Tag Archives: old punks

Strike Anywhere, Copyrights, Younger Years @ Ottobar Tonight

So we’re going to see Strike Anywhere at the Ottobar tonight. Sounds pretty normal, except that we’re not actually going to see Strike Anywhere. Oh we’ll stand there and watch them. We’ll probably even sing along a little. What we mean to say is that even though they’re at the top of the bill, somehow they’re not the draw. If they were playing with different openers, we’d probably sit this one out.

No mistake… Strike Anywhere is still among our favorites, and their place as one of the better punk rock bands of all time is quite secure. It’s just that, well, it’s not 1999 anymore. The last time we saw the band (with Bane in College Park, May ’09) provided a very stark contrast to the shows of 10 years ago. The energy and urgency were very much lacking, not just in their set but up and down the bill. It was one of those shows that reminds you that even the best bands can’t keep getting better, and there’s no shame in moving on.

Yeah. We wish it was 2001 again too.

So we’re actually going to see the opening acts tonight. Specifically the Copyrights and local act Younger Years.

The Copyrights are very very possibly the best pop punk band in the world right now. Think of the Bouncing Souls, Screeching Weasel, and Face to Face all rolled into one. That said, being the best pop punk band in the world in 2011 is kind of like being the world’s best ska band in 2001. It’s not that hard to do because pop punk just isn’t cool anymore and high school kids are all pretentious little fucks these days. We still like pop punk. Some of the ambient dream pop cum shoegaze cum experimental fusion cum fake-ass world music acts that pass for indie rock today could stand to learn something from bands like the Copyrights.

We’re pretty stoked to finally catch Younger Years as well. They’re not exactly a new band anymore, but somehow we’ve managed to miss all of their shows so far. We’ve been hearing good things though, and really how can you say bad things about a band that, when you hear them for the first time you say “Oh, this is a band that sounds like Kid Dynamite and None More Black.” It’s about time somebody picked up that ball and ran with it.

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Ottobar is at 2549 N Howard Street in Charles Village. Tonight’s show is 7 pm doors, all ages. A Wilhelm Scream also plays.

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White Wires, Deep Sleep @ Ottobar Upstairs Tonight

If you ask any punk in town, ‘What’s going on at the Ottobar tonight?’ they’d tell you ‘Reagan Youth, Duh.’

That’s not the right answer though. Well, It’s technically the right answer, but it’s not the best show going on in that particular bar on this particular night. We’ve already made known our feelings about old decrepit bands on this blog, and if we skipped the Buzzcocks and sat out Youth Brigade, then you can bet we don’t give a flying fuck about seeing Reagan Youth.

White Wires plays upstairs at the Ottobar tonight. Doors at 9 pm.

What we do give a fuck about seeing is the upstairs show. White Wires should be totally scene-famous right now. Like Vivian Girls or Wavves. but they’re not so much. They do okay. We think it’s because they’re Canadians. Don’t hold that against them though. You should go to the show tonight and buy their CD and then play it loudly all Summer long while you drink Natty Boh on your porch. That’s what it’s made for. If ever there was a Summertime fun band for 2011 Hampden kids, this is it.

But as well as White Wires does garage punk, we in Charm City still like to keep our garage and our punk seperate, much like our peanut butter and our chocolate. This is evidenced by the locals on tonight’s upstairs bill. Hollywood made their name by being more garaged than a ’56 Ford, and Deep Sleep’s, straight up west coast punk style is strictly street. Street parking, that is. (How’s that for not mixing a metaphor?)

So we’re gonna go see an excellent free show tonight, maybe drink some drink specials, and as a bonus, get to see what other old fucks turn up for the Reagan Youth show without actually having to sit through the Reagan Youth show.

Correction: this show is not actually free. $7 at the door.

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Ottobar is at 2549 N. Howard Street in Charles Village. Downstairs show is Doors at 7, all ages. Upstairs show is 18+ doors at 9.

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The Queers, Sick Sick Birds @ Black Cat Tonight

We’ve never been very big into the Queers. There was a point in time, early high school, when we should have been a huge Queers fan. It was all there on paper: they’ve got songs about drinking, girls, farts, pranks, the suburbs, hating school, etc, etc. When we were a 15 year old suburban terror getting kicked out of the mall, engaging in minor vandalism, trying to make out with girls in parking lots and being as misanthropic as we could before curfew we should have been really into the Queers.

We never were though. Every time someone mentioned the Queers, it was just a reminder to listen to some other band. The Dead Milkmen, NOFX, Screeching Weasel… we liked a lot of bands better than the Queers. That said, it’s not like we don’t like them at all, and these days there’s a distinct lack of lighthearted pop punk goofball music in our collection. The Queers are at least better than watching TV, and for $12 at the Black Cat backstage, it’s hard not to want to go.

The Queers play the Black Cat tonight. 8:30 doors.

Opening up tonight is Baltimore garage/punk supergroup Sick Sick Birds who we’ve recommended a bunch of times before, and who have recently been in the studio recording some new stuff. Presumably, they will be playing some of said new stuff, so if you can’t make it to DC tonight you should at least come out to their next show this Saturday at Metro Gallery. According to that link, it’s their last one before Melissa goes on maternity leave from the band. Yeah. That’s a thing that old punks do apparently. Welcome to the new reality.

Also playing tonight are Dutch punk rockers The Apers who are touring with the Queers, as well as being their Asian Man Records label-mates. These guys are another punk band that sounds fourteen and looks 40, so they ought to fit right in. Hide your patches, hide your spikes, AND hide your Docs. At the Black Cat tonight they’re punking errybody.

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Black Cat is located at 1811 14th Street NW in Washington DC. Metro accessible from green/ yellow lines to U St/ Cardozo Station.

