Alternative hard rock band from the desert of Phoenix, AZ.
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Frank Casillas founded Voodoo Glow Skulls with his brothers, Eddie and Jorge Casillas, along with Jerry O’Neill. He left the band in June 2017, making the announcement during a VGS performance at Long Beach, CA venue, Alex’s Bar.
DS: Before we get to your new project, let’s go back to where you left off with the Voodoo Glows Skulls. After so many years leading that band, how did the decision to leave come about at that moment in time?
FC: Well, I didn’t really plan a time and place to leave the band. It just kind of happened at a time when we were doing some weekend gigs here and there along the west coast, close to home, and some incidents that had occurred from within the band (ongoing arguments within the three brothers, differences between other band members, etc.) during this time just prompted me to just quit on the spot.
DS: How long did it take to make the decision to leave? Was there anything in particular prompting it?
FC: I had actually been thinking about leaving the band for at least five years prior to me actually doing it. For me personally, I was just burned out on the whole thing. We weren’t really being productive with writing new material, and it seemed like it was taking forever to record a new album. I didn’t really like the direction of the new material either. It just seemed like we were getting further away from the VGS style and sound that we were known for. Since we started the band, I was pretty much the main guy handling just about everything in the band business wise since day one, even when we had high profile management and everything. There’s always got be at least one person speaking for the band and making decisions on behalf of the band, and that was me for the longest time. Not only that, but I wore many hats besides just being the front man. I drove and maintained the vehicles, I was the tour manager, I organized and ordered the merch on top of also being a performer in the band. I also had a family with children, and I sacrificed a lot just to keep the band going when other guys in the band didn’t really care about anything else but playing and getting paid. We were constantly on the road being ran by a booking agent and it just became very routine. After a while, it just sucked everything out of me. Especially the creativity, and productivity aspect. I just wasn’t into it anymore and I felt like the band wasn’t really being productive and progressive like we used to be. I didn’t exactly leave on the proper terms and that struck a nerve with the remaining members in the band and some fans. But then again, I have never really heard of anyone giving a two weeks’ notice when they leave a band. My gut instinct just said it was time to leave and focus on me personally.
DS: Was there ever a time, either in the immediate aftermath of leaving the band or in the years since where you have had regrets about that decision or doubts that it was the best thing for you?
FC: “I helped start this band with my two younger brothers, and a neighborhood friend who was pretty much considered a brother. It obviously wasn’t an easy decision to leave after 27+ years. We accomplished a lot for just being a high school backyard party band that happened to tap into the youth of that era and play music that suburban kids could relate to. It was something that came natural to us, and we were just a product of our environment. It was hard for sure, and yes, for the longest time there were some mixed feelings of regret and guilt for just leaving like I did. But I also had my mindset of just moving on with my personal life and pursuing just me for the sake of the long-term, personal satisfaction, and personal well-being.“
DS: Is there anything you miss about being on the road with the VGS / with your brothers specifically or just being on the road and in a band?
FC: I miss the fans! I don’t really miss the travel aspect, or anything related to that. When you’re young, that shit is cool! But as you get older, it gets harder to accept some of the accommodations that are handed to you on tour. Of course, I miss my brothers. But at the same time, I can’t help but feel some sort of betrayal by them. I fully understand that I didn’t exactly leave on the best of terms. But I wasn’t okay mentally and physically and instead of being concerned about me possibly not being okay, they pretty much slandered me on the band’s social media and made me look an unstable person to our fans. I think that I deserved better than that regardless of the situation. I had done so much for our career, and I feel like my efforts and sacrifices as not only the front man, but a managing member went totally unappreciated and disrespected after all these years.
DS: How aware were you of the reactions from the fans of the band?
FC: The fans have always been great to me. Of course, I got some mixed reactions after leaving. Especially after I was blasted on the band’s social media for quitting. But I still get fans asking me to return. I get feedback from fans telling me that that it’s just not the same anymore without me, etc. There are also a lot of ex-fans who wrote me off. But that is to be expected, I guess.
