Punk's Not Dead

On Saturday, August 8, the boring drive from Miami to West Palm was totally worth it. The always-awesome Respectable Street Café hosted a show featuring a classic Southern California trifecta: Agent Orange, D.I., and Fear. Younger punk acts Bloodhook and Total Chaos also played — Bloodhook good, Total Chaos not so much.

D.I. took the stage early, tearing up its set with some real gusto. It pretty much proved, much to the horror of plenty of the younger types there, Pennywise didn't invent that SoCal sound. The set would have been perfect, though, if erstwhile legendary members Rikk and Alfie Agnew were still in the band. Oh well.

Next up, Bloodhook, also from Southern California, took to Respectable's patio and did a decent job. It was punk rock with few frills, but the band's 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 their 1979 classic "Bloodstains" was more melodic this time than it usually is, and the band's founding father, Mike Palm, looked completely unaffected by age.

Last up was 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 of that, because Fear rocked the fuck out of that West Palm stage. Even though Ving looked every bit his 60 years of age, his swagger and braggadocio 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 followup, More Beer. 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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Abel Folgar