I showed up to The Brighton Bar late last Thursday Night to view punk rock divinity in its final show of a Canadian and North Eastern United States tour.
The Avengers, a cult entity in the scene, is a first-wave act that was born in San Francisco back in 1979. The group is fronted by Penelope Houston, and her association with such a successful band created a place in punk music for women. This collective shared stages with The X, The Go Go’s, The Dead Kennedys, and even The Sex Pistols at its legendary final performance at Winterland Ballroom in 1981.
No, that is not a typo. The Avengers immense impact on Punk Rock was completed in less than three years. The band only released two EP’s in its existence and actually met up a couple of years later, in 1983, to put out a self-titled full-length known as The Pink Album.
In 2004 The Avengers regrouped, began playing single shows, and eventually touring in the subsequent years.
On this night The Avengers were a four-piece crew of arsonists, rekindling the flames they set ablaze 31 years ago. You may be asking yourself, “Well jeez Chris, how do you know what kind of flames were set back in ’79?” The answer: I don’t. But I do know out of all the bands I saw play upon The Brighton’s stage, The Avengers were the only one to induce a riot.
The Avengers Perform “Thin White Line” At The Brighton Bar
During The Avengers’ hit song, “Corpus Christi,” a revved up shirtless skin actually ran on stage, launched himself off the platform, and body slammed and unsuspecting fan in the front row.
When guitarist Greg Ingraham cued up The Rolling Stones’ “Paint It Black,” the mosh pit that had been building finally boiled over, placing everyone on the floor in a lava pit of mindless crashing bodies and flailing limbs.
The magma flow continued through The Avengers’ closing number “The American In Me.”
The quartet jumped off stage into the raucous audience that showered them in applause and gratitude and fled to the dressing room where Houston and company gathered themselves before returning with an encore of “Money (That’s What I Want).”
It was a great performance, and did I mention The Avengers brought friends?
The opening act was The Pleasure Kills. Now, I’ve researched this band, and for some reason it has earned the label “Power-Pop.” I’m a relatively educated music journalist that prides himself on being able to slot bands into their proper musical genres.
What I heard that night was goddamn Punk-Rock! Power-Pop isn’t capable of ripping your face off, tossing it on the ground, and having the band’s lead guitarist, James Jameson, jump down from his six-string sniper post and stomp on it.
The band’s front-woman, known simply as Lydiot, has a set of pipes on her that can shatter an ear drum, and Ms. Lydiot, that’s a frigging compliment…I salute you. Like a ferocious jungle cat on the hunt, her roaring vocals tore into my psyche like a lioness’ teeth into its prey. It hurt so good.
And yes, if you were wondering, Jeffrey Ject, the electric organ player, did jump into the crowd, tickling the ivories all the while and blowing minds in the process. I’ll go as far as to call it New Wave, and that’s it.
The Graveyard School, fronted by “Mohawk of the Year Award” winner Kim Kaos, is Thrash-Punk done the way it ought to be: rudely, crudely, speedily, firmly, and without pants on.
The stage presence this band owns is staggering.
Kaos krept about stage like a horned fire-breathing dragon, her vocals charring the skin with every gravely syllable uttered.
Larry, the band’s dread-locked axe-man, should fight the ninja turtles on off days because the man is “Super Shredder.” He could star in a series of slasher films in which his innocent victims are the guitar strings he slices through. But in all seriousness, Larry, did actually cut a string in half with his manic pick-work. The man can play.
The bassist, Jason, fed off the energy and love shared between he and his girlfriend. They exchanged air-kisses, real smooches (in mid-song no less…quite impressive), and he even threw his pants at her. A 17-year old chick was so moved by his apparent sexiness that she ripped off her neon green panties and chucked them on stage, missing Jason’s face by inches as he matrix-limboed out of the way. I thought his girlfriend was going to find the culprit and claw her eyes out, but on a night where fire was prominent, cooler heads managed to prevail.
This was one girls night out I will never be ashamed to have attended.
The Avengers Setlist:
- We Are The One
- Thin White Line
- Teenage Rebel
- Corpus Christi
- Uh Oh
- Cheap Tragedies
- Open Your Eyes
- End Of The World
- 2nd To None
- White Nigger
- Car Crash
- Paint It Black (Rolling Stones Cover)
- American In Me
15. Money (That’s What I Want)