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DS Show Review and Photo Gallery: Punk Rock Tacos: A DIY 4th on the 3rd (Chicago, IL)

Story and Photos by Meredith Goldberg Noah Corona just needed to find a place to eat within a block or two of his home in the Chicago suburb of Villa Park, IL. It was the first day of the Covid lockdown. Lacking groceries and concerned that driving to get food might lead to him being […]

Story and Photos by Meredith Goldberg

Noah Corona just needed to find a place to eat within a block or two of his home in the Chicago suburb of Villa Park, IL. It was the first day of the Covid lockdown. Lacking groceries and concerned that driving to get food might lead to him being arrested, he walked around the corner from his home and came upon Cemitas Poblanas. The restaurant offered a $9.00 burrito meal, so it instantly became Corona’s daily spot during the pandemic. It also led to friendships with the staff and owners, “Mauro and Jennifer, a couple who had come from NYC in November ‘19 to start their new business. They are both originally from Puebla, Mexico, and spent 18 years in NYC, and worked in restaurants for a lot of that time,” says Corona (whose surname surely caused a few of his friends to tease him in 2020).

Cemitas Poblanas also has a small stage, which planted the seeds in Corona’s mind, of an idea he would work to fruition over the following year. Thus, was born “Punk Rock Tacos,” a monthly Friday nights DIY (do it yourself) event.  

Corona’s DIY ethos was inspired by the late Mark “Monk” Hubbard. The visionary Seattleite Hubbard created the famous Burnside Skatepark Project in Portland, OR. Hubbard also founded Grindline, a company which designed over 400 skatepark across the United States and elsewhere. Corona met Hubbard, a DIY inspiration to many across the world, one month prior to Hubbard’s June 2018 death. Hubbard’s band Grindline, named after his company, was playing in Oakland, CA at a skateboarding event, the P-Stone Invitational. Corona says that during Grindline’s set “He [Hubbard] stared so intensely into my soul as he performed 5 ft in front of me.”

It was a life-changing moment for Corona and would lead directly to his passion project: Punk Rock Tacos (PRT). This is the first of many ideas Corona has for PRT. One he hopes to tackle next is building skateboarding bowl behind the restaurant.

The first PRT Sunday edition led to some patrons being disgruntled by the rowdy punk rock music, so these special showcases take place in a small exterior area behind the restaurant.   

Looking forward to the Fourth of July this year, Corona organized an event to take place on the Sunday the 3rd.  As a nod to Independence Day, the 13-band showcase featured two American flags adorned to the back of an old Army flatbed truck. Said truck, which Corona purchased for the event, also served as the stage. 

Although this was a Fourth of July event, it was hardly a day for shouting “Murica” and chanting USA USA USA. 

Instead, there was a strong diversity of band and crowd members, more than a few Anti-Fascist and Anti-Nazi patches on clothing, call-outs for change and fighting back by the musicians, Pride t-shirts spotted, in addition to feminist statements made. One singer received roaring applause to his declaration that men who lay hands (violently) on women are trash. In many ways, Punk Rock Tacos Fourth on the Third represented what should be the ideals of this experiment in democracy. Oh, and rocking the pit harder than anyone else in attendance were a four-year-old named Lucas and an Australian cattle dog named Max. 

Of course, the main reason for the event wasn’t to focus on the disturbing events of the last several years, and especially the past few months. 

For Punk Rock Tacos founder Noah Corona, this was event was not about politics or division. Rather, it was about release and people having an out outlet to express themselves. Corona reflected on the event a day after the Highland Park mass shooting. He has also been shaken by a fatal motorcycle accident just blocks away from the event which Corona informed me occurred “while we were partying.”  Per Corona, “Life is too shitty to not have a good time, and if people don’t have their outlets a whole lot more death would be upon us.” 

What an outlet it was. Among the thirteen bands were No Dead HeroesThe RustixWAYDSBQuantumThe ThrowawaysShitizen, and Real Bad Real Fast

No Dead Heroes’ mission statement is, “We’re here to fuck shit up.” Shit did not actually get fucked up but the band tore through its 30-minute set much to the delight of the attendees. Those in lawn chairs and car seats removed from their vehicles to be used as lawn chairs, as well as those who stood both near and away from the stage. Frank Lombardo propelled the band both in voice and on the drums. Whether it was the heat of the bright afternoon or his physical efforts, Lombardo’s reddened face painted a portrait of punk rock intensity. 

