Round two of the day-long Hi-Fi Rockfest in Long Beach the last Saturday in September is on display for curious eyes. After LA-based punk band True Rivals was another SoCal product, Year of The Dragon. This political hardcore five piece took the stage with alacrity and a definite purpose. I love hardworking bands that just come ready to work, lunch packed. The “A Wilhelm Scream work ethic”, if you will. While the music may have more metal and funk influences, the lyrics were 100% anger and angst punk, probably best compared to System of a Down or Tool. The songs were longer and a bit more meandering than true punk songs but that didn’t keep it from being a fantastic performance. The entire set was furious and the pace was frenetic, but between sets the lead singer, Dirty Walt would tell stories that settled things down a little and opened them up to the audience a little more. The best one was about his first girlfriend dragging him, against his will to his first punk rock show. Dead Kennedys/DOA/SIN at Longshoremen’s Memorial Hall in Wilmington, California back in ‘82. This show would end up putting its mark on the history of the punk rock scene, more for the events at the end of the show than for the talent that performed on the stage. The police, in full riot gear showed up and proceeded to gas the concert goers in an effort to battle the scourge that was punk rock music. Their rude arrival was not welcome and caused what amounted to a riot with multiple accounts of police brutality against the kids at the show. History lesson over. He continued, “As we left the show, I looked at her and said I’m in love!”. She replied “What? No, it’s way too early!” to which he retorted, “No, bitch! I’m talking about Punk Rock!” This guy is a total badass.
Following a little liquid therapy and some much needed rest in the shade came Dirty Filthy Mugs. This quintet also hails from Los Angeles, but their sound could just as easily have been bred on the streets of Boston. It’s drunken, brutal, hard as fuck hooligan street punk. I grew up on Social Distortion and Bad Religion but this is the music I was bred for. The only kind of music that can get you hyped up enough to voluntarily jump into the whirling violent abyss that is a pit at a street punk show, knowing full well that you can’t afford ObamaCare. When it comes to street punk, I’m from the camp that if the singer isn’t spitting all over the audience, the vocals aren’t aggressive enough. Lead singer Matt Wedgley looked to be a pretty angry vocalist. Only one way to find out for sure if he’s “spit legit” though, so I grabbed a beer and started my trek towards the stage. The horde had finally started to fill in a little although they were still mingling, tentatively back away from the action at the various tents so, my approach was unimpeded. I walked straight up to the guardrail which separated the riff raff from the crowd and took my position. Not long after I settled in, the furry frontman started slowly easing his way towards the apron where I was standing. I white knuckled the warm metal rail, locked eyes with him as he kept moving my way and started indignantly parroting what lyrics I could remember from earlier in the song right back at him. He came down even closer, off of the stage, at this point and knelt on top of the sound monitors a foot away maybe and screamed right back, directly in my face. Yup, sufficient enough spittle. It’s a beautiful thing! These guys were not even a blip on my radar and after their live show, I’m off to pay my penance on their website. They are the real deal, gang. Don’t wait to be blown away like I was.
Luicidal – featuring former Suicidal Tendencies bassist Louiche Mayorga and and drummer R.J. Herrera – was next on the bill, and there was definite curiosity in the air for the unacquainted. I was excited to see what was in store as this band has been on my radar since their debut self-titled release last year, and the guys sourced heavily from the debut, while shedding some light on a couple new songs slated for an upcoming album. With Mayorga driving much of the strings, it’s no doubt Luicidal shares some similar qualities as Suicidal Tendencies, blaring and ripping guitar riffs, hardcore/street blended with classic rough and gritty vocals. Indeed, the band opened their set with the classic ST song “War Inside My Head”. Someone was actually gracious enough to film part of the band’s set, and put it on YouTube for the entire world to see! Check it out here. Additionally, you can have a look at the band’s music video for their song “Kumbaya” here.
Have a look at all of the photos from Year of The Dragon, Dirty Filthy Mugs, and Luicidal’s performances below, and check back soon for part three!