The Affliction Christmas Concert

Featuring: TSOL, Suicidal Tendencies, Pennywise & Danzig

Long Beach Arena – Long Beach, CA 12/19/09

Words/Photos by Reverend Justito

It would be very easy for me to use this review to blast Affliction.  It is of course the second most popular t-shirt company for douche bags after Ed Hardy.  However it is the holiday season and why hate when you can be grateful that you got free all access VIP tickets to the sold out $5 Affliction Holiday concert featuring TSOL, Suicidal Tendencies, Pennywise and Danzig  at the Long Beach Arena in beautiful Long Beach, CA?  So I headed south in hopes of finding some sick and twisted freaks getting their holiday cheer on, because when you get ST and Pennywise under one roof, crazy things are bound to happen.

Why is it that the dumpiest venues always have the most uptight security searches?  You can sneak a rocket launcher into the Hollywood Bowl, but you can’t bring a wallet chain, lipstick or camera into the Long Beach Arena.  So after making it through two security checks (because we apparently couldn’t get to the floor from the first line), my friends and I made it into the venue as hometown heroes TSOL were ripping though their opening set.  The only songs of the band I know are the ones covered by Slayer, so instead of checking em out, I followed my friends back stage.  This was the right call as the people watching was fabulous.  Prize fighters mixed with punk rockers, skaters walked around with porn stars and Dino from Fear Factory walked around hoping someone would think he was important (of course no one did, as most just laughed behind his back).

After enjoying a cold beverage, we headed into the arena to check out the set by Venice, CA Skate Punk legends Suicidal Tendencies.  The band opened their blistering hour long set with 1990’s “You Can’t Bring Me Down” which allowed multiple circle pits break out upon the spacious arena floor.  With a stage packed full of rabid fans from the LBC and beyond, front man Mike Muir charged up and down leading his gang of musical misfits through old school ST jams such as “War Inside My Head” & “Church of Suicidal”.  I appreciated a lot of the stage banter Muir shared between songs, reminding everyone to trust in yourself and get back up when life knocks you down.   While the set was filled with classics, the band did preview a rocking new song called “Come Alive”.  Interestingly enough, the bands biggest classic “Institutionalized” was missing from the set.  The fans didn’t seem to mind as they bashed and crashed around thankful for a chance to see their heroes one last time in 2009.  The band did close their set as they do with all sets, allowing fans to crash the stage.  Sadly, all the stage crashers this time around had watched the show from the side of the stage (including Randy Blythe of Lamb of God) but it’s still a blast to watch all those cycos up there rocking out.

I headed back stage where by dumb luck I sat down to a perfect view of Muir just hanging out saying hello to eager fans.  While many snapped photos with cell phones, I settled for a stalker-razzi style photo instead.  In fact I sat below the arena and watched till I heard the thunderous booms of Pennywise vibrating through the walls.  Now this I was curious to see.  After getting a one song performance earlier this year with no singer, I was wondering how well Ignite front man Zoli Teglas would do filling in for former vocalist Jim Lindberg.  Turns out he’s pretty damn solid.  Much like ST before then, the Hermosa Beach punk rockers played a career spanning set.  Songs like “What If” were new the first time I saw Pennywise over a decade ago, while others like “Same Old Story” went back even farther.

The fans were going bonkers as the band bashed out song after song.  During “Society” two large pits became one massive circle engulfing me right up into it.  A tad tipsy, I rode the wave all the way from mid ice to the fourth row, arriving just time to hear guitarist Fletcher tell the near capacity crowd some scandalous secrets about the LBPD.  From there the band launched into “Fuck Authority” and this is where Teglas really won me over.  I can’t recall ever seeing Lindberg dive into the crowd, but that’s exactly what went down right in front of my face.  With Fletcher doing pretty much all the talking between songs, the group wrapped up their set with their most successful radio single “Aliens” (much to the delight of many who had made the trip north from Orange County) followed by “Bro Hymn”.  The later song, which closes all Pennywise shows, also featured tons of fans cramming the stage.  As the band exited the stage at the end of their set, much of the crowd did the same.

Someone once told me that Danzig fans like The Misfits, but Misfits fans hate Danzig.  While I am in no way some old school punk, I do prefer the Misfits and after Saturday night I hate Danzig.  Ok, maybe hate is a strong word, but I was out the door after four songs.  I really tried to listen with an open mind, but the tiny former Misfits singer sounded wretched.  Glenn’s stage moves looked as if he may have arthritis and the way his backup band played off beat and slightly stiff, I simply couldn’t hang around for 44 minutes more just to get to hear his 15 minutes of fame – “Mother”.  So I walked across the sticky floor and went home, disappointed that I was at least 15 years too late on Danzig, but laughing just a lil bit because his bald spot is much larger than mine.

A direct descendant of the outlaw Jesse James and star of a 1983 Kilpatricks Bread radio commercial, Reverend Justito has taken his gift of ADHD and put it to good use by creating one of a kind concert reviews. A bootlegger at heart, the man lives off Whiskey, Taco Bell and the love of San Francisco sports teams.
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Sunday, December 20th, 2009 at 9:43 pm.
Categories: Reviews.

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