Milwaukee’s The Rustix don’t consider themselves a political band according to its social media. However, per a Facebook post from June 25, 2022, “Rustix and the Midwest Hardcore Punx scene stand in solidarity with people that have uteruses. If you don’t, don’t come to our shows, you aren’t welcome.” For the band members some issues transcend politics and The Rustix brought a set that was as tight and strong as that message.

WAYDSB states on its website: “We want to share our perspectives with you, and maybe our music will help you understand and feel what it is we’re expressing.” The band demonstrated this motto during its banger of a set. Drummer Liam Cavanaugh was clad in a (LGBQT+) “Pride” shirt and rainbow tie dye style cap, while guitarist James McFadden wore a t-shirt sporting the name of satirical 2016 U.S. Presidential candidate Deez Nutz. 

Quantum, out of Crystal Lake, brought the fun. With a combo multi-bongo and just enough cowbells set up, how could it not? There was Bass player Shawn Belletynee draped in an American flag as a cape, a brand-new song entitled Planet B.S., and blood. Well, blood on the bongos at least. Lead singer Zac Dawson decided it was a good sign and queried “Blood on the bongos, isn’t that a Bob Dylan album?”

Noah Corona’s own band, The Throwaways, elicited loud cheers and clapping for both the music and for his creation of Punk Rock Tacos and this event. It was obvious by his constant smile throughout the day, how grateful Corona was for that appreciation and the joy his hard work has brought him. The Throwaways, as a band, honored his hard work with its rollicking set. Immediately after the set Corona was back on the ground making sure the rest of the evening went off without a hitch. 

Ah Shitizen. With all due respect to, and respect is most definitely owed to them, Josh on drums, Elliot on bass, and Jerm on guitar, it is lead singer Claudia Guajardo who steals the most focus at every Shitizen show. With her hyperkinetic energy and charisma, she is the very definition a band’s front person. As is the case at every Shitizen show, Guajardo refused to stick only to the stage. But this being on the back of a truck, she did accept an assist from her boyfriend Adam Kreutzer (lead singer for Kreutzer and the newly joined drummer for Knoxious.) who helped her in and out of the high up flatbed stage. She scaled the truck herself before the set and after, but Kreutzer’s help allowed her the continuity of singing, microphone in hand. It’s a blast to watch Guajardo in frenzied action. The band is also a model of DIY as they finished up making their band shirts and merch themselves the morning of the event. 

Metro Chicago’s Real Bad Real Fast was formed in 5 or 6 years ago. They invited friends and family to this event on Facebook with a sentiment presently shared by a good portion of the USA: “Come celebrate Freedom (cough)” adding “At least freedom enough for us to rock your socks off!!” As the gloaming set in, lights were installed on the already too confined stage before knocking off of socks began.

Corona described the event as epic and credited his second in command organizer Matthew “Cactus Matt” Durica and sound engineer Steve Anthony for much of the success of the event and PRT, and told everyone involved that he was “proud of all of us.”

A few days after the event Corona stated, “I am happier than shit right now, and all I can think is, what’s next?”

More Photos from The Fourth on the Third below!

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In Retrospect: The Best Albums We Missed While We Were Away (Part 1: Dylan’s picks)

Welcome back, friends! It’s been a while. Almost three years, in fact. It goes without saying that a lot of great music has been released in Dying Scene’s absence. To coincide with our little website’s “resurrection”, we’ll be highlighting some of the best albums we weren’t here to cover. Who knows? Maybe you missed some […]

Welcome back, friends! It’s been a while. Almost three years, in fact. It goes without saying that a lot of great music has been released in Dying Scene’s absence. To coincide with our little website’s “resurrection”, we’ll be highlighting some of the best albums we weren’t here to cover. Who knows? Maybe you missed some of them, too! Today’s list comes from longtime DS writer Dylan, aka “Screeching Bottlerocket”. Look forward to more entries in this series from some of our other contributors down the line.