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Grant Hart @ Black Cat Tonight

When we went to the Obits show the other day, we mentioned that sometimes we’re too cool for things, and sometimes we’re too old for things. Seldom is it both, but if you thought there was any chance at all we were going to go back there tonight and see Das Racist, well then you don’t know us too well, do you?

The cool kids may eat it up with a spoon, but nope… tonight the Chop is both too old and too cool for school. We’re staying as far away from that as possible. So far, in fact, that we’re leaving Baltimore entirely. You mixtape and DJ set types can keep your Combination Pizza Hut and Taco Bells. We’d rather listen to rock and roll.

Grant Hart plays the Black Cat tonight. 9 pm doors.

You don’t need us to tell you who Grant Hart is. Grant Hart is a fucking legend. Once or twice in a generation someone comes along and changes the game entirely… and those people are relatively unimportant. In our book, Grant Hart and Bob Mould invented the game. As far as we’re concerned, they’re right up there with Joe Strummer & Mick Jones, Keith Morris & Greg Ginn, Joey & Johnny Ramone, Brett Gurewitz & Greg Graffin, Ian MacKaye & Guy Picciotto, or Richard Hell & Tom Verlaine.

If any of those guys play within an hour of your house and you don’t go, well, you’re just not that cool. We’re saying that for the record.

Opening up tonight is Chapel Hill power-pop outfit The Venables. Just the fact that we describe them as “power pop” is a good indication that they learned everything they know from guess who… Grant Hart. Their most recent 7 song recording Grab Bag is also available as a free download on their bandcamp site. Two great acts for $12 on the back stage is as cool as it gets for grumpy old rockers on a weeknight.

Now get the hell off of our lawn!

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Black Cat is located at 1811 14th Street NW in Washington DC. Metro accessible from green/ yellow lines to U St/ Cardozo Station. Grant Hart’s website is granthart.com

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Leatherface @ Ottobar Tonight

With the British parliamentary elections taking up headlines the past few days, you’ve probably heard a lot about the special relationship enjoyed between our two countries. Aside from sounding slightly suggestive and covering intelligence, economics, and military power, the special relationship also encompasses Baltimore punk rock.

To wit: We sent them Double Dagger, and they’re sending Leatherface to the Ottobar tonight in return.

Leatherface plays the Ottobar tonight. 7 pm Doors.

This blog has come down pretty hard on aging English punk bands lately, and while the Sunderland lads are no spring chickens, we believe they’re the exception and not the rule. In more than twenty years of continuous recording and touring, they’ve not been spoiled by success. In fact, they may even be British punk’s best kept secret. They’re one of those bands that has influenced every band that came after them, whether those later bands realize it or not.

Leatherface has a new record out on No Idea Which proves our point. We’d probably have written them off forever if they had signed with Epitaph, but you know No Idea is going to do right by everyone concerned. Don’t believe us? You can go ahead and stream it right now from Punknews.org like we’re doing while we write this. We’re especially digging track #7, Diego Garcia.

Rounding out the bill tonight is Baltimore’s own Sick Sick Birds who we love so much we’ve written about them before, as well as local newcomers Post Freedom about whom we’ve heard good things, and Georgia’s Ninja Gun.

Part of us thinks this is going to be a massive sold-out show which will be legend in this town for years to come. But then we remind ourselves that it’s still a weeknight and that everyone who cares about Leatherface is our age or older, and/or a huge music nerd, so there might be plenty of elbow room at the bar. Either way, we get to put a big check mark next to their name in the column of ‘Bands we love and never got to see.’

Get out and see them tonight Baltimore. You’ll see the Queen go about in her knickers before they come back around again.

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Ottobar is at 2549 N. Howard Street. 410-662-0069 Tickets are available at www.missiontix.com

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Thoughts on Being a Grown-Up Punk

Malcolm X was once asked what he thought of Socialism. His response; “Is it good for black people?”

It’s a simple, yet very profound sentiment.

The Buzzcocks are playing the Ottobar this Wednesday. The Chop will not be in attendance. We’ve already been very clear about our feelings on aging punk bands, and the Buzzcocks are definitely aging. The big idea on this tour is that they’re making it well-known that they intend to play their first two records in their entirety, and they’re not going to try to recycle any of that crap from the ’90’s that they tried to foist off on our generation of teenagers 15 years ago. We love the Buzzcocks, and they can really do no wrong in our eyes, but they make us consider what it means to be a grown-up punk.

One of the world's great punk bands was also high on style. The Buzzcocks in the late '70's.

Being an adult punk can’t just mean going around doing a pale impression of your teenage self. It can’t be listening to the same records over and over again. It can’t be tattoos, middle fingers, and a ‘no future’ mentality.

But it can’t mean giving up either. Grown up punks can never be satisfied with becoming their parents. Sitcoms, malls, and SUV’s are no way to live. Growing up punk has taught us all that we shouldn’t, cannot accept the status quo. In a lot of ways that old saying is true: If you’re not now, you never were.

We still feel conflicted though. So many times we feel like an undercover punk. Most days now there’s not so much as a one-inch button on our jacket by which we’d be recognizable. While we’ll never outgrow punk, we have outgrown high school tribalism.

To our mind though, a great example of how to be a grown up punk is Mark Andersen. Here is someone who has made himself a way to live out his ideals every day, and to continue fostering community and effecting change in so many positive ways. Being punk never meant changing the world. It means changing your world.

So now when we’re asked what we think of something, we’re forced to consider; “Is it good for punk people?”

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Buzzcocks play the Ottobar Wednesday, 5/10 5/12 with the Dollyrots and DJ King Gilbert. 2549 N Howard St. 8 pm doors.

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