Punks Come Out to Play at Suburban Clampdown: “This is the sound, of the suburbs” sang English punks The Members back in 1979. Here we are over 40 years later and an ocean away, celebrating punk in the suburbs (the amazing Garden Amp in Garden Grove) with a suitably named festival and a host of talent young and old.
The brilliant organizers of Suburban Clampdown #2 put together a bill that spans generations, and also punk sub-genres. Hell, the first band on were Portland Satanic metalheads Bewitcher. Technically dazzling and comically evil, they did a great job of shaking and waking, prior to the fun that lay ahead.
Over on the second stage, Venomous Pinks bass player Gaby Kaos was sporting a shirt that read, “Bassists against racists.” Gotta love both the message and the wordplay. The Arizona three-piece took no shit and pummeled our heads. Metaphorically. Bad Cop/Bad Cop are one of our favorite local punk bands on the circuit. The Fat Wreck group’s The Ride album was one of the best of 2020, and they pulled out songs from that and more here.
Excel are a Venice band and graffiti crew that formed in 1983 and were part of the same crossover thrash/skater hardcore scene as Suicidal Tendencies. They split and reformed a couple of times, but it’s great that they’re around to blast crowds at festivals such as this one. Singer Dan Clements advised us to watch Long Beach’s Dissension on the second stage, so we did and they were brutal.
South Bay band Deviates were a big draw here, not least because they were heralded as punk’s “next big thing” back in the late ’90s, then they disappeared. With a bit more life experience under their collective belts, they’re back and they seem primed, if their set here is anything to go by, to pick up where they left off.
Sacramento band Dog Party is sisters Gwendolyn and Lucy Giles, and they’ve already opened for Green Day. They’ve been around for years too, but we weren’t familiar until this set. We’ll endeavor to check out more, because they were superb. Garage beats and infectious melodies — we want more of that. They were followed by veterans Stalag13 on the small stage — one of the four original Nardcore bands (named for their home of Oxnard). They soon whipped up a circle pit, and has us wanting to revisit that scene.
The last band on the main stage was Agent Orange, who played their hardcore surf punk for a solid hour and sounded fantastic. Honestly, when you’ve been around since the early L.A. punk days and have songs as iconic as “Bloodstains” in your arsenal, you can’t fail at a festival like this. And they didn’t.
All killer, no filler. And it all left us looking forward to Suburban Clampdown #3.
Punks Come Out to Play at Suburban Clampdown
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