Last Wednesday night, my friends and I spent a blissful two hours or so singing along to messy, raunchy punk as well as sugarcoated power pop gems.
The bands were No Parents and Bleached, both staples of the LA punk scene who delivered energetic melodies from the sunshine coast to a crowd of mostly middle aged office workers at a crowded DC9.
No Parents opened their set with “Buy Us A Van,” a punk anthem about, unsurprisingly, their need for one. “Right now we’re renting,” said lead singer Zoe Reign to the audience. However, if all their live shows are as enjoyable as this one, my prediction is they’ll get one soon enough.
Songs such as “Hey Grandma” and “Die Hippie Die,” among others, had me chuckling in addition to shaking my head to the beat. Delivered with humor and malice, both songs had sarcastic lyrics such as “hey grandma, merry Christmas I’m in a punk band” and “die you hippie die you should be moving to India.” No Parents gave off the vibe of a band that doesn’t take itself, or punk music, too seriously. Reign was wild, to say the least, and engaged easily with the audience, smiling and making jokes.
The band seemed a little out of place at the show; their tattooed bods and black attire was a stark contrast to the crowd’s appearance, and the absence of a mosh-pit was extremely unfortunate. It was clear that most people were there for Bleached. Nonetheless, the band acted as if they were playing a show full of fans. They staggered about the stage, banged their heads manically, and contorted their faces (as per the norm). The set list was written on the bassist’s bare chest.
Following this display of goofy punk was Bleached. The nearly all-girl pop punk band (the exception is the drummer) clambered onto their flower-adorned stage with confidence. Cheers arose from the crowd as they adjusted their amps. “Is this too high?” asked the bassist with a smile, to which my friends and I promised it was perfect.
Bleached is led by two sisters, Jennifer and Jessica Calvin, both veteran performers. Their music was more measured than No Parents, but in no way were they less fun.
Their lyrics cultivated an image of California nights, bad boyfriends, and femme fatales. Their girl-driven content and vocals lead to inevitable comparisons to The Go-Go’s, an all girl pop band from the 1980’s. However, they aren’t as squeaky clean; their songs are darker and more rough and tumble.
“Sleepwalking,” a song off Bleached’s sophomore album “Welcome the Worms,” had Jennifer Calvin shedding her guitar and wading into the audience to scream the visceral chorus, “Now my eyes are open wide.”
“Welcome the Worms” gave the set most of its content, but “Love Spells” made an appearance among others from 2013’s “Ride your Heart” album. Every song sounded perfect live, and was a crowd pleaser. The band members shared smiles the entire time and gave the audience plenty of love as well.
It was a really good night, I would recommend both bands for a fun and feel good show. Maybe go to No Parents if you like your punk music with a side of irony and dirty humor; they aren’t for everyone. However, Bleached is a band for punks and pop lovers alike. I went to the concert with Emma Jacobson who enjoyed it as well. “Both bands were completely different, but combine them together it made something awesome,” Jacobson said.