Giant Eagles – Second Landing

The pride of Rotterdam, Netherlands, Giant Eagles have been pumping out extremely catchy, synthesizer-laden pop-punk for a while now. Their debut album Giant Egos was released in 2014, and their sophomore effort Second Landing arrived in 2020. The latter is without a doubt my favorite album of the 2020’s so far. The production is excellent (just listen to those fuckin’ synths!), and the songwriting is somehow even better. If you’re a fan of 90’s pop-punk and looking for a change of pace, I cannot recommend Giant Eagles enough.

Standout tracks: The entire album, especially Evil Robot Nation
Buy it: Mom’s Basement Records (USA) / Shield Recordings (EU) / Stardumb Records (EU)

Kill Lincoln – Can’t Complain

After going on a hiatus of their own for a few years, Washington, DC ska-punk band Kill Lincoln released their comeback album Can’t Complain in 2020. And what a comeback it was! This record seems to have officially put the band on the map, if the constant stream of represses it has received is any indication (seriously, they’re having a hard time keeping this thing in print). It is their most polished release to date, and they seem to have really honed their brand of bouncy pop-punk infused ska. Can’t Complain is a very fun record, and the perfect soundtrack for your summer.

Standout tracks: Greetings from Inner Space & Last Ditch Denial
Buy the record: Bad Time Records (USA) / HHV (EU)

Chaser – Dreamers 

Not many bands release their best music 20 years into their career, but Chaser isn’t like most bands. The Orange County melodic punk veterans made their triumphant return in 2018 with their first album in eight years, Sound the Sirens. They followed that with 2021’s Dreamers. I can safely say this is the definitive album of Chaser’s career thus far. It’s just really fucking good; melodic, fast, hard hitting skate punk. The cover art is awesome, too! Chaser is firing on all cylinders and isn’t slowing down any time soon.

Standout tracks: Good Times (just listen to that bassline!), The Ripper, Always With You & See You at the Show
Buy it: Sound Speed Records (USA) / Thousand Islands Records (Canada) / SBÄM (EU) / Pee Records (Australia)

The Putz – Rise and Shine

I’ve long been a fan of Indianapolis’ The Putz. Like most of the band’s previous work, their fourth full-length Rise and Shine checks all the boxes that I look for in a great pop-punk record. It’s a relentless 35 minute barrage of downstrokes, charmingly simple songwriting, and countless earworm hooks. If you told me this was a long-lost Lookout! Records release, I’d be inclined to believe you. This is a fantastic, well rounded album from one of the best pop-punk bands in the game.

Standout tracks: She’s a Brat, Kicked Out, Numbskull & Invitation Only
Buy it: Eccentric Pop Records (USA) / Stardumb Records (EU)

Victims of Circumstance – Five

One of the longest tenured bands in the Tampa Bay music scene, and the first local band I fell in love with, Victims of Circumstance delivered their aptly titled fifth album Five in 2020. It had been six long years since the ska-punk veterans’ last full-length No More Heroes, an album that would stay in my car’s CD player for months at a time. The good news is, the wait was worth it! Five is essential listening for any third wave ska fan. This album is brimming with grooving mid-tempo songs with chunky basslines, hard-hitting guitar driven punk anthems, and everything in between.

Standout tracks: Tonight We’re Getting Loud, Enemy, The Edge & Ready to Go
Buy it: vocska.com (CD) / Bandcamp (digital)

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Real Bad Real Fast

Chicagoland trio playing rock hard rock/hardcore/sludge
metal/punk/post-punk/noise rock/rock/Metal

Ten Underrated Punk Bands You Need to Check Out Right Now

Most people have a handful of bands and records that they keep in regular rotation; some might call them “favorites”. But there is a world of possibilities out there, my friends! Sure, it’s convenient to stick with what you know and not venture too far off the beaten path, but let’s be honest, that shit […]

Most people have a handful of bands and records that they keep in regular rotation; some might call them “favorites”. But there is a world of possibilities out there, my friends! Sure, it’s convenient to stick with what you know and not venture too far off the beaten path, but let’s be honest, that shit gets boring! To me punk rock has always been about discovering exciting new bands. Variety is the spice of life! Anyway, enough chit chat, these are some really good bands that deserve your attention. Give them a shot – I think you’ll like what you hear.


