Garden Amp, October 29
Pre-Halloween Fear: This was this writer’s first time at the Garden Amp in Garden Grove, and it’s a wonderful venue. It’s a small amphitheater, next to a park with ample parking and friendly staff. And importantly during these precarious times, it’s outdoor so we can all feel safe.
This show, which kicked off the Halloween weekend on Friday night, should have been an immense success. The bill was superb, put together by performing band Manic Hispanic. The weather was perfect. And a good crowd gathered to have a good time. It started well enough, with local psychobilly band the Henchmen (not to be confused with Detroit garage rockers the Hentchmen) opening things up enthusiastically while people still filed in.
Unfortunately, Adicts disciples the Lower Class Brats had to pull out due to a COVID infection in the ranks, so La Pobreska were promoted from the smaller stage to the main stage. As it turns out, there are a lot of people in the band and they were able to make use of the extra space. It was a frantic, energetic and thrilling performance of Spanish language ska-punk tinged with metal.
Hosts Manic Hispanic didn’t let the fact that one of the mics kept cutting out slow them down. The local punk supergroup hit the stage hard and never let up, performing their parodies of punk classics by the likes of the Misfits, Social Distortion, Ramones, Sham 69, X and Rancid, changing the lyrics to reflect Mexican culture. Their version of Tom Petty’s “American Girl” (changed to “Mexican Girl,” obviously) is superb. Overall, their love of the music and their own tongue in cheek sense of humor makes for a ton of fun.
That just left headliners Fear to round off the night. And when frontman Lee Ving ambled onto the stage in his black jeans, black leather jacket and slicked back white hair, looking every inch the punk rock veteran that he is, things seemed to be going swimmingly. Songs such as “I Love Livin’ in the City” and “New York’s Alright if You Like Saxophones” dashed by (although honestly, “Honor and Obey” sounds horribly dated).
Things took an unpleasant turn when Ving took a full bottle of beer to the head and briefly left the stage, then returned to tell the perpetrator to kiss his ass. Then he smiled, and carried on.
Sadly though, it all went to shit when Ving’s mic let him down completely. God bless the band and the crowd for digging in, the audience doing its best to sing loudly to make up for a lack of volume from the singer. It really dampened the impact of “I Don’t Care About You,” which is a shame.
That said, we’re going to give the venue another chance. We saw enough to suggest that, when things are going well, this is a great place to see a punk show.