Whether you think St. Patrick’s Day is a national holiday or just another excuse to drink, it has become full of traditions such as wearing green and chugging beer. For this writer Street Dogs‘ St Patrick’s Day Bash at the House of Blues in Anaheim California is no exception. This year the Boston boys Street Dogs asked The Bombpops, Left Alone, and Los Creepers to join them in the festivities. Each of these bands interpenetrated the punk rock regime in their own way highlighting their unique styles. This variety of tempo and sound made for a fun, diverse, and entertaining show.
Los Creepers kicked off the night and waited no time cranking up the tempo. Throughout their short 30 minute set the band burst through dozens of short tracks all at breakneck speed. In fact, off all four of their albums “I Just Don’t Fit In” is the only track that breaks three minutes. The bands thrash and hardcore influences bleed through every aspect of their sound and stage presence reminding this writer of street punk The Casualties or Lower Class Brats on double speed. Sadly the crowd wasn’t as energetic and didn’t even budge. Having even one patron with as much energy as Los Creepers would have made for an interesting circle pit.
Next up was ska oriented punk band Left Alone. If you are an exclusive Street Dogs fan they were the closest sounding on the bill. Between the straight forward vocals of Elvis Cortez, Jimmy Jam’s upright base, Pablo Fiasco’s organesc undertones, and Ben Shaw’s solid backbeat there was plenty to enjoy. Their set included “Leather Bound Book” and “Hollywood” off their most recent release Harbor Area alongside fan favorites “City to City” and “3 Bottles of Wine”. The band even through in their version of Rancid’s “Black Derby Jacket”.
In stark contrast The Bombpops hit the stage with a much more poppy and mainstream sound; However heir punk persona was very apparent from their lyrics and onstage banter. Luckily Poli VanDam and Jen Razavi sing with their own style instead of becoming a carbon copy of Joan Jett or The Distillers. The two female leads strummed their dueling guitars atop harmonized vocals proving their releases weren’t just studio magic. After recently unveiling Can of Worms The Bombpops have proven their extremely catchy lyrics fit perfectly atop punk beats and speedy down strums. This writer left the show with “Like I Care” and “Can O’ Worms” stuck firm in my head.
Finally it was time for Street Dogs to take the stage. After hitting fan favorites “Punk Rock n’ Roll”, and “Up the Union” head on the main event was almost cut short. During “Final Transmission” a scuffle in the pit sent all of the band’s members and onlookers into the pit as a brawl erupted. The fury only intensified when a chair came hurling down from the balcony before the band and venue security could rectify the situation. After a few fans were banished the curtain closed. In an official statement Street Dogs said “We noticed a group of Neo nazis rough housing and intimidating our fans and throwing up sieg heil salutes in the air. Their very presence, their hateful, bigoted and ignorant ideology is odious to us and completely unacceptable. We with fans, friends and the assistance of security removed them from the crowd and in the process of mitigating them out some of us sustained superficial injuries.”
After the situation had settled Street Dogs burst into an anti skinhead anthem as the set continued with even more energy. Previous Street Dogs member Tobe Bean also joined the band onstage for a medley of “Do or Die”, “Memories Remain” and “Barroom Hero”. Overall their set may have been stopped, but did not lose any momentum further proving why Street Dogs’ St Patrick’s Day Bash is a tradition worthy of 2016.