Senses Fail and Silverstein Deliver a Rad Post-Hardcore Show in the Present at Observatory

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Taylor Morgan
Buddy Nielson of Senses Fail salutes the sky.
Senses Fail and Silverstein
The Observatory

On Saturday night, Senses Fail and Silverstein performed at The Observatory. The co-headling, post-hardcore, bands are a quarter into their tour and show no sign of losing steam. It seems fitting that the two are touring together because they share a similar threading, not only in fan base but also smart lyricism and catchy songs that contemplate the world that surrounds them. Their savage vocal delivery makes for an ever more moving and invigorating show. This vocal range is impressive enough when needle and vinyl dance, but hearing lead singer James "Buddy" Nielson of Senses Fail and Shane Told of Silverstein, perform their tracks live for over an hour is awe-inspiring.

Just after 7p.m., San Diego based band Capsize walked onto a foggy stage. The lead singer, Daniel Wand pointed to the mosh-pit and said, "fuck it up!" Fellow band members, in skinny jeans did karate kick jumps in the air with their guitars. Soon Hundredth, a melodic hardcore band from South Carolina were instructing the audience to "wake the fuck up" and my heart began to thump a bit faster. Just before Silverstein took the stage, the audience collectively belted Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody" with lighters in the air and whisky on their tongues. Before long the Ontario based band, named after the children's book author Shel Silverstein, addressed the crowd.

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The Skinny Puppy Cult is Alive and Well!

Skinny Puppy's Ogre and Matthew Setzer perform at The Observatory. Photo by Scott Feinblatt
Skinny Puppy
The Observatory

Twenty-something, dreadlocked neophytes from San Juan Capistrano and white-haired, long-time fans from San Jose made the pilgrimage to the Observatory in order to experience the final stop on Skinny Puppy's Down the Sociopath tour. As most any Puppy fan will confirm, there's no such thing as a bad Skinny Puppy show; even unsuspecting venue employees, whether they like the music or not, will admit that the band's stage shows are uniquely mystifying, and for Saturday night's performance, the dog was in top form.

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The 10 Best UK Punk Bands

Categories: Punk as Fuck

John Gilhooley
The Adicts
Punk rock music is said to have more than one origin. Of course, we think of cities like New York, Los Angeles, Seattle and San Francisco. But, the UK is also known to have been a hotbed for punk music and culture when the genre was still forming. Many younger people in the late '70s/early '80s living in blue collar towns in England, Scotland and Ireland became disenfranchised from society. It is these sentiments of alienation, anger and frustration with organized religion, and a corrupt political form of government, plus the dead ends of the working class and youthful rebellion that forged the birth of punk in the UK. In our eyes, there's a group of bands who embody the true ferocity and spirit of the country's punk roots. We now present out our list of The 10 Best UK punk bands.

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PUP Learn the Fine Art of Maturing in the Punk Game

Categories: Punk as Fuck

Yoshi Cooper
Obviously PUP still need some house training
Way back in 2014, PUP had just released their self-titled debut ahead of an extensive tour that saw them play two sets at the Fest in Gainesville, Florida. That performance went well, but it was nothing compared to the raucous ovation they received at this year's event. The Toronto natives' set was not only one of the most eagerly anticipated of the weekend, but it was also one of the most ferocious. Playing to a much bigger crowd in a prime slot, PUP saw firsthand how quickly the buzz around their sound and show could grow. The crowd was as intense and into the music as any show they've played thus far.

Zack Mykula, Nestor Chumak, Steve Sladkowski and Stefan Babcock have known one another since elementary school and started playing music together at a young age. It took until 2012 for the quartet, which was formerly called Topanga after one of the lead characters of the TV show Boy Meets World before changing to PUP after Disney launched a spin-off, the ingeniously titled Girl Meets World. A mere four days after they submitted their demos to a label, PUP were offered a major tour slot and the members decided to quit their day jobs and make music their top priority.

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It's Not Dead Festival Stays Punk as Fuck and Survives the Heat

Courtesy of Eran Ryan
NOFX might've been the best part of It's Not Dead Fest, but everyone has a different favorite.
It's Not Dead Festival
San Manuel Amphitheatre

It's Not Dead Festival (INDF) promised to bring one of the biggest and best days of punk rock SoCal has ever seen. The lineup contained so many punk legends from the last few decades spread across three stages that there was no chance of seeing all of them, no matter how hard you tried.

