Some bands don’t know the grey world of fans that think they’re just “alright.” We typically call these cult bands. You either don’t know who they are or they’re your fucking world, no in-between. This past Wednesday the 2nd of October, a fine example of said band in Strung Out came rolling on through Club Soda for a little punk rock and bang. Many drunk punks and some grievances later, here we are, reading words.
Politically charged crust-punk quartet The Casualties out of New York City, NY opened up the night with their trademark brand of traditional street punk and adorable antics for a band that got out of the basement scene and into the realm of a household brand name. Their sound was spot on for what was attempted, however, I can’t help but feel like hearing a dude try to explain to a crowd of drunk thirty to fifty-year-olds what a wall of death is while spoon-feeding us southern politics is a little out of touch with what your market is. Some in attendance may think I’m exaggerating but from where I was standing soberly, it wholeheartedly felt like singer David Rodriguez didn’t think we knew about the United State of America’s cuntrag President or his plan to build a wall. Maybe, I’m just a picky asshole with too much time to think about things at concerts while everybody else is having a spectacular timing moshing with their favourite band in the crowd. Regardless of all that, bangers like “Ashes Of My Enemies” and their cover of Ramones classic “Pet Sematary” featuring a guest appearance from Strung out lead singer Jason Cruz all made for a solid crowd pop and a good time.
Simi Valley, CA’s Strung Out stand entirely in a class of their own in a few different ways. Any cult fan will tell you that everything about their recorded efforts, their nostalgia, and the resilience in standing the test of time is entirely what keeps anybody coming back. They’ll also tell you that these cats DO NOT bring the same love and care to their live performance, which truly speaks to the cultism of each individual in attendance. Not a soul could complain about set choice ranging from bangers as old as time like “Matchbook” and “Firecracker,” middle of the roaders like “Mission Statement,” and even fresh meats like opener “Rebels and Saints.” Every soul, however, could probably complain about the actual execution of these songs, most notably the heartbreaking lack thereof from frontman Jason Cruz. This isn’t to throw stones, but more to note the obvious that microphones have a direction with which you’re supposed to belt your voice into for it to properly work. If you could look past the messy yet still familiar guitar tones, the nonexistent bass mix, and vaguely audible vocal section, and just enjoy the outstanding drums, killer set choice spanning a nearly thirty-year career, and the camaraderie of being with a bunch of dudes that have bled this act their entirely lives, then this was and always will be a killer night. If you couldn’t, then let’s be real with each other, you’re still not going to miss it next time they come around.
Written by Jason Greenberg
Photography by Marc-Antoine Morin
*edited by Danielle Kenedy