Posts Tagged ‘Christmas Formal’

No matter the time of the year, punk rock never stops, regardless of any holidays. The Vandals prove that fact every year with their annual Christmas Formal, now in its 18th year running. Taking place last Friday night at House of Blues at Downtown Disney in Anaheim, this year’s show followed in the footsteps of last year’s show that featured The Gears and Indian School as the openers, as this year’s show hosted GOGO13 and Knock Out as the openers. As one of the few bands, if not the only band, that dedicate a show entirely to Christmas, punk rock fans always look forward to this show every year to bring holiday cheer and delights to everyone present, whether they like The Vandals or not. After all, some fans honestly attend certain shows for a band other than the headliner, so kudos to them for still showing support for the rest of the community. At least for The Vandals, everyone present at this show went nuts for their beloved Christmas punk rock music.

I had arrived after Knock Out finished their set, so I unfortunately could not witness any of their music. I did manage to snake my way in to the front of the pit in time for GOGO13, a local ska band that I had missed out on multiple times earlier this year. As anticipated, a skanking pit initiated not too long after GOGO13 started their set, which slowly evolved into a standard circle pit, punk rock style. The kids in the pit apparently forgot about the skanking part, and just slammed into any visible person. This kept up for the remainder of GOGO13’s set, which included plenty of original songs and the occasional cover song.

Christmas cheer caught on with a lot of the audience members like a contagion, with little to no angst detected within the venue. That all went to the gutter the moment the lights turned off, as all audience members present immediately rushed to the front of the stage to throw their bodies at The Vandals. Sporting red tops with their band roles printed across the front, the audience could not wait for the first song to drop, as the pit enraged from the get-go, despite The Vandals playing their Christmas album songs out of order. No one seemed to mind – they just raged and shuffled as long as they could hear music running. The Vandals finished playing Christmas songs quite early in their set, and resorted to taking requests from audience members, which included It’s A Fact and Anarchy Burger. The Vandals made their bluffing exit quite early in the night as well, as they had not played some of their anticipated songs like My Girlfriend’s Dead or especially Oi To The World. Nobody fell for their exit, and remained put for the eventual encore, which lasted a lot longer than normal encores. I suppose that The Vandals do not follow conventional means when it comes to putting on shows, so encore rules do not apply to them. The alleged encore started with guitarist Warren Fitzgerald’s soliloquy, which he always performs at every show at the end of the show. Once the rest of the band regrouped, they finished off their set, finally playing their hits My Girlfriend’s Dead and Oi To The World.

We never know when The Vandals will play next! Make sure you Like their page on Facebook and follow them on Twitter for all the latest updates direct from the band. You may even discover a contest that may allow you to win tickets to an upcoming show, so pay attention daily!

Returning for their 17th year, The Vandals brought back their annual Christmas Formal show this past weekend at House of Blues in Anaheim and Hollywood. As one of the few punk bands to record an entire album based on Christmas music, it only feels natural to host a show around Christmas time and play Christmas music. This annual tradition now draws crowds from far and wide to partake in the merry festivities of a Vandals show, mosh pit and all.

This year, the show ran two consecutive nights, each with a different set of opening bands. I attended Friday night, where Indian School (formerly Audio Karate) and The Gears opened the show, while The Implants and Angry Samoans opened on Saturday night.

Indian School kicked off the show first with their 30-minute set. Formerly called Audio Karate, they recently changed their band name for reasons unknown. Since I found out about Audio Karate, I had not heard anything from them in many years until now. Indian School seems to have mellowed out a lot from their older faster songs. However, they still know how to rock the stage, and kept the momentum up the entire time.

The Gears set off next in the night, playing their classic fast-paced punk rock music. The Gears represent living proof of “Once a punk, always a punk,” showing that age means nothing when it comes to rocking out.

When the venue finally opened the curtains for The Vandals, the entire room rushed forward to greet them. The Vandals performed their entire Christmas album from start to finish for this show. The utter chaos in the pit meant little as The Vandals went on with their totally unrehearsed show. Each band member got at least one turn on the mic for a song, but no one expected to see Stan Freese, drummer Josh Freese’s father, walk out on stage as a tuba-playing punk rock Santa Claus. Forget banjos and whistles – only one band would ever dare to bring out the tuba and call it punk rock, and yes he actually played punk music on that tuba. At the end of their set, they all returned for a jam session encore while Warren, the guitarist in red, contemplated life and the so-called end of the world, just to fill the time until just before midnight when they finally took their bow and closed the night.

The Vandals prove once again that punk rock does not have only one sound. Their style of unrehearsed madness translated well into the punk rock culture, and has remained iconic in the punk rock world. Stay tuned for the next Vandals show by following them on Facebook or Twitter, and you will not regret the show you will go to see!

OC Wellness Day & Free Bootcamp
8:15 pm – 10:30 pm, December 17
Dance Pavilion, Anaheim

Get a FREE bootcamp-style workout at Dance Pavilion on Lincoln & Western. Sign-in begins at 8:15, and the session begins at 8:30. Guests may receive free fitness goodies and health evaluations. The organizer strongly requests a $5 donation to cover the rental fee of the venue.

Holiday Do Good Bus
1:00 pm – 7:00 pm, December 18
Scoops, Los Angeles

Ride on this bus and travel around to do good work for the local community. This holiday bus ride will focus on helping children. The $25 fee covers the bus fee and dinner.

The Vandals 17th Annual Christmas Formal
7:00 pm – 12:00 am, December 21-22
House of Blues Anaheim, December 21
House of Blues Hollywood, December 22

The Vandals headline their annual Christmas show at the House of Blues in Anaheim and Hollywood. On Friday, The Gears and Indian School will open. On Saturday, The Angry Samoans and The Implants will open. Tickets cost $16.50 presale and $18 at the door.