DS: You spoke of great legacy when you announced you quit the band, how would you describe that legacy?
FC: We started off as just kids learning how to play instruments along with our vinyl records. We managed to tap into suburban kids and relate to their lifestyle through music that was pretty much inspired by our environment. This came at a time when we didn’t exactly have social media or the internet at our fingertips to help get exposure. It was all done organically and by word of mouth for the most part. Not only that, but we managed to transcend underlying racial boundaries and write bilingual ska/punk songs that Mexican, Chicano, and Anglo-American kids could relate to equally. We managed to do that for at least a couple of decades strong. If anything, I’m proud and happy that the band is still going strong without me. They have managed to reinvent themselves with a new front man and continue with their own version of VGS. It’s a different band for sure now.
DS: Please tell us about Tiki Bandits. What was it like to go from VGS to the TB? What were some of the most interesting differences you found, and any similarities?
FC: Tiki Bandits were never really a serious project for me. I started TB with some local friends in Arizona while I was still very active with VGS. It was just a side project for me, playing “punked up” cover versions of 50’s & 60’s tunes and an opportunity for me to stay somewhat creative and keep my musical chops up. I never really compared the band to VGS, as it was strictly just another musical outlet for me to just have fun and play gigs with no strings attached to a record label, a booking agent, or the industry in general. Sadly, we no longer exist as of 2021.
DS: Please tell us a bit about the origin of The Hardyville Stranglers.
FC: The Hardyville Stranglers are my newest and current band that came together in 2022 between myself and some local friends who share musical interests in Punk Rock music. Nick Fielding, our bass player has a strong punk rock musical history and played in the band Narcoleptic Youth for 6 years before moving out to the desert like me. The guitar players Steve Blanks and Bobby Narmaki have musical roots in the So Cal punk scene and have also played in several local bands. Jose Ibarra, our drummer has played in some local area bands and was also my drummer for Tiki Bandits. Somehow, we all ended up meeting and coming together musically out here in our area where we all reside. We all live in the Bullhead City area, and Hardyville is what Bullhead used to be called back in the old Wild west days. That’s how we came up with the name of the band.
DS: How much, if any, of your work in this band has been affected or influenced by the decades with the VGS?
FC: I don’t really think about that to be honest. My experience obviously helps with logistical things like organizing stuff for the band. But we don’t really consider ourselves a real working band or anything. We’re just having fun making music without any boundaries. It’s a breath of fresh air being able to play music just for fun and without any expectations from anyone. It’s reminiscent of when I first started playing with VGS, and that makes it fun and exciting for me again.
DS: Are there any songs on this record you personally connect with. “Nobody Likes” for instance, is a song I think we all can relate to at different points of our lives. Even if our self-perception may not be accurate.
FC: “Nobody Likes” is just a song poking fun at how it’s so easy for people to just complain about anything nowadays on platforms like YELP or leave negative reviews, and just be a Karen or whatever. No real strong meaning behind it. Just a stupid observation, I guess. Lol
DS: How did some of the other songs on the EP come to fruition?
FC: Nick our bass player had some songs in his back pocket that he wrote years ago, and we brought them to life. That motivated us to start figuring out our own sound and go from there, to write a few of our own tunes collectively as a band.
DS: What was the inspiration for this album?
FC: Just a group of four guys getting together on Sunday evenings to play music and see what comes out of it. That’s really all it is!
DS: What are you looking forward to with this new group record.
FC: We really don’t have any set goals or anything. We can’t really tour extensively or anything because guys have jobs and families to feed. We are doing this just for fun and if we happen to gain some sort of popularity or success with it, I don’t think anyone in the band will be upset.
DS: What has the early reception to the record and the Hardyville Stranglers been?
FC: The reception has been great so far. We all commonly agree that punk rock has gotten soft nowadays. Punk used to be aggressive, anti-establishment a rough around the edges. Now it just seems polished, sensitive, and woke. So that pretty much influences us to just write stuff off the top of our heads and not really care about how it’s going to be received. So far, I think that it’s been working in our favor. We have gotten some good reviews claiming that we are a breath of fresh air for the punk scene.
