January 3rd, 1997
You know, I could have gone to a formal on New Years Eve and worn a tuxedo. Instead I chose to go hang out with a bunch of sweaty, smelly, crazy punks at the Soma all ages New Years Bash. There were more 12-15 year olds here than in a pedophiles’ picture drawer. It turned out to be a pretty cool evening though. It’s cool that there is a venue like Soma willing to support an all ages scene. Certain club owners shouldn’t try to monopolize on the all ages scene though. BUT ANYWAY…
The show was held at the Sports Arena in sunny happy San Diego. Fifteen bucks for nineteen bands is a good deal any day. Most of the bands were worth it. There were two stages in the main arena and a lounge stage in the 21 and up Arena Club. In the main area, a band would play on one stage for about a half hour while another setup on the opposite stage across the arena. Between sets, everybody would move from stage to stage. If you were sitting in the seats, you would turn your head like you were watching a tennis match were the ball got hit by each side every half hour. The only problem was that you generally had no idea who was playing when. Posted schedules were hard to find. Some sort of flier that was handed out would have been a much better idea.
The sound in the arena was not too bad surprisingly. Some times the Sports Arena is an acoustic nightmare. It was a good idea to blow the sound out of speakers on both sides of the arena floor each time a band played on either stage. This compensated for any echo that might have existed.
It was definitely a ska/punk flavored evening. I guess you could call it a spunk show. HA HA HA. Very funny. Nineteen bands played including: No Doubt, Lagwagon, Vandals, Guttermouth, Voodoo Glow Skulls, Dance Hall Crashers, Buck O Nine, Unwritten Law, Blink-182, Sprung Monkey, fluf, Possum Dixon, Deadbolt, Sack Lunch, Dryve, Ghoulspoon, Swindle, Diablo 44, and Dry Socket.
I showed up late, and caught the last couple songs of fluf’s set, including my favorite fluf song “24-7 Years”. It wasn’t a total loss. During “24-7 Years” fluf’s singer O, instructed the members of the pit on how to dance to the song. “O.k., this is a slow part so move around slow. The punk rock part is coming up soon.”
Sprung Monkey played soon after. These guys remind me of the bastard sons of Rage Against the Machine and Faith No More. Apparently Ghoulspoon played sometime that night too. See either one. They might as well be the same band. Actually, Sprung Monkey played some new stuff that wasn’t too bad. Dance Hall Crashers got the crowd going after the earlier bands had merely warmed the crowd up. Crashers are a good ska band from Berkeley that are much better live than on record. The cool thing about these guys is that they have two very cool, very energetic and very cute female singers. They run around and hop up and down and the one girl spins her pony tails like a couple of tassels on a strippers’ breasts. I was interested to notice that the lead singer from No Doubt was hanging out and watching her ska competition while she spoke with some fans.
Blink-182 took the stage soon after. These guys are complete rip offs of the Vandals. They played their hit “M&M’s” off their first album “Cheshire Cat”, which actually isn’t too bad. They also bragged how they had just toured Australia with Pennywise and how Pennywise had paid for everything. Hey that’s great. No Doubt was popular with the crowd. They played an energetic set that included stuff of their new album like “Excuse Me Mr.” and “I’m Just a Girl”. The lead singer of No Doubt has a lot of energy. She DOES remind me of a little girl. If she ever needs a baby sitter, I’ll be there.
Buck O Nine, also a crowd favorite, continued the ska assault. These guys kick ass. They are a bunch of whacky, crazy, kooky guys. The crowd really dug ‘ em. They played stuff off their first two albums and their new e.p. “Water in My Head”. good music to pogo too. If you like horns, see these guys!
The Vandals nearly blew the other punk bands out of the place. These guys were one of the original 80’s California punk bands. The Vandals singer made a comment that they were being sued by Blink-182. Some people got the joke. We can tell an original from a fake. At one point on of the guys from Blink came out on stage, much to the chagrin of the Vandals. They weren’t too happy when one of the members from Pennywise came out either. The Vandals played a great set, punctuated by old stuff like “Pat Brown”, “Anarchy Burger”, and “Urban Struggle”.
One of San Diego’s more outstanding punk bands, Unwritten Law, also stood out. These guys used to be a heavy metal band and then decided they really wanted to sound like Green Day and Bad Religion mixed together. They are great live though. It was interesting to see the crowd gathered around the sides and back of the stage watching these guys. Their sets was topped off by “World War III”, and “Superficial Society”.
Another solid punk set was delivered by Guttermouth. I’d seen these guys before and wasn’t blown away by them. They kicked butt at this show though. The current buzz about them is justified. They tried to get a huge mosh pit started running around the whole arena but weren’t successful. Guttermouth got to count in the New Year.
I’d heard good things about the Voodoo Glow Skulls and really wanted to see them. They were just as good as I had heard. These guys are the perfect blend of ska and punk and have lots of energy. The were the best of the bands that played that I had never seen. They had a great horn section.
After the Voodoo Glow Skulls I retired to the Arena Club to see one of my favorites, Deadbolt ,who I’ve seen at least thirty times over the past few years. Harley Davidson, singer for the world’s scariest band, was just as abusive to the crowd as ever. He called punks fags, told audience members to “go get another fag haircut”, and apologized for “being drunk and hating fags”. He took a circular sander to his mic stand a couple of times, shooting sparks out into the audience. Deadbolt is fun, but it’s dangerous fun. You could lose an eye!!
Overall the Soma show went pretty well. The crowd was a little too rowdy, just like any Soma show. These kids can be dumb asses when they do things like throw shoes and lit cigarettes at people. They just don’t think about things. Slam dancing is cool but don’t force people to do it. Those little brats go pretty far when a guy like me pushes ‘em. I like to watch the expressions on their faces change.
There needs to be an underage scene and Soma fills a role. There need to be other all age clubs though. One club cannot have a monopoly over everything. This New Years show is an especially good idea because it keeps kids off the street and out of trouble. This gives them a chance to get together, see some bands, and bump into me and piss me off.
Entry Filed under: Reviews