of them went to college, some got jobs, some got married, some moved
away. Some of them came back, perhaps hesitantly, to the place where
it all started. So when the Kids of the Black Hole reunited in Orange
County at the Galaxy Theatre in Santa Ana Saturday night (11/24)
for the 20th anniversary of the Adolescents "Blue" album, it had
all the earmarks of a high school reunion, replete with the usual
elements of curiosity ("I can't believe he looks so old!") coupled
with surprise ("I haven't seen you forever!"). A general delight
at being alive and well enough to tell the tale gave the crowd,
many of whom remembered when the album came out, a sense of entitlement,
of comfortable righteousness in their middle aged punkdom, even
in the face of the younger audience who weren't even born when the
album came out on Frontier Records in 1981.
[ Jen: The Abductors opened the evening and CH3 was the second
on the line up. As we arrived, Channel
3 had just started their set, we rushed up front so I could
take photos. CH3 played one of the best sets that I have seen them
do in years, and the crowd of kids and not-really-kids-anymore yelled
out for favorite songs, one skin was persistently requesting a song
and Mike Magrann had to tell him that they already played the song.
I kept yelling out for Manzanar and Double Standard, and happily
the CH3 guys played furiously away. Visually the best part of the
set was the middle aged mohawked confused individual who sat on
the drum riser... Rather than going on, check out our interivew
with Channel 3.]
Adolescents got right into it with the hard-hitting anthem, "Kids
of the Black Hole," leaving no doubt that the band sounded just
as good (if not better) 20 years later. The band then ripped through
most of the songs on the "Blue" album with "Who is Who", "L.A. Girl,"
"No Way," "Word Attack," "Rip It Up," "Wrecking Crew," and "Creatures,"
adding gems like "Welcome to Reality" and "Brats in Battalions"
from the Brats in Battalions release. Yes, the band looks older
(except Frank, who never ages), and yes, they are middle-aged punk
rockers (proud papa Rikk even turned to his young daughter side
stage and let her strum the guitar during his solos), but that doesn't
minimize the fact that the Adolescents wrote some of the strongest,
most melodic power punk years before bands like Green Day were even
Ask the kids with their faces pressed against the barricade, glassy-eyed
and staring past the stony-faced security goons - they don't need
to tell you what good punk rock is - they've got their fists pumping
in the air and they know all the words to songs that were written
before they were born. "Those guys are old dudes," they might be
thinking to themselves, "but those songs rock!"
band closed with "Amoeba," which drove the crowd wild and turned
the rather mild pit into a seething frenzy, pushing the security
past their capacity for reason. At one point, a red-haired mohawked
kid jumped from the audience and grabbed bassist Steve Soto around
the throat to take control of the mic - security dogpiled him and
the resulting mayhem stopped the show for a few moments. A mop-topped
Tony Cadena strutted around the stage, whining, "c'mon man, they
just wanna sing..." and reminding everyone that this was "just like
the Doll Hut" where their ill-fated reunion was stopped by overzealous
fans who mobbed the band and tore down the ceiling.
Yes, the Kids of the Black Hole might be a little older and worse
for the wear, and the band that once sang "I Hate Children" now
have quite a few of their own, but as the song says, "If it wasn't
for O.C. your scene wouldn't be alive." Truer words were never written.