Good Riddance

Good Riddance (11:00 PM)

Union 13 (10:00 PM)

Western Addiction (9:15 PM)

Spanish Love Songs (8:30 PM)

Sat, April 15, 2017

8:00 pm

This event is all ages

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Good Riddance - (Set time: 11:00 PM)
Good Riddance
Good Riddance formed sometime in the 1990's, depending on who you ask. Four scrappy punk kids in Santa Cruz who could hardly contain their love for Bad Religion, as can clearly be heard on their debut, 1995's For God And Country. But things moved forward fast for GR and they became one of the most important bands among the punk/melodic hardcore scene for the next decade. They boast massive album sales that number in the six figures, and they managed to accomplish that while staying true to the underground and remaining on an independent record label. They toured harder than any band in the scene, but by 2007 they had disbanded. They burned bright and they burned out.

But they're back. Back with their core lineup and their first album in eight years, Peace In Our Time.

“We didn't want to be a band who overstayed our welcome,” said frontman Russ Rankin about their decision to dissolve all those years ago. He adds, “Everyone was becoming increasingly busy with other, non-music careers, families, etc.” The curse of the punk rocker, right? Well, not so fast. One thing that you need to know about Good Riddance is that these guys are lifers. Rankin put it simply, “We missed playing the songs.” They had no choice but to return to the music because it was part of their DNA.

And their resume is worth noting. The band has been very humble about their activism, almost to the point of being bashful about their contributions towards the community. Russ won't even discuss his vegan lifestyle or his compassion towards animals, but he's been committed to that for decades now. There's also the fact that the band has been donating proceeds from their album sales to various charities: Food Not Bombs, Santa Cruz AIDS Project, the Cabrillo College Music Department, Santa Cruz Homeless Shelter, and more. By now you've probably guessed that Good Riddance has a leftist message to go along with their urgent music. True, but they also back up their words with actions and money to the causes they believe in.

Let's talk about them in today's terms and in regards to this new full length. Good Riddance is, as we say in the biz, “a critic's band”. As in, they have the respect of their peers and those in the know. They're students of the genre who draw from real punk rock influences and their songs come from a very sincere place. It all culminates for the band with Peace In Our Time: on the album opener, “Disputatio”, you can hear dark and thrashy hardcore reminiscent of their contemporaries Paint It Black; then maybe some aggressive melodic punk à la Bad Religion on “No Greater Fight”; Black Flag's hefty, discordant HC on “Dry Season”; and definitely some of The Descendents on “Washed Away”. But make no mistake, Good Riddance has cultivated their own sound from this diverse set of influences and that's probably why their old-school fans have stuck with them. If die-hards need a reference point for Peace In Our Time, think about their high water mark efforts like Comprehensive Guide... or the hardcore staple, Operation Phoenix.

This new album is essentially the very best of GR distilled down to one LP, and it will no doubt get the attention from a lot of old fans, HC devotees, and punk enthusiasts alike. They're already booked to play Europe's Groezrock, one of the biggest punk festivals in the world. There will also be an obvious hometown record release show in Santa Cruz, where they have been selling out countless shows over the years. Good Riddance will be ramping up some activity, and with hardcore music seeming neutered and confused in 2015, Peace In Our Time will mark a triumphant return for a band that the underground scene needs more than ever.
Union 13 - (Set time: 10:00 PM)
Union 13
Born 8 years ago in the Boyle Heights housing projects of East L.A. the members of Union 13 were still in their teens when they began sharpening their early musical teeth by playing at fully packed backyard parties. The intense focused energy of their live show was so fierce that, on a tip from a friend, Epitaph HMIC Brett Gurewitz dragged the band into a his own Westbeach Recorders to record a demo before they had ever played on a real stage. Gurewitz later played the demo for Tim Armstrong and Lars Frederiksen of Rancid who liked it so much that they jumped onboard to help produce the bands Epitaph debut East Los Presents (1997).

Since then Union 13 have been toughening their musical muscles through relentless touring with bands such as U.S. Bombs, Voodoo Glow Skulls, and H20 (on the first Punk O Rama tour), while also sharing the stage with Latin rock acts Molotov and Café Tacuba on the Watcha tour. As a result Union 13 has come to perform and write new music with a growing confidence that only paying your dues can bring.

With that in mind, we find ourselves at present with thier latest effort Youth, Betrayal and the Awakening; an album that stays true to the bands roots, kicking ass with the same barrio, bi-lingual street cred as their first 2 records ("East Los Presents" and "Why Are We Destroying Ourselves?"), and keeping the sound and fury of rebelliousness intact. You'll find none of the buzz saw, ghetto guitar noise, or un-compromised social observation and honesty in the bands lyrics sacrificed to the false gods of "happy punk" or commerce. And the band wouldn't have it any other way.