THE LEMONAIDS

God damn, these guys were so good! Scotland’s Lemonaids put out a few excellent pop-punk albums then seemingly disappeared into the ether. Their sophomore release Back to the Beach was one of my favorites in 2014. The songs are fast, fun, catchy 90’s pop-punk. If the Lemonaids came back and announced a new album tomorrow, I’d be the first in line to buy it!


WINNING STREAK

Winning Streak deserves credit for putting out one of the best skate punk records of 2020. The band’s sophomore effort We Need a Plan introduced Much The Same frontman Chris McGrath as their new backup vocalist/guitarist, and he fit in very nicely. The record marches along at breakneck speed with a healthy dose of the metallic guitar riffing popularized in melodic punk by bands like Strung Out and Mute. They’re supposedly working on a new album right now, too, so be on the look out for that!


THE HUMAN PROJECT

Leeds, UK’s The Human Project plays hard hitting melodic punk band in the vein of bands like A Wilhelm Scream and This Is A Standoff. Their latest album Clarion Call gets my heart racing like an audio energy drink every time I listen to it. Seriously, this shit is intense! Check it out.


MEGA

If you haven’t heard of Mega before, I don’t blame you. The band’s name makes it nearly impossible to find them on Spotify or any social media platform. I was introduced to these Italians by the Dummy Room podcast a few years ago. These guys are incredible! Some of the best (and most unique) pop-punk I’ve heard in a long time. They don’t sound like anything else out there – honestly I’m not sure I’d even call them pop-punk. Every time I put on 2019’s Narcissistic Punk Rock Disorder it’s like I get lost in a trance.


UP FOR NOTHING

Brooklyn’s Up For Nothing has been around for a while, but they seem to have flown under a lot of people’s radars. That’s quite the injustice, because these guys are a solid pop-punk band! They went MIA for a bit, but have returned with a new record called Escape Route. UFN draws a lot of influence from the Bouncing Souls, so it’s fitting that Souls guitarist Pete Steinkopf had a hand in the recording of this album.


BLOWFUSE

I fell in love with Blowfuse the first time I heard them almost a decade ago, watching the “Basket Case”-esque music video for their song “Ripping Out”. This band is from Barcelona, but their extremely frantic brand of punk rock draws a lot of influence from west coast punk and the 90’s Epi/Fat sound. Their whole catalog is fantastic, but the Couch EP is my favorite.


THE KIMBERLY STEAKS

Here’s another great band from Scotland! Those Scots sure do churn out some quality punk rock. The Kimberly Steaks sound kinda like Insomniac era Green Day, but snottier, faster, and… more Scottish. I’d suggest starting with their 2014 album To Live and Die in West Central Scotland. This record is the definition of all killer, no filler. It hits you like a freight train and just doesn’t let up. Great band, great album.


THE REAL DANGER

Face to Face fans will love The Real Danger. It’s been almost a decade since these Dutch punks put out a new record, but 2013’s Down and Out has aged quite gracefully. This album as a good starting point for new listeners. Fast, melodic punk brimming with hooks and vocal harmonies. Speaking of underrated bands, these guys kinda remind me of One Man Army, too.


THE HEXTALLS

Do you like pop-punk? Do you like hockey? How about pop-punk songs about hockey? Well, then I’ve got just the right band for you – The Hextalls! To be fair, not all their songs are hockey themed… they cover a myriad of topics such as catching your dad masturbating to Shania Twain, buying a singing toilet for your newborn child, and begging your parents to let you sleep in the treehouse… as a 33 year old man. Very serious shit! Anyway, all the Hextalls’ records are great, but if I had to pick a favorite it would be Get Smashed. “I Don’t Wanna Be a New York Ranger” is a Top 10 song of all time for me. Fuck the Rangers!


REHASHER

People who know me know my all-time favorite band is Less Than Jake. I’m also a super fan of Roger Lima’s other band Rehaser. A passion project that occupies Lima’s time when he’s not touring the world with LTJ, Rehasher has released three blazing fast melodic punk albums (and recently a fun covers record) over the last 20 years. I love everything this band has put out, but my personal favorite is High Speed Access to My Brain. This is some of Roger’s best songwriting, in my opinion. If you like Belvedere, Rehasher is right up your alley.

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