Ah, December. Many people look forward to the holiday season (or the new year) for a variety of reasons, but for me it’s all about The Vandals‘ Christmas Formal. This year was the 20th anniversary of my favorite holiday tradition, held as usual at the House of Blues Anaheim. As a special treat, a recently reunited most-of-the-original-lineup Tsunami Bomb and Danger Friends opened the show. This Kung Fu Records showcase was truly a memorable night!
Due to the unfortunate combination of LA traffic and rain, we missed getting to the venue in time to see Danger Friends, but the packed house was already there to enjoy an epic night of punk rock. Tsunami Bomb, who recently announced that Kung Fu will be putting out their new rarities album Trust No One in early 2016, tore through their setlist with energy and enthusiasm. Four of the original members were joined by a new vocalist, Kate Jacobi, and the crowd greeted them with open arms as the band played a mixture of old sing alongs and tracks off the upcoming album.
Finally it was time for the main event! The Vandals, joined by Brooks Wackerman on drums in place of Josh Freese, emerged onto the stage in fez hats and Star Trek shirts. The stage was adorned with inflatable decorations, a large banner mimicking a fireplace, foam snowflakes, and wrapped presents. As an added bonus this year, fake snow rained down on the stage and those fans (and photographers) in the front. Dave, Joe, Warren, and Brooks mixed up the order of their Christmas classics, tearing through 90% of the songs on Oi To The World during the first half of the show. Before closing out the night in their traditional fashion (“Hang Myself From The Tree,” “Don’t Stop Me Now,” and “Oi To The World”), the band played a mix of their well known tracks from the non-holiday albums. Fans were treated to “I’ve Got An Ape Drape,” “Anarchy Burger,” “The New You,” and “My Girlfriend’s Dead,” among others. In a rare moment, the band also performed “Pirate’s Life” as a nod to the venue’s location in Downtown Disneyland.
As always, the (20th annual) Christmas Formal was an incredible night of entertainment, celebration, and holiday cheer. It always goes by so quickly, but I can’t wait to see what they do next year! Check out the full photo gallery from the show below.