Punk rock knows no boundaries! A night of good ol’ punk rock tore it up in Baldwin Park last Friday night, with D.I. headlining a show with Yeastie Boys, Destruction Made Simple, and more. In addition to the bands, a few merchandise vendors showed up to sell music-related paraphernalia, such as records or personal accessories. This all-ages show cost only $10, and unlike how I mentioned last week, the venue allowed ins-and-outs, meaning attendees could easily leave to buy food or drinks to bring back. Although they had a bar, they only served generic drinks, while a liquor store across the street sold a few craft beers that cost less than the venue relative to the drink portion. All of the night’s bands played a good hard set of punk rock, with no real surprises other than a good time rocking out to the night’s talent.
Gritos Enfadosos opened the night with their set of punk rock all in Spanish. As a local band with little exposure, they played a typical street punk set, sounding like a high school garage band. Surprisingly, all members of the band shared equal time on the mic, including the “stage hand” that did not play any instruments. As a result, Gritos Enfadosos has no official lead vocalist, since all of them contribute equally. Halfway through their 20-minute set, a girl from the audience joined them on stage, and she provided vocals for a few of the songs. Just like the guys, she also screamed her head off singing into the mic. For these guys, adding some instrumental variety can help them go far in the music industry.
Hailing from the San Gabriel Valley came Blank Expressions playing second in the night. This female-fronted punk rock band garnered a lot of attention from the audience, which anyone would expect in a genre dominated by males. When you think about who listens to punk rock, without a doubt, guys outnumber the gals on this one. Whenever a female-fronted punk rock band does roll around, I make it a priority to attend their show. After a few songs into the Blank Expressions set, I started to pick up hints of other genres. Blank Expressions did not play traditional punk rock, but they added a hint of pop and a dash of folk music. Some could call their music nu-punk, since their sound does not resemble many other existing bands. Blank Expressions exhibited their experience in the music industry at this show, and they proved that they will not disappear any time soon, which means you can catch them performing again very soon, as soon as in a week and a half.
The last of the night’s openers, Hollywood Hate, started their set to an eager crowd. The audience could not wait to get down and dirty for their favorite underground punk rock band. Playing a strong 30-minute set, Hollywood Hate’s relentlessly fast punk rock music stirred up the crowd into a frenzy in the pit. Perhaps the crowd expended too much energy during the set, as the crowd started wide, then fizzled down to one or two guys when Hollywood Hate had about ten minutes left in their set to go. At this point, the children present got into it in the pit. With the bulk of the pit gone, the little ones could mess around to their hearts’ content within the bubble of their own pit. Hollywood Hate always plays a solid set wherever they go, and they delivered another killer performance to Baldwin Park on this night.
The first sub-headliner of the night, Destruction Made Simple, took to the stage next. In the photos below, you may notice guitarist Andy sitting down. The band had played an East LA backyard show the week prior, and at some point in the night, Andy sprained his ankle. Destruction Made Simple still delivered a badass show, and in fact, this may have improved Andy’s live performance, since this prevents him from bouncing around the entire time and roots him in place so he can focus 100% of his efforts on the guitar. The crowd may have taken notice too, as the pit raged on during the entire set and never let up. From start to finish, Destruction Made Simple’s street punk set pounded out hard and fast sounds, enough to resuscitate even zombies. They still bear the power and stamina that they possessed all the way back in 2000 when they first started in the San Gabriel Valley. Due to Andy’s injury, the band will not play any shows until late July, so keep an eye out for an announcement on their Facebook page when the time approaches.
Once the next sub-headliner, Yeastie Boys, entered the room, the party immediately started, despite the band still needing some tune-ups required to perform. This clown-themed punk rock band from Costa Mesa travels with clown get-ups, toys, dancers, and more as they rock out with their original songs plus various covers of songs throughout time. Once they got started, the crowd erupted into a room-wide pit, complete with all the toys the band members had thrown around earlier, such as beach balls, balloons, confetti, tape rollers, party poppers, inflatables, and more. While everyone in the pit enjoyed the festivities, the little ones had exhausted much of their energy by now, as some of them had fallen asleep on the side of the room. True to their core, the parents stayed in the room all night for their love of punk rock (and of the last band).
While the night’s headliner, D.I., continued to set up, vocalist Casey Royer delighted the crowd with his trademark random conversations on the mic. No one could really understand what he spoke about or why, but everyone went along with it anyways. The audience really should learn to manage their energy a lot better, as D.I. did not receive as large a pit as Yeastie Boys got. If you have attended a D.I. show within the past year, you would not miss much at this show. D.I. always plays a tremendous show of classic punk rock, but their set list has remained largely stagnant in many of their shows in the past year. Although predictable, everyone loved all the songs D.I. played, and sang along to almost every song. I ended up on the receiving end of a boot to my chest/rib after getting pushed down in the pit, and I saw another guy intentionally kick me too! He did not just run into me – he wound up his leg and swung right for me. With this, D.I. proves that punk rock never died.
You can catch plenty of great punk rock shows in the upcoming weeks! Check out my blog every Monday for a post containing all of the week’s upcoming events. You may also directly contact me on Twitter or Facebook asking about future events.