|Tony Adolescent and Tim Napalm: Survivors of the 1998 Adz/Hormones Tour Of Texas! (Photo snapped by someone backstage at Scoot Inn on my phone.)|
Live review: The adolescents
Wed., mar. 13Th, Scoot inn, Austin, Tx.
(Yeah, it's a bit late. What the fuck...?)
The crowd's rather thick, and so's the air, bearing the heat 'n' humidity more befitting Austin in July than during SXSW. A young idiot two humans to my left unzips his worn Hot Topic black stretch jeans, pulls out his plug, and begins hydrating the concrete and every leg within splashing range with his whizz. A big OC-circa-1981-looking bruiser roughly my age grabs the uncouth youth and begins administring an instant ettiquette lesson with fists and boots, screaming about what a jackass he is, then hurls him out of the crowd and into the arms of security.
The bruiser turns around, sees me, and grins, “Whoa! You're Tim Napalm from The Hormones! I love your band!”
Three songs later, Adolescents singer Tony Brandenberg yells from the stage, “Is Tim Stegall still here? I though I saw him earlier...? Oh, there you are! Hey, Tim!” And straight into “Amoeba....”
It's 2013, and The Adolescents still stand tall and proud. There's no longer an Agnew to be found among the six string section, but the current manners of the Gibsons (whose names escape me) handle the crunch and octave runs beautifully. It almost doesn't matter: If Tony and bassist Steve Soto are on the stage, it's gonna be The Adolescents up there, and they're gonna be great. This is loud, proud, vintage punk rock at its tightest and most powerful. The blue album classics are so tuneful and brilliantly constructed, they never grow moss, always sounding amazing whatever year they're being played. And any new noise The Adolescents conjure will rock just as hard. And they're gonna play hard, with passion, ferocity, and commitment.
But it's 2013, and Tony B. is a school teacher when he's not an Adolescent. And he and the band flew in especially for this Converse and Thrasher co-sponsored SXSW day party, were raging through their set, and were to be back at the airport in a matter of hours, whereupon Tony would be up a few hours after that to take his class on a field trip. Adulthood does not stop, even when you're perpetually Adolescent....
There's those who would sneer at all this, sneer at the idea of a classic punk band playing the hits for a perpetually moshing crowd of umpteenth generation punks not even born when these songs were new. Fuck 'em. Punk did change the world, in a very small but still significant manner. Punk created a world within The World in which we can go wild and think and live differently. It became modern, urban, electric folk music, a sphere within which raw, honest expression can live and breathe, where musicians of resilience and power can be working musicians making some semblance of a living out of screaming out their pain and world view. What is so wrong with that? No, it's no longer The Revolution. But we won it, even if the rest of the world doesn't see it that way. And as long as it still affords a place for a band as great as The Adolescents to live and breathe and thrive, I'm all for it. It's enough for me.