DS: What is in the immediate or long-time future for The Hardyville Stranglers as far as you know right now?
FC: We are just playing locally right now with no real expectations or plans. Luckily with social media and the internet we can share our music to a much broader audience without having to go on tour or anything else. However, we are not opposed to doing a weekend here and there or traveling if the opportunity is there and most importantly, worthwhile for us.
DS: How has age and family/having children affected your approach to performing and all the related elements of being in a band.
FC: It gets harder as you get older. I don’t see how some of these guys are still out there doing this fulltime well into their 50’s and 60’s. I had small children and a family for a majority of my career in VGS and that made it extra hard to be gone all the time on tour. That was the hardest thing to deal with.
My kids are grown now, and I went through a divorce. I am just recently married again, and I have two step daughters that I am helping raise. I couldn’t see myself being able to leave on tour nowadays. Not only because of my new family, but my business as well.
DS: The final lyrics to “Disappear” are “Don’t Give A Fuck If I Live Or Die, I’ll Drop a Gear and Say Goodbye.” Again a sentiment it seems many people have had at some point in their lives. How do you relate to this sentiment, and does it bring you back to any specific moments or feelings in your life?
FC: I am and have always been a motorcyclist and enthusiast. I currently own three motorcycles and I live in a place where outlaw bikers are for real and part of the history here. That song is a biker song mainly, but it is also highly relatable to other non-bikers, I guess. I never really thought it that way to be honest.
DS: Why Arizona? Specifically, Bullhead? What went into the decision to leave CA for AZ?
FC: I left my hometown of Riverside, California for Bullhead City, Arizona in 2000 mainly so my kids could grow up in a safer and less influenced environment. I felt like California was just getting overpopulated, dangerous and super expensive. Pretty much how it is today! In my eyes, Bullhead City is paradise and still far enough, yet still within arm’s reach of my roots in California. We have the desert, mountains, the Colorado River running through town, and you just have more access for outdoor, recreational opportunities here in general.
DS: What are the differences you have experienced between the two states and the similarities. Same goes for Riverside v Bullhead?
FC: There is quite a bit of similarities between the two here. Most residents here have roots in California and have just ended up here to live by default. I have felt more sense of freedom living in Arizona and it seems like there are far less restraints living in Mohave County. The cost of living here is generally less and you don’t have as many outside influences living in the desert. Even though, things are rapidly changing because of the sudden high influx of people leaving California and moving here. It still has that small town and tight knit community vibe.
DS: You operate a bicycle shop – Rad Stop. Why bicycles?
FC: I grew up on my bicycle and they have always been a passion of mine.
DS: Please tell us about the business? Is there a story behind the founding of the business?
FC: I got my 4-year-old son involved in BMX racing as alternative to organized team sports. He took a liking to it immediately, he became very good at it, and when the local BMX track here in town opened, we had already been racing for a few years in nearby Lake Havasu. Parents at the newly opened track saw that my son was already advanced in the sport, and they started approaching me about helping them get their kid set up with the proper bicycle and equipment. After a few years of doing that, I realized that there was a need for a credible and reliable bicycle shop in the area. The rest is history, and I have been the longest and only operating shop here in my immediate area and within a 60-mile range for over a decade.
DS: Have there been fans of yours not aware that you run this business, come to the shop as customers and what has the reaction been if that has happened?
FC: Yes, it happens almost daily, and I have even had fans come through on vacation just to stop by, say hello, take photos and get an autograph.
DS: How often do you get out on a bicycle, and when did you learn? Do you remember your first bicycle and what kind was it? Banana seat, as was mine?
FC : I honestly do not ride a bicycle very much at all anymore for leisure or recreation. However, I test ride customer bicycles daily after repairing them. But I spend so much time working on them, that it’s the last thing I want to do on my limited spare time. My first real bicycle was a Schwinn Stingray with a banana seat and a stick shifter that I got at the age of 10.
DS: What went into opening this shop up and running it?