Tracks such as the "The Game" ("Just be conscious of the fact/be aware/because we're all affected") demand your attention both sonically and mentally with their heartfelt message and the blaring speed and energy. Youth Betrayal and the Awakening also documents the bands growing lyrical maturity and musical sophistication, giving eloquent expression to the frustrated dreams and desperation of another generation with not much to look forward to and nothing to lose. Guitar player/songwriter Jose Mercado humbly states, "We're just a little punk rock band from East Los." Adding, "Raised in a Mexican household, our parents teach us to be honest. We write and play music and lyrics about what we see around us, and the voice of the streets ain't always pretty."

As Union 13 continue to grow a little older and a lot wiser, they still bring that backyard party to whatever club stage they're on or whatever recording studio they're in. Since it only takes one hand to hold this and read it, use the other one to put the C.D. in your ghetto blaster and see how little justice words give to explain music. Or as the band themselves say in the song "Beyond the System", "There's no truth in advertisement/can't you draw your own conclusions?"
Western Addiction - (Set time: 9:15 PM)
Western Addiction
Tremulous: to display timidity or nervousness, or shake or quiver slightly. It’s an odd word, one not used commonly in the modern English language—you’re far more likely to come across it in James Joyce’s Ulysses, for example, than in your average hardcore record. But here we are, with Western Addiction’s new full-length, Tremulous, an album embodying the anxiety, dread, worry and anguish omnipresent in modern day America. "The word ‘tremulous’ just felt right,” says frontman Jason Hall. “It sums up the theme of the entire record in one word.” Hall puts a premium on the words associated with Western Addiction; every song tells a story, sometimes with uncomfortable specifics and every title and lyric is meant to resonate with the listener on a different level.

While the San Francisco band’s sophomore effort comes nearly 12 years after their debut, Cognicide, don’t think they have grown out of hardcore. Tremulous rips its way through 11 explosive tracks, delivering a consistent sound strongly rooted in the past (picture an alternate universe where Milo Aukerman, Greg Ginn and Fugazi’s rhythm section formed a band) that is plenty aggressive (“Ditch Riders,” “Masscult, Vulgarians and Entitlement”) and surprisingly melodic (“Righteous Lightning,” “Honeycreeper”). It sounds like the same band that made Cognicide, just older, wiser—but still pissed off.

A large part of that consistency can be attributed to the band’s current form, which consists of founding members Hall on vocals, Ken Yamazaki (also of Dead To Me) on guitar and Chad Williams on drums, as well as 2014 recruit Tony Teixeira moving to guitar. When it came time to record Tremulous, Western Addiction re-connected with original bassist, Tyson “Chicken” Annicharico, who was happy to assist his friends in the studio, adding another connection between the band’s past and present. He even had a hand in shaping Tremulous’ most intense song, the album-closing, five-and-a-half-minute dirge “Your Life Is Precious,” written in tribute to friend (and Enemy You frontman) David Jones, whose unexpected death in 2015 had a profound effect on the band.

“I don’t usually write songs in one burst, but I did with that one—every single lyric means something very specific,” Hall says, going on to explain how the song features his first-ever attempt at singing. When he says singing, he really means singing, not your average hardcore throat-bellow. Luckily, he had one of punk’s finest vocalists, Joey Cape, in the producer’s seat for Tremulous, who coaxed him to new heights in his overall performance. “One of the things we asked Joey to work on with us was vocal melodies. He had great input on many songs, especially ‘Ditch Riders,’ ‘Taedium’ and ‘Your Life Is Precious.’”

Tremulous fires off salvo after salvo of incendiary hardcore containing a surprising amount of melodicism, but Cape wasn’t the only member of the Fat Wreck family to offer assistance: Propagandhi’s Todd Kowalski delivers guest vocals on “Taedium” (“Propagandhi has continually influenced and enlightened my life, and I respect Todd as a human,” Hall praises). And while the bulk of the album was recorded with Cape and engineer Ian MacGregor in Los Angeles, the band finished up the vocals in San Francisco with Cape at Fat Mike’s Motor Studios.

Western Addiction turned to an unlikely name to mix Tremulous: Matt Bayles, an esteemed producer whose resume is two decades long and stacked with such major names in metal and hardcore as Mastodon, Botch and Isis. However, it was a different record that put Bayles’ name on Western Addiction’s tongue. “The inspiration for Tremulous was From Ashes Rise’s Nightmares, which Matt produced,” Hall says. “They’re a hardcore band but it sounds so big and well-produced. I wanted to do that. After seeing what Matt could do with my vocals, I was blown away.”

With Tremulous finally out in the world, Hall’s goal for 2017 feels surprisingly attainable while at the same time emotionally exhausting. “I want our band to be understood,” he concludes. “I don’t think we’ve ever found our people. We’re in this netherworld of punk: We’re not poppy, we’re not fun, we’re loud but we’re not a metal band, and the truly crazy hardcore bands would probably think we don’t fit in. I just want to be understood.”
Spanish Love Songs - (Set time: 8:30 PM)
Spanish Love Songs
Venue Information:
Troubadour
9081 Santa Monica Blvd
Los Angeles, CA, 90069
http://www.troubadour.com/

All lineups and times subject to change