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Five Reasons to Go to It's Not Dead Fest

Categories: Punk as Fuck

Taken from the OC Weekly archives
The Adolescents, OC punk royalty.
With Taste of Chaos happening tomorrow (10/3) and It's Not Dead Fest going on next Saturday (10/10), you may be wondering whether or not it's worth it to drive all the way to San Bernardino for two straight Saturdays in a row.

Since it's a little late to convince you to go to Taste of Chaos (you can't change your nonexistent plans on 24 hours notice), here are five reasons you should at least go to It's Not Dead Fest (INDF).

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The Hi-Fi Rockfest Dials up the Punk Oldies at the Queen Mary

Naked Raygun performs at Hi-Fi Rockfest in Long Beach. Photo by Scott Feinblatt
Hi-Fi Rockfest
Queen Mary

Coming straight out of the gates of Hell, the Hi-Fi Rockfest brought several old school rock and punk bands -- or, more accurately, various members from old school punk bands -- to the shores of Long Beach to perform for a day in the shadow of the Queen Mary cruise ship. Over the course of 12 hours, 11 bands entertained a fairly modest sized crowd with their high energy performances. The name in the headline position of the festival's banner was Dead Kennedys, but there were many influential bands and musicians in attendance which collectively forged a terrific day of music.

Some of the bands built from various members of vintage acts included: Luicidal, which was formed by Louiche Mayorga and R.J. Herrera (respectively, the bassist and drummer from Suicidal Tendencies); Year of the Dragon, featuring "Dirty" Walter A. Kibby II (vocalist / trumpet player from Fishbone); and Dirty Filthy Mugs, which is fronted by vocalist Matt Wedgley (former vocalist for Viva Hate and The Force). These bands, as well as The Two Tens, Downtown Brown, and True Rivals, performed 30 minute sets during the first half of the day. Following that, the allotted set times increased commensurate with the star power of the performers and the band names.

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MELTED and The Originalites Rock Out at a Green Party Rally

The Originalites perform at Calling All Rebels. Photo by Scott Feinblatt
MELTED and The Originalites
Delhi Center

Music and politics have always made strange bedfellows. A song can often function as a political tool via its reflection of social and political events. However, when it is used as a symbol for an ideology, things start to get muddy; artists and their messages are sometimes used to market something which may be totally alien to their personal philosophies or to the intentions behind their messages -- take, for example, the recent fiasco with Survivor's "Eye of the Tiger" at the Kim Davis rally. Furthermore, it was somewhat ironic that local punk rock band MELTED and reggae rock troupe The Originalites performed at a Green party rally since neither one of them has ever been painted as a political band.

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Social Distortion Breaks Out Hits, Covers, and Life Lessons at the Observatory

John Gilhooley
Social Distortion

It shouldn't be much of a surprise that the crowd at Social Distortion's 3-nights-in-four-days run at the Observatory (broken up by Travis Scott on Monday) brought out a lot of what OC has to offer. Considering that the self-titled album being celebrated/performed may be one of the most important albums in OC music history, you would think the shows should bring all types of the area's music fans to the Santa Ana venue. You'd be right.

From 16-year-old punk kids to 60-year-old tattooed ladies, cholos in their plaid workshirts to soul patch-wearing former frat boys who would fit in better at a Dave Matthews Band concert, all walks of OC life stood shoulder-to-shoulder on Tuesday night (and Sunday night, but that's a story for a different time) to watch Mike Ness sing a bunch of 25-year-old tunes.

See also: Mike Ness Looks Back, Focusing on the Past of Social Distortion

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Long Beach Psyclone Festival Was a Slice of Rockabilly Heaven

Photo of Inazuma by Scott Feinblatt
Long Beach Psyclone Weekender
Sea Port Marina Hotel

There is easily enough of a contingent of psychobilly fans throughout SoCal to keep festivals like Long Beach Psyclone rockin' and a rollin' all night long. As it was, the psychobilly and rockabilly music festival only lasted until 2 a.m.; however, since the fest lasted for four days, one could say that it evened out in the end.

Each day of the 4th annual Long Beach Psyclone weekender began at sundown. There were brunches, barbecues, and pool parties with the bands (featuring several performances) and a Big Red Bus tour as well, which this reviewer unfortunately missed out on. However, gauging from Friday night at the Seaport Marina Hotel, where the festival was held, organizer Brando Von Badsville and his co-promoter, Jose Noriega, have established a solid event, which featured an impressive cross-section of bands from around the world.

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