FC: I opened my shop on a shoestring budget of one thousand dollars and a plan to set myself up with a backup plan to have something to fall back on after my musical career. I took on a job as a bicycle assembly technician for Kmart during some downtime with VGS and gained most of the knowledge from that, and a friend that was already in the business. I was running my shop via satellite while still actively touring with VGS and relying on others to help. It just never really got off the ground until I decided to leave the band in 2017 and pursue it fulltime by myself.
DS: Is there anything running a business has in common with leading a band.
FC: Yes, you must have leadership, management, and communicative skills to run any business. Being the leader and main negotiator for the band most certainly taught me how to be self-employed and take risks involved with being successful.
DS: You also ride motorcycles?
FC: Oh god yes!
DS: What is your main ride currently?
FC: I currently own 3 motorcycles. I had 5 up until just recently. But my favorite is my 2000 Kawasaki Ninja ZX750R sport bike.
DS: How often are you able to ride and do you take longer trips on it?
FC: I ride at least a few times a week, weather permitting. Which is pretty much year-round here where I live.
DS: Ride solo? How often in a group?
FC: I do ride solo occasionally, and that seems to be the most therapeutical. But I prefer to ride with a buddy for safety reasons, and no more than 2-3 people because group rides can be dangerous in my opinion.
DS: Please tell us anything you want to about family life and what you like to do when away from both music and the shop.
FC: Life is uneventful and slower paced nowadays. My bicycle business is a labor of love and a passion. I get pure enjoyment seeing people react when I can get their bicycles looking nice a working properly once again. As I mentioned before, I am recently remarried, and I am thoroughly enjoying being a family man again. I look forward to Sundays when we get together at my shop to rehearse and create new music with my friends in this new band.
DS: Does your son Cid play music or shown interest in performing?
FC: My son is a very talented independent hip hop artist. He’s a finance manager for FORD and that consumes most of his life and cannot pursue his music full time. But look him up! I have been to a couple of his local shows. El Cid or NTFB, on Spotify
DS: Cid is an advanced BMX rider. Were you a BMX rider at any point in your life?
FC: I grew up riding my BMX bike in the late 70’s and early 80’s when the sport was just getting started. I was fortunate to grow up in the same neighborhood and go to school with a lot of the early pros who went on to become legendary in the sport. My son is a natural and still races at the age of 24. He is a mentor at the local track and in my eyes a local BMX legend.
DS: Thank you.
FC: Thank you.
Hardyville Stranglers performance photos by Stoned Spider Photography LV. Other Frank Casillas performance photo by Dana Krashin as indicated. All other photos courtesy of Frank Casillas.
If you saw my last gallery on Frank Turner, The Bronx and Pet Needs, I was quoted as saying, “[The Bronx] may very well be my favorite live band”. Well I lied … kind of. I forgot about a group of ska-loving punk rockers from Gainesville that played a pivotal role in my musical upbringing. I’m not gonna say that the Less Than Jake dudes’ performance topped that of the LA guys in the Bronx, but I’m content having a two-way tie for first on the list of ‘Nathan’s Favorite Live Bands’.
This was a fun show. It’d been almost five years since my last LTJ show, that one being across town at the Mercy Lounge with the Red City Radio boys. This was my first encounter with Doll Skin and Cliff Diver (both of which I mentally labeled as ‘will see again’), and although I am very familiar with Bowling for Soup from my early days of investigating pop-punk, I had never caught a live show of theirs either. So other than reacquainting myself with Less Than Jake’s live set, this was an evening of firsts.
What stuck out most from Doll Skin‘s performance was the sheer chaos and havoc that lead singer Sydney Dolezal rendered during their set. The images here do little justice as an accurate portrayal of the set’s intensity. They are one of few opening bands that I’ve seen that achieve this level of crowd engagement and attentiveness, which speaks volumes about this band’s live show.
Cliff Diver was an excellent opener for the two headliners because their style was a mix of what drew fans of both headliners to the show. They had the early 2000s pop-punk sound that fans of BFS would love. On the other hand, at times they also had a more traditional ska-punk sound that those who came for LTJ could appreciate.
