Von Dutch hats, and Affliction tees, through their music, right? If you've never seen their "stage show", it consists of cheerleaders, guys in cop uniforms, and half-a-dozen costume changes for the band while on stage. They opened with "Champions on Parade" and cruised through a few more including "Haze Patrol" and "Hole N One." They finished their set with a "Bro Loaf Anthem" before showering everyone in the front row with confetti. All in all, they did manage to win the crowd over, and despite the fact they spent more time changing costumes between songs, than playing, they did have an entertaining set and they were a decent band.
Up next was Howitzer. This costume-free thrash metal band from Phoenix was about as pure as it gets. They just played. They didn't bound around the stage like rabid lunatics. They did exactly what I hoped they would, entertain. They opened with "Never" off of their 2012 album The Echoes of Prometheus. They also managed to throw in a cover of Slayer's "God Hates us All."
Following them was Perpetual. This band couldn't have been any more inspired by Metallica if Lars himself ran out onstage and chased the band around with a chainsaw. Their eight-song set included "Sick Fuck", "Spawn," and "End of You". They also stopped to thank the Devil's Own motorcycle club for setting up the show and the after party at their headquarters (not sure if that first part is really true) and I'm not sure what, if any, affiliation this band had with the m.c. but I was glad when they finally stepped off stage, as was the drunk guy standing next to me, who spent the set shouting obscenities at the band before finally staggering off through the enormous crowd.
The crowd was worked into drunken hysteria as the soundcheck for Suicidal began. Loud chanting commenced minutes before the band took the stage. When Muir, who's pushing 50, finally appeared, it was complete pandemonium. S.T. ripped into the classic "You Can't Bring Me Down" from Lights...Camera...Revolution!. Their next song, shockingly, was their most well known, the seminal punk anthem "Institutionalized" from their 1983 debut album Suicidal Tendencies. "Freedom" and "War Inside My Mind" followed, along with no less than four fist fights, which I was barely able to avoid. My personal favorite, "Subliminal" was next, along with yet another empty promise from Muir to expect a new album next year. S.T. fans have been hearing this same song and dance for the last decade.
Muir showed that old men can still kick ass, with "Send Me Your Money" and "Psycho Vision". He segued into "Possessed to Skate" with an anecdote about his brother Jim "Red Dog" Muir, who was one of the original Z Boys before launching into "Come Alive" and "I Saw Your Mommy". They finished their set with "How Will I Laugh Tomorrow", which I've always felt is a complete stray from the rest of their catalog.
The crowd would not be denied an encore. Muir and the gang was happy to oblige with "Pledge Your Allegiance" where he allowed everyone who could climb the railing, onstage to join him. It was a gesture rarely seen these days, throwback to a time when famous bands weren't gods or rock stars. They didn't have huge houses and overflowing bank accounts. They were just like the rest of us. Muir, in all his old-man wisdom and old-school habits, demonstrated that even an old punk, in the middle of a "foul fucked up show" can still have some class.
End of lesson.
"You Can't Bring Me Down" "Institutionalized" "Freedom" "War Inside My Head" "Subliminal" "Send Me Your Money" "Possessed to Skate" "Come Alive" "I Saw Your Mommy" "How Will I Laugh Tomorrow" "Pledge Your Allegiance"
Last Night: Suicidal Tendencies with Perpetual, Howitzer, and Bro Loaf at The Marquee Theatre.
The Crowd: All ages, mostly drunk and leathery.
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Overheard: "I'm 42. What the fuck does he know about Suicidal Tendencies?"
Noticed: Everyone was wearing S.T. hats with the flipped up bill.