East Bay power rock trio
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Civil War Rust are from Oakland.
Things they enjoy… Pop Punk from the 90’s, Burritos, Touring, Recording & Dive Bars from the 90’s
Dead Kennedys’ lyrics were usually political in nature, satirizing political figures and authority in general, as well as popular culture and even the punk movement itself. During their initial incarnation between 1978 and 1986, they attracted considerable controversy for their provocative lyrics and artwork.
The group released a total of four studio albums and one EP before disbanding in 1986. In 2001, the band reformed without founding vocalist Jello Biafra; various singers have since been recruited for vocal duties.
Welcome back to the Dying Scene Band Spotlight! It’s been a while, but we’re finally back with another great band for you to check out. The latest band to find themselves standing in our spotlight is The Last Mile. This Montreal punk band’s sound marries the speed and melodicism of East Bay mainstays like Samiam and J Church with the gritty, rumbling basslines of Midwest punk bands such as Banner Pilot.
Their latest album Respect the Frequency – released in October, 2021 through Rad Girlfriend Records – recently celebrated its first birthday! Hopefully my persistent name dropping of revered punk bands and liberal use of buzzwords has convinced you to check it out.
Give the record a listen below and grab it on beautiful colored vinyl here.
Story and Photography by Meredith Goldberg
Liar’s Club, always supportive of members of the Chicago punk rock community, often hosts fundraisers for various individuals/causes. Recall, the venue sponsored one of the Dying Scene Resurrection Shows recently. On Saturday August 6, 2022, Liar’s Club was the site for one of several local shows benefitting the Chicago Abortion Fund (CAF). Venues in Chicago and elsewhere have been holding similar fundraisers in wake of the of the Supreme Court of the United States’ 2022 decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which overturns landmark SCOTUS decisions in Roe v. Wade (1973) and Planned Parenthood v. Casey (1992) and endangers numerous other privacy related rights. The announced amount of money raised for the CAF came to almost $2,000.
Boybrain turned on the show’s engine with a hair swirling, brains (of all genders) smashing performance. The dizzying actions of the band members were matched by their striking physical appearances. Suited up in matching half uniforms of t-shirts with “Abortions” written across them in a font reminiscent of rec league baseball jerseys, and athlete-style black grease marks under their eyes. Boybrain slammed though a tight set featuring “Blood Wolf Moon,” off its 2022 debut album In the Company Of Worms. The band is comprised of punk rock veterans from the Chicago area and elsewhere: Patti on guitars and vocals, Inga on lead guitar, Colin on drums, and “Dr. Doom” (whose first name is actually Lauren. Come on though, Dr. Doom is a pretty cool moniker) on bass and vocals.
Aweful, which we featured in the aforementioned Resurrection Show, once again offered its talents to an important cause. The trio, made up of Traci Trouble, Lucy Dekay, and Izzy Price, as always had the crowds pumped and their fists pumping. They ripped through tunes including “Far Away,” “Bubble,” “Just Like Me,” and one of their most popular singles, “No Avail.” Whipping around the stage, guitarist Dekay displayed her usual flair, whilst drummer Price and bass player Trouble fueled the backbeat. Trouble’s gritty vocals matched her stage presence as well as those of her bandmates. It’s always a fun moment to see how she and Dekay go back to back literally, appearing to be simultaneously competing for flashiest performance and joining together to create a single, more powerful organism. So powerful that watching both women then fall away from each other, as if ripped apart, collapsing onto the floor seems the natural next occurrence. Even on the floor, Trouble and DeKay, are at times, still attached, playing a sort of punk rock patty cake with their sneakers.
Djunah, an electrifying two-piece group from Chicago, is comprised of Donna Diane and Jared Karns. Diane pulls triple duty on vocals, guitar, and Moog Organ bass, as Karns powers through on drums. It was a rousing and hypnotic set. Thus far, 2022 has been a busy year for Diane, between recording vocals for Jason Narducy‘s Verboten the Musical, and the band playing festivals and sold-out shows, with at least two more upcoming fests. Those events being Louisville’s PRFBBQLOU2022 in late August-early September, and Milwaukee’s Bay View Bash, in mid-September.
Heet Deth is another 2-piece band from the Windy City. Formed in 2018 by best friends, Julia B on drums and vocals, and Laila E on guitar and vocals, Heet Deth describes itself as operatic. Wearing matching blood red shortsleeve coveralls, with their faces garishly painted red, white, and black, they manage to create their own styles even as the likes of David Bowie and Monkey from the Adicts are brought to mind. Heet Deth’s theatrical appearance is equaled by its non-stop energy.