And one other thing … man, can Briana Wright sing!
There seemed a clear division among those attending that I somewhat alluded to earlier. You had those attending for Less Than Jake (the crowd I would lump myself in with), and those who came for Bowling for Soup, and there was not much overlap between the two groups. Between LTJ’s set and BFS’s, the crowd huddled up near the stage was an entire new set of faces.
Although BFS’s glory days may seem to be in the past, these dudes can still hold their own and there’s still a pretty large group of followers who all still have the same question: Are they bowling in order to earn soup, or on behalf of soup?
There’s not much I can write here other than if you haven’t caught the Less Than Jake guys live, you’re probably in the minority of readers of this site, and you need to see them immediately. I’ve seen bands where their stage antics are gimmicky and their humor distasteful, but what could possibly be gimmicky about a damn toilet paper cannon?
In all truthfulness, you could see the sincerity of the performance from each and every member on stage. They were all genuinely having the time of their life up there.
As always, your time and attention here are very much appreciated. Check out all these rad bands, and I’ll have more galleries up in the coming weeks. Until next time, cheers!
The foremost punk rock supergroup cover band hit the House of Blues in Chicago, IL on the first day of October 2022. The band brought the humor and fun, performing others’ classics but at break-neck speed.
Me First and the Gimme Gimmes has a rotating cast of characters. At this House of Blues Chicago, only one of the original members, Spike Slawson, was on stage. Joey Cape of Lagwagon and Fat Mike of NOFX were unable to join Slawson due to both bands being on tour. However, Slawson did have a pretty solid set of bandmates: CJ Ramone on bass, Speedo aka John “The Swami” Reis of Rocket From the Crypt on guitar, Jake Kiley from Strung Out, and Andrew “Pinch” Pinching formerly of The Damned, on drums. The entire band was decked out in white denim and glittery pink shirts, accented by white ties Slawson added a white sports jacket and Elton John style specs, as well his Lounge Lizard persona.
The band zoomed through a pair of John Denver tunes, “Leaving on a Jet Plane” and “Take Me Home Country Roads,” as well as Paul Simon’s “Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard,” Paula Abdul’s “Straight Up,” “ScienceFiction/Double Feature” by Richard O’Brien
The set also featured Dolly Parton’s “Jolene,” Willie Nelson’s “On the Road Again,” “Rocket Man (I Think It’s Going to Be a Long, Long Time)” by Elton John, “Mandy,” by Barry Manilow and Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive.”
Me First and the Gimme Gimmes serves up a reliably good time, no matter what the lineup at any given time. It’s all in good fun, though there was an early oof moment when Slawson joked about John Denver’s skills as a helicopter pilot (Denver died when the home-made aircraft he was flying crashed. The National Transportation Safety Board determined the crash to pilot errors). Aside from that, the band members play with an earnestness rather than a mocking spirit underneath the levity. They seem to be enjoying this insouciant break from their “day jobs.” The crowd was all for it and left asking for more.
The Black Tones, on its first national tour, got the show started in a big way. The duo, comprised of Eva Walker on vocals and guitar, and her twin brother Cedric Walker on drums and vocals, have built a devoted fan base in the state of Washington. The Seattle duo’s hit song, “The Key Of Black (They Want Us Dead)” speaks to police brutality fueled by racism.The name of the Walkers’ first album, Cobain & Cornbread, is a nod to both their hometown of the Emerald City, and their family’s southern roots in Louisiana.
On stage, joined by family as back-up musicians and singers they soared. Eva Walker is both an indefatigable shredder and a dynamic vocalist. Cedric Walker is a thunderous drummer, every bash complementing his sister’s swaggering stage presence. With songs like “Mr. Pink,” “Ghetto Spaceship,” and “Mama, There’s A Spider In My Room,” this band will continue to knock the socks off of those lucky enough to see them in the future.
