By Niki D’Andrea
The first New Times Summer of Sound show took place Saturday, May 24, at Exit 7 in Glendale. This was the punk show, and it lived up to its name, as locals Harlequin Babies, Asses of Evil, Dephinger, and Glass Heroes warmed up the stage for the legendary Dickies with spasms, spit, and attitude.
Harlequin Babies went on first. This cacophonous punk trio was younger than I expected, and their energy totally reflected it. Singer/guitarist Kelly jumped and crouched his way through the band’s squall of feedback, while bassist Dane and drummer Blair provided backing screams. The energy was great, but the musicianship was only passable for punk rock – in any other genre, it might be bad to have to tune your guitar between every song (or even in the middle of songs) the way Kelly did, but hey, that’s punk rock. Sonically, they reminded me of a cross between Drunks With Guns and Minor Threat on crack (had any member of the straight-edge band ever done crack, that is).
Harlequin Babies singer/guitarist Kelly.
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Asses of Evil took the stage next, and not without some attitude. Members of the band had already approached me before the show, upset that Dephinger – who’d been added to the bill just three days prior, after The Revenge had to cancel – was going on later than them. Their argument was that Dephinger shouldn’t have gotten a better spot than them in the lineup (and to be fair to AoE, the venue was still virtually empty when they went on). But like true soldiers, Asses of Evil got up there anyway, and they played an extremely tight, blistering set that drew the crowd from the back pool room and to the front of the stage. AoE’s got one of the best rhythm sections in local punk, thanks to Tana Satana’s expert low-end grooves and drummer Bam Bam (formerly of JFA)’s fierce percussive spasms. Singer and guitarist JJ “Jet” Jaguar kept telling the audience, “Fuck you! Fuck the New Times! Save your applause for a band that needs it.” Punk fucking rock, man.
Asses of Evil lead guitarist Tony Karaba.
Dephinger killed the club, with their punk-metal fusions and drunken energy. The three-piece moved through the thrashing rhythms and frenetic power chord progressions of their songs like a disjointed Jesus Lizard that stumbled into a vat of LSD. They had quite a pit going in front of the stage. Before their set, local producer Mike Bollenbach (of Full Well Studios; he also recorded the latest albums of NunZilla and Asses of Evil) told me that Dephinger’s entire album had been recorded in analog – no overdubs. Again, that’s pretty frigging punk.
Glass Heroes is one of the oldest and most respected punk bands in town. Front man Keith Jackson used to be in the Beat Angels, and the Heroes have shared stages (and sleeping quarters) with some of the most legendary names in punk – Johnny Rotten, Joe Strummer, Marky Ramone, and Rat Scabies of The Damned, who recorded the Heroes’ new album, Liars, Cheats & Thieves. The Heroes performed true to form, playing a solid set of old school street punk that had Exit 7 (now packed, in anticipation of the Dickies) roaring its approval.
Glass Heroes front man Keith Jackson.
The band that won the audience votes for “Best Punk Band” at last year’s Summer of Sound punk show, NunZilla, was in the audience (Tana Satana of Asses of Evil is also one of the NunZ), and I commented a couple times how four of the best drummers in the city were at Exit 7 that night – Jason Stone (NunZilla), Bam Bam (Asses of Evil), Nick (Dephinger), and A.D. Adams (Glass Heroes, Crash Street Kids). During Glass Heroes’ set, an old school punk with an Elmer’s Glue mohawk commented, “Now that Bam Bam’s become a drunken mess, A.D. is the best punk drummer in this state.”
The Dickies took the stage to a full house, and from what I heard, the Cali comic-punk legends played a stellar set and tore the proverbial roof off the place. I cannot report this firsthand, however, because I was behind the building throwing up for most of their set (love those SoCo shots and Budweiser specials!)
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So which local punk band won the most audience votes? Well, the votes are still being tabulated. We’ll report back as soon as they’re finished. We’ll also have a slide show from the punk gig online by Wednesday, May 28.
The next New Times Summer of Sound show is the hip-hop showcase, scheduled to take place Saturday, June 7, at Chasers. Zion-I headlines, with local support from Justus, Antedote, Cousins of the Wize, and the Premiere. Visit www.myspace.com/summerofsound for more info.
[In our original posting, we mistakenly identified a photo of Thee Unfortunates guitarist Notah as Asses of Evil guitarist Tony Karaba. The photo has since been replaced with an actual photo of Karaba].