I began last weekend’s string of shows Friday night with a band I had never seen before, and was extremely excited to do so – Agent Orange. The band first came into my consciousness when I started playing Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater, and the band’s famous “Bloodstains” was part of the soundtrack. Those games were as influential as Punk-O-Rama, Mailorder Is Fun, Fat comps, or any other large collection of punk, in forming my love for the music I hold so dear.
DNA Lounge owner Barry Synoground is not just a business owner, he’s also a rad dude with an affinity for good music – specifically punk. The line-up last Friday epitomized that sentiment, with local Civil War Rust opening the night to a relatively full and eager crowd. I had seen the band a couple months ago with Dying Scene’s Yankee Brutal, and was excited for another raucous night. I love bands that exude passion on their sleeve, that show the drive and energy through their live performance, and Civil War Rust is just that band. The band is touring on the heels of their latest release “Help Wanted” which just came out last November (you can listen to it here). The guys really have it all – melody, grit, drops, breaks, bridges, gang vocals, and a fan-base that isn’t afraid to get their feet moving, and keep them moving, the entire set. I’m a huge fan of these guys and look forward to seeing more success from the quartet.
Keeping the energy flowing, and the local blood playing, next to the stage was Oakland-based The Atom Age (whom DNA owner Barry is a huge fan). The band released their latest album “Hot Shame” last summer and of course played their hit song “It’s A Mess”. I first saw the band six years ago, and since then I have witnessed a true development as the guys have really come into their own. Rocky, punky, funky, with a saxophone that reverberates through the entire venue. Guitarist/vocalist Peter Niven has become somewhat of a punk heartthrob it seems, as female fans woo over his every move.
The main event had finally arrived – Agent Orange. I was so excited to see the band and as they took to stage and opened with “Miserlou”, I know I was in for one treat of a set. If you could pick a handful of albums that really defined and drove punk back in the day, and have remained influential to this day, “Living In Darkness” is one of those albums. The band knows it, and samples heavily off the 1981 release, including “Too Young To Die”, “Everything Turns Grey”, “No Such Thing”, and of course “Bloodstains” to name a few. The band is timeless and sounds just as good today as they did 35 years ago. Seeing these guys was a real treat and definitely an early highlight to the year.
Have a look at the night’s photos below.
Thank you to Barry, Peter, Alan, and everyone else who contributed to this awesome night.
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