In the middle slot of the evening were the rising stars in Son Rompe Pera. The band, like The Black Tones, is led by siblings. The three brothers Gama: The two Marimberos/Vocalists, Mongo and Kacho, and percussionist/vocalist Kilos. The family is from Naucalpan de Juárezon the outskirts of Mexico City. They are joined in Son Rompe Pera by Raul Albarrán on bass and Albarrán’s cousin, Richi López on drums. The band has played nearly every size of music venue, and was interviewed by National Public Radio. They were also featured in a video for NPR’s Tiny Desk Sessions, On this Windy City Saturday night, Son Rompe Pera buoyantly showcased its sound which is traditional marimba music and cumbia fused with garage punk and psychobilly. Marimberos Kacho’s and Mongo’s synchronized rapid fire banging of their mallets across their marimbas, whilst furiously dancing, building momentum, caused them to appear breathless as they hit the crescendos. Those moments elicited gasps from the crowd followed by roaring cheers. Son Rompe Pera did not just warm up the crowd for the headliners, Instead, it was introducing to many of the Me First and the Gimme Gimmes fans a piece of the members’ heritages and family traditions. In the process, they were also garnering new fans of their music and of the marimba and cumbia.
See below for more photos from the show!
Hello, and welcome to the latest installment of the Dying Scene Record Radar! If it’s your first time joining us, thank you! This is a weekly column where we cover all things punk rock vinyl. So kick off your shoes, pull up a chair, grab a few beers, and break out those wallets, because it’s time to run through this week’s new releases and reissues. Let’s get into it!
Pulley‘s 1999 self-titled record got reissued a few years ago by Spanish indie label La Agonía de Vivir. It was limited to 500 copies, and it sold out pretty fuckin’ quick. Good news! If you missed out on the first run, they’ve repressed the record once again, with 200 copies on grey colored vinyl, and 300 on black vinyl. Go here to grab it, or don’t and regret it forever (or until they repress it again).
The Clash‘s iconic self-titled debut album is getting repressed on some purdy hot pink wax in honor of “National Album Day”. This is the first time I’ve been alerted to this holiday’s existence, I guess it’s some Bri’ish thing, innit? Amazon seems to be the cheapest place to get this one, and even then it’ll cost you 40 god damn freedom dollars!
Sorry if I sound like a broken record complaining about prices, but holy fuck! The thousand dollar tickets to Blink-182‘s upcoming “reunion tour” aren’t the only thing that’s pricey. Their new record – their first with Tom DeLonge since 2011’s Neighborhoods – is $37 fucking dollars!!! Holy Christ my brothers. Check out the first single below (it blows ass in my humble opinion, but you’re free to form your own opinion), and buy the record here if you want.
In case you didn’t know, Green Day‘s Nimrod is another record that turns 25 years old this year! They’re going all out for the album’s birthday, with a 5xLP box set featuring previously unreleased demos (check one out below!) and a live album recorded on their 1997 tour in support of Nimrod (there’s a poster and some other shit, too). Save some money by grabbing this one from our friends at 1-2-3-4 Go! Records – they have free shipping on orders over $75 and this box set clears that hurdle by a fair margin. Get it here.
Masked Intruder‘s sophomore album M.I. is back in print on colored vinyl thanks to the good people at Fat Wreck Chords. What color? I have no clue! The people at Fat are a secretive bunch. But hey, if you want this, or your a collector nerd and want the new variant regardless, you can acquire it here.
Here’s an upcoming release I’m personally very excited about. It’s an LP from Wrong Life featuring their first two EPs and some new bonus tracks. If you’re unfamiliar, this is former Murderburgers frontman Fraser’s current project (they were included in our Ten Underrated Bands feature a few months ago!). I highly recommend giving this a listen below, and grabbing the LP here (US), or here (EU).
Remember last week when we brought you the breaking news(!!!) that NOFX‘s So Long and Thanks for All the Shoes had a 25th Anniversary reissue on the way? Of course you do! Anyway, Epitaph still hasn’t officially announced this thing, but it seems a few retailers have jumped the gun and launched their pre-orders early. Loud Pizza Records has the US indie exclusive “Neapolitan Striped” variant listed on their webstore, and Danish retailer imusic.co has a brown color variant on their online store. Stay tuned for more!
