Punk's Not Dead

The always awesome Respectable Street Café hosted a classic Southern California trifecta Saturday, August 8, featuring: Agent Orange, D.I., and Fear. Younger punk acts Bloodhook and Total Chaos also played. The end result: Bloodhook good; Total Chaos not so much.

D.I. took the stage early, tearing up their set with some real gusto. It pretty much proved, much to the horror of plenty of the younger types there, that it wasn't Pennywise who invented that SoCal sound. The set would have been more perfect, though, if erstwhile legendary members Rikk or Alfie Agnew were still in the band.

Next up, Bloodhook, also from Southern California, took to Respectable's patio and did a decent job of its own set. It was punk rock with few frills, but the sound was straight-up honest and a little weird, with some psychedelia thrown in. Then came Agent Orange, with a unique balance of early hardcore and surf punk. The live version of Agent Orange's 1979 classic "Bloodstains" was more melodic live this time than it usually is, and the band's founding father, Mike Palm, looks completely unaffected by age.

And of course, last up was motherfucking Fear. Forget the kitsch of the band's 1981 Saturday Night Live appearance, which featured John Belushi slam-dancing with the likes of Ian MacKaye and John Joseph. Forget the tongue-in-cheek, or rather, punk-rock-cheeky attitude that frontman Lee Ving has often spewed while espousing extreme politics and a torrid love for Budweiser and Pabst Blue Ribbon. Forget all that, because Fear rocked the fuck out of that West Palm stage. Even though Ving looks every bit his 60 years of age, his swagger and braggadoccio lit up a set list filled with pretty much all the hits from the band's 1982's groundbreaking album, The Record, and its 1985 follow-up, More Beer. By the next day, I was still pissing my liver and bleeding my nose out — truly signs of an epic punk rock show.


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