Good to see the punk rock community standing up for all of our rights, as unfortunate as it is that these rights have to be fought for so vigorously at this point in history. Alas, the fight WILL proceed and there will be great music to keep us inspired and energized.
More photos below!
I will be the first to admit that my main (aka only) interest in venturing over to Prospect Park on a hot & humid Friday night was to see New Zealand’s one and only The Beths. I knew next to nothing about the 2 opening acts, Charlotte Cornfield and SASAMI. I can only say now that am I REALLY glad I got to The Lena Horne bandshell early enough to witness one of these sets.
Cornfield took the stage promptly at 7 PM and proceeded to treat the crowd to a steady and competent set of rather quiet and subdued indie folk to which the NPR types in the crowd thoroughly enjoyed. For my ears, however her set just didn’t resonate all that much with me and after the 3 song photo allotment was met I found myself chatting with some of the other photogs in attendance for what seemed like a rather long time considering Charlotte was an opener on a three-band bill at an outdoor show that had a strict New York City mandated 10 PM curfew. Before I go any further, to be clear, Cornfield’s set did seem to be quite good but it just wasn’t my thing and I just kind of lost interest. That’s not to say that she didn’t make a lot of those in attendance very pleased with her set.
Next up was SASAMI who hit the stage shortly after 8 PM. Truth be told, I had given SASAMI a bit of a listen on Spotify prior to the show and was merely lukewarm about what I had heard. Their first (self-titled) album released in 2019, was a quite polished indie pop album which while very listenable, didn’t exactly get my juices flowing. And then there is this year’s second full-length LP, Squeeze which hit the shelves back in February. You’d have to do some serious searching in order to find a sophomore LP which takes as strong a departure from its predecessor as does Squeeze.
The set started off with Sasami Ashworth’s “The Greatest” off the new album. And while the song on the album is rather subdued, the band came out and raged. They took what already sounded like a homage or at least a response to Whitney Houston’s “The Greatest Gift Of All” and turned it into Whitney’s Greatest Gift from an alternative (much less hospitable) dimension. From here the set only got darker, darker in a heavy metal kind of way with thundering bass lines and loud abrasive guitar chords coming from both Ashworth’s axe as well as the other guitarist who’s name I did not get. To say the least I was almost completely shocked. From here the band ripped through song after song with a fiery electric vengeance which I for one was 100% unprepared for.
Sticking with a setlist comprised entirely of titles off the new one, SASAMI’s set was absolutely mesmerizing. The energy set forth by Ashworth and the rest of the band was transfixing. A combination metal hell fest combined with an almost performance art presentation made for a show to which I (and virtually every other photographer in the pit) was paralyzed to stop clicking the shutter button. Every moment following every moment felt like something that needed to be captured.
SASAMI’s set lasted roughly 40-45 minutes yet it flew by in a flash. I for one felt winded after witnessing the whirlwind of a set which they had treated us all to. My initial reaction when it was done was, “I can’t believe it’s over so soon”. Looking at their other setlists online however, it looks like we got pretty much their entire show.
Which brings me to the headliner, The Beths. It wasn’t all that long ago, you read from me that they were the only real impetus for me being at Prospect Park in the first place. And now as I stood and waited for them to take the stage, I couldn’t help but ponder, “How the hell are they going to top THAT?!?” Having seen the band make a steady progression from DIY venue, Alphaville to 400-person Music Hall Of Williamsburg to 1000-person capacity Webster Hall, they were now faced with the unenviable task of playing (BY FAR) their most high-profile show ever in New York at the 5000 to 7000 person capacity Lena Horne Bandshell AND having to do that following an absolutely blistering set from the opener, not to mention their backs against the wall relative to a 10 PM curfew.
With it already being after 9, it appeared that we were most likely going to get a truncated set. The band came on about 9:15, opening with “I’m Not Getting Excited” but clearly they were because they came out answering the call. Despite what appeared to be some lighting irritations, Liz Stokes was exactly that, STOKED. She, along with guitarist, Jonathan Pierce, bassist, Ben Sinclair and Tristan Deck on drums hit the stage running. Barreling through stalwarts ” Happy, Unhappy” and “Out Of Sight” before offering up the lead single and title track to the upcoming album, “Expert In A Dying Field” due to drop in mid-September.
