Saturday, January 31, 2009

The Wheelhouse, Hemet, CA

So after debating it a little, I decided to actually go to this show. After a while of driving in what seemed like the middle of nowhere, I got to the small town of Hemet, essentially a giant strip mall. It took some time to actually find the venue hidden behind other stores closer to the street, but I did.

Let me describe The Wheelhouse - it's essentially a roller rink...with no re-entry. And a make-shift bar (it was a table with liquor on it and a cooler fridge with beer and mixers next to it)...and a smoking section outside that cost $3 for a "pass". But enough about that, it was fucking punx! I got there and Knocked Out Cold was on, and there was a giant circle pit of young/teen/early 20s punx, it was so cool to see after not expecting much. During the entire set kids were dancing and yelling the lyrics. awesome.

Up next, was I believe Silent Noise. And they were really bad, it was like seeing dropzone at skaters world or something. The punx were having none of it. After a few songs they sat down in the middle of the huge pit and turned their backs to the band...only to lead to people going between them and the band, giving the band a much closer audience. Upset that they've led to more people paying attention, the punx started moshing into the close audience, leading almost to fights, and completely to hilarity. They even played a cover that no one knew.

Finally they were done, and The Maxies, "from greenland" (so-cal) took to the stage. In the vein of voodoo glow skulls, but with a keyboard instead of horns. For about ten minutes, the stage was empty except for instruments, leading me to think, "I'm pretty sure the band should be onstage either soundchecking or playing," but then they came out in costume and masked. They threw some masks to the crowd (think phantom of the opera style masks, i guess). They were really tight, and the kids loved them, dancing the entire time. I enjoyed it. At the end of the set they said they were going to do a specials cover...and then played their cover of "Enjoy Yourself." It was cool, but its not really a specials cover now is it? Good set.

After they were finished, Narcoleptic Youth started setting up. After about ten minutes, they straight up started playing. There was a decent sized crowd in front of the stage singing along and stagediving onto each other, and a huge circle pit behind them. Awesome. Despite mic difficulties they ripped through their set to everyones delight, it was great.

When they were done, Agent Orange went on, with an even bigger crowd of people in front of the stage, including me right in front of mike. All of the other times I'd seen AO was either at the 710, a bar where like 20 people came out, or the oc club in san clemente where there were a lot of people but it was 21+ and a "no dancing" rule was in effect. This skating rink was the perfect environment. I havent been pushed onto a stage in a while by people just being that excited about a band. Behind us, again, a huge circle pit. Opening with Pipeline, the place exploded, stagediving, jamming, etc. Played almost every song you might want to hear, EXCEPT LIVING IN DARKNESS WHAT THE FUCK. Also skipped miserlou this time. Aside from the songs they didnt play, the ones they did were awesome. Mike saying awesome stuff like "HOW ABOUT SOME SURF MUSIC?" and "Um, it would probably be better if the skate ramps were actually in here. Get on that!" from the first skate punk band, it was pretty fitting. Awesome show.

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