RECORD OF THE WEEK!
We here at Dying Scene are all about trying new things, so this week I’m challenging you, loyal reader, to listen to something new! Or, in this case, something kinda old that is likely new to you! This week’s Record of the Week comes from my favorite hometown ska band Victims of Circumstance. These guys have released many albums – five to be exact – but 2011’s Acupunkture is the only one to receive a vinyl release. Coincidentally, this is also one of my all-time favorite ska-punk albums (it’s right up there with Less Than Jake‘s Losing Streak), and for the asking price of just $12 it’s a fucking steal. Buy this record!!!
And that’s all, folks! Another Record Radar in the books. As always, thank you for tuning in. If there’s anything we missed (highly likely), or if you want to let everyone know about a new/upcoming vinyl release you’re excited about, send us a message on Facebook or Instagram, and we’ll look into it. Enjoy your weekend, and don’t blow too much money on spinny discs. See ya next week!
Wanna catch up on all of our Record Radar posts? Type “Record Radar” in the search bar at the top of the page!
Photos and Story by Meredith Goldberg
One of the final installments of the Dying Scene’s “Resurrection” shows took place on Saturday, June 18, at Liar’s Club, in Chicago, IL. Herb Rosen, Liar’s Club owner and a founding member of Chicago legends Rights of the Accused, offered up the venue for the party. He included the whole door and a percentage of the bar, even some gift certificates. Bar manager, Gary Kessler, and his crew helped ensure attendees had a good time between sets.
To kick things off, a raffle was held with Liar’s Club denizens and others offering up gift certificates and services from their businesses, which included Twisted Scissors, Citizen Skate Shop, Joker’s Cajun Smokehouse and a two hour photo session with yours truly. The bands on the bill donated merchandise along with their sets. A few others brought miscellaneous items for the raffle. Said raffle ended up very successful as to funds raised. However, partygoers seemed much more interested in donating via raffle along with the nominal cover charge. It took a while to get the prizes doled out due to winning actually being beside the point to those who participated. In fact, it seemed that many people took this break between the third and four to sit on, and by, the iconic front stoop right outside Liar’s Club.
Four very popular punk bands from Chicago immediately jumped on opportunity to help a publication that has covered them. One band did have to drop out due to unforeseen circumstances. Good thing a visit to one of the top skate parks in the city happened because this is how B.R.O.K.E. caught our eyes. Barely had the offer of the set been uttered before the members said yes.
Chicago’s veteran blue collar stalwarts Squared Off, led by its founder Jo “Hoser” Villa, kicked off the night with a hard charging set of both older and more recent tunes. The band ended their time on stage with a raucous cover of Stiff Little Fingers’ Suspect Device.
Voice of Addiction was up next. Ian Tomele, founding member of VoA, also helped with some of the logistics of the night, with his experience organizing and promoting shows being of great help. The VoA trio was very enthusiastically welcomed back to their first set at Liar’s since 2019. The band spoke of its new record, news which was excitedly received.
Aweful was the penultimate set of the evening and the trio was on fire per usual. Drummer Izzy Price added a dollop of sweetness to the sassiness by asking the crowd and his bandmates, guitarist Lucy DeKay (also of Mystery Actions), and Traci Trouble, lead vocals/bass, to join him in wishing his girlfriend Erin a very Happy Birthday. All obliged the shiny purple hot pants wearing drummer.
B.R.O.K.E. ripped through its set. One that was full of humorous and catchy tunes. A song with a reference to disgraced actor Armie Hammer wanting to eat people elicited laughs. This type of very dark, verging on gallows, ripped from the headlines, humor is embedded in the band.
Liar’s Club stands up for so many in its community. On this night it stood up for those who cover the tight-knit punk rock community in Chicago. In doing this, it lent a hand for Dying Scene to cover punk rock communities from massive to miniscule, in Chicago and across the United States.
Check out more photos in the gallery below!
*If you’re interested in donating to our cause but couldn’t make it out to one of our shows, you can send your extra dollars and cents to paypal.me/dyingscene!