Live Reviews

Adolescents – Live

L’Usine, Geneva

This was very much a flying visit to Europe for Orange County’s legendary Adolescents, with just 5 gigs on the mainland. I’ve often wondered if I’d ever get to see this band (and bearing in mind I’ve been listening to ’em since ’84 on the ‘American Youth Report‘ LP… well, that’s a lot of wondering)… so this was just too good an opportunity to pass up.

The gig is in a classic mainland European venue, a huge building comprising a couple of live music spaces, cinema, bar/café, kitchen, second hand record shop and accommodation for bands. It’s a very impressive setup.

Now, whilst the Swiss might have given the world precision time pieces of some repute and that infamous triangular chocolate bar, their musical contribution has had negligible impact. So it’s great to see that the first band on are Geneva’s own Hateful Monday. Not a band I’ve heard of previously, but I did a bit of research beforehand and discovered they’ve actually been going nearly 10 years. A four piece, they pump out very slick and listenable Bad Religion styled melodica and get a decent reaction from the hometown crowd. There’s just one distracting element to them… the singer/bassist has a striking resemblance to a young ‘Tiger’ Tim Henman, but thankfully he makes it to the end of their set without throwing the game away…

France’s Burning Heads up next and they’ve evidently got a loyal following in Geneva and go down a storm. They play for a good hour, with a mix of fast tuneful skate punk, and a handful of slower reggae based numbers to break things up. Was good to hear the two strongest tracks from their split with Uncommon Men From Mars (who are in attendance) – ‘Freedom Tower’ and the smoking ‘S.T.F.U‘ (Shut the Fuck Up) about their new President and all round man about town – Nicolas Sarkozy… “This is your time boy, and now we’ll see, the kind of man you want to be… your project based on lies and conspiracy, we know we face our enemy”.

A staple set closer of Burning Heads for many years has been The Adolescents own ‘No Way‘, and after some encouragement from the audience, and with Adolescent Steve Soto’s good humoured stage side approval, they launch in to it… a homage, if you will for what’s coming next… oh yes!

I’m temporarily distracted by another look-a-like, and this one is all together more disturbing. There is a guy grooving down the front to Burning Heads who is a dead ringer for Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin (RIP), I shit you not – It was as if Steve had escaped unscathed that fateful day from the stingray attack, and was here in Geneva, alive and well, drinking beers and stoked to be seeing The Adolescents. But I digress…

Here comes the main attraction – The Adolescents, and they launch in to (can you guess) ‘No Way’… and are up and running. Singer Tony Cadena is going nuts from the off, throwing himself all over the place electrocution style, and the band effortlessly thump out one memorable song after another.

A bulk of the set comprises naturally of their best known platter – the seminal ‘Blue’ album from ’81 – and a bunch of songs that any self respecting fan of American Hardcore will have hard coded into their brain cells… “L.A. Girl” “Self Destruct” “Who Is Who” “Creatures” “Democracy” “Rip it Up” “Word Attack” and of course the place goes insane when they throw “Amoeba” and “Wrecking Crew” at us… excitement level zero, I don’t think so!!!

We also get treated to all three tracks from the “Welcome to Reality” EP and a couple of numbers from 2nd album “Brats In Battalions“. Keeping things up-to-date there’s material (including the title song) from their most recent disc ‘O.C. Confidential‘ with anti-GM farming rocker “Monstanto Hayride” and the punishing indictment of their home country “Lockdown America” really shows The Adolescents have plenty of fire still burning in their bellies. They finish with “Kids Of The Black Hole” and I will admit to having tingles running up and down my spine, a joyous moment, all 5+ minutes of it: “Pushing all the limits to a point of no return, trashed beyond belief to show the kids don’t wanna learn“.

Of course this isn’t the end and they come back out to hit us with the ace Eddie and The Subtitles nihilistic anthem “American Society“, a raucous “Search And Destroy” and then pull the plug with “I Hate Children“. There was talk later of a bigger tour of Europe in Summer 2008, with hopefully some UK dates. On this evidence I can recommend your attendance. This was easily one of the best gigs I’ve been to in 2007.

Pete Craven