It was right about here in the set that it dawned on me that the band had figured out how they were going to get their entire set done in roughly three-quarters the normal length of the set. They were speeding everything up and HOLY SHIT, it was working masterfully! I mean they were almost approaching Ramones kind of tempos and the songs and the vibes and the atmosphere were just perfect.
After “Dying Field” we got three more older songs before they cracked open another new one called “Knees Deep”, a bright sun-shiney rocker (come to think of it a Beth’s song and sun-shiney is just redundant…aren’t they all like that?)
Attacking each upcoming song at a breakneck pace which seemed different yet also quite right. “Jump Rope Gazers” into “Uptown Girl” into “A Real Thing”, all done fast but not quite furious.
When all was said and done, The Beths managed to come out of the evening having sleighed the dragon. They overcame the adversity which faced them and finished the evening around 10:10 after a two-song encore of “You Are A Beam of Light” and “Little Death” to the delight of all. Liz and crew put on a masterful show which while certainly sped up, never felt rushed. As a matter of fact it appeared that the band had as much fun as the packed crowd. The normally stoic Jon on guitar was flashing a big grin much of the evening. Liz showed off a little Chuck Berry-esque duck walk and the rhythm section of Tristen and Ben were amazing keeping the sped up pace at bay and even keeled.
When all was said and done, all I could possibly say was, “What a night!”
NOTE: For those in the NY/NJ area The Beths will be at The Asbury Lanes on August 26th and for those in or around western MA, they will be at Courtney Barnett’s Here and There Festival at MassMoca in North Adams on August 13th.
Hello, and welcome to this week’s installment of the Dying Scene Record Radar! This is a weekly round up of all things punk rock vinyl, highlighting new releases and all those ultra limited reissues that get the collector nerds’ hearts racing. So, let’s get into it…
Wake up, sleepy heads! 1-2-3-4 Go! Records has a new exclusive pressing of an East Bay punk classic going up Friday, July 8th (that’s today!) at 8am PST/11am EST. Limited to 500 hand numbered copies on fiery red vinyl, it’s Jawbreaker‘s 24 Hour Revenge Therapy! Make sure to join their mailing list to be notified when this goes up.
Save the date! The Mr. T Experience is finally reissuing their 1997 LP Revenge Is Sweet, And So Are You. Preorders for this one start Monday, July 11th at Noon Eastern time. To gain access to the preorder, you need to join this mailing list. This pop-punk classic has been out of print since its initial release on Lookout! Records 25 years ago. Don’t miss out!
Epitaph Records is reissuing Down By Law‘s 1994 LP Punkrockacademyfightsong on purple vinyl. This is another one that’s limited to 500 copies. US preorders are already sold out, but the label’s European store still has some in stock if you can stomach the extra shipping cost. Or hey, maybe you live in Europe!
Feeling nostalgic for the days when you played Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater late into the night, chugging Mountain Dew and getting Cheeto dust on your Mad Catz controller? Then maybe these vinyl bootlegs of the THPS 1 and 2 soundtracks will interest you. If so, you’ll wanna hurry up and grab one here, because these have nearly sold out in just two days.
European friends! If you’re looking for a deal on some great punk records, I suggest you head over to SBÄM Records‘ webstore, where you can save 25% on everything through July 29th. Just enter the code “SBAMFEST” at checkout and you’re ready to roll. They have a bunch of good shit from Pulley, Frenzal Rhomb, Chaser, Guttermouth, and many more. You name it, they’ve probably got it!
Now that all the new and upcoming releases have been covered, I thought I’d show you the records I picked up this week, because I’m sure you really care! Anywho, I was in Ocala, FL visiting my parents for the 4th of July and I decided to stop by the only local record store in town, which is appropriately named Vinyl Oasis. I was very happy to find the Ramones‘ It’s Alive II, a 2020 Record Store Day title that I had been in search of for the last two years, and I was even happier it was only $30 (suck it, resellers!). I also snatched up a brand new 3xLP copy of The Clash‘s notoriously bloated Sandinista (I like it!), and a few CDs including the very interesting Misfits / Nutley Brass crossover album Fiend Club Lounge.
Well, it’s getting late, so I’ll wrap things up there. If you’re still reading this for some reason, thank you again for tuning in to this week’s edition of the Dying Scene Record Radar! Is there a new record you think should be highlighted in next week’s column? Suggestions are always welcome – send us a message on Facebook or Instagram and we’ll look into it!
J Church was a punk rock band from San Francisco, California, formed by the guitarist and vocalist Lance Hahn and bassist Gardner Maxam in 1992, after the demise of their former band Cringer.
East Bay punk veterans. Do you still hate me?