Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Bad Religion at the House of Blues Anaheim


Bad Religion continue to slay on a nightly basis at various House of Blues locations during their informal residency spanning the months of March and April. Bad Religion is celebrating their thirty year anniversary in which I caught their first show at the House of Blues Anaheim for OC Weekly. I couldn't pass up the opportunity to check in with them one more time.

The Darlings

The Darlings by the way of Redondo Beach dispatched their brand of back alley knife fight punk to warm up the crowd. Buddy Harris (Vocals,Guitars) looked eerily like a young Mike Ness with his suspenders and slicked back hair while rocking out on his Gibson Les Paul.

Running through an assortment of songs from their self-titled debut EP, The Darlings really stirred up the crowd with their Operation Ivy cover "The Crowd". One of their tracks "What Lies Below" has been featured on the Anaheim Ducks telecast which has to be some good exposure for the band.

Jughead's Revenge

Since it was April Fool's, I thought the billing of Jughead's Revenge was a joke. I remember seeing them in a legion hall in Northern California opening up for Face to Face almost ten years ago. While I thought they broke up, it turns out they have reunited to play occasional shows.

They knew the audience wasn't too familiar with their work but were very grateful to thank Bad Religion for giving them one of their first gigs nearly ten years ago. The only song I vaguely recognized was "Domino" from their Just Joined album. It get crazier in that you can download for free their whole catalog off their website. You can't beat free these days.

Bad Religion

It is difficult not to get excited when you see full three pages of setlist being taped to the ground by a Bad Religion roadie. One thing I did immediately notice was that a microphone stand and Brett Gurewitz's Diezel amplifier setup were both missing. Apparently, Brett is sitting out some of the shows to helm the mastering of the live recordings of the earlier shows.

The extra stage space seemed to expand the range of Greg Graffin's feverish pacing and clear the runway for Greg Hetson's multiple guitar jumps. The setlist started identical with the triple pronged attack of "Do What You Want", "Sinister Rouge" and "American Jesus" but quickly deviated when they dialed back the clock for "Atomic Garden" which immediately vindicated my reasons for attending more than one show.

Bad Religion did revisit the same trio of "Leave Mine To Me", "Germs of Perfection" and "Them & Us" but then went off the chart for a collage of different songs. Since I interviewed Brian Baker for my collage radio station during the The Grey Race tour, I have a soft spot for the album and was excited to hear "Come Join Us".

"Suffer","Recipe For Hate" and "No Control" were phenomenal and while I missed the extra guitars of Gurewitz, it seemed that Hetson and Baker stepped up their game and volume. Graffin hilariously went into one of his diatribes about how the old days weren't really that good which had Jay Bentley cracking up. It was clear Bad Religion still are having fun on stage and the multiple sold out nights confirm the fans are having fun as well.

"Dearly Beloved", "Atheist Peace", "Only Gonna Die" kept the fans swirling in the pit and coming over the front rail. The new song they debuted at the other show "Resist-Stance" rocked as hard as I remembered and will likely be in heavy rotation on KROQ when it is officially released. KROQ staples "Infected", "Sorrow" and "Los Angeles Is Burning" capped their thirty song set which magically coincides with their thirty years of existence. You have one more chance to catch them with The Vandals at the House of Blues Anaheim on 4/15.

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