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Gig review: The Bel-Tower, 12/7/2011
This was the final show of our (faux) Fresno mini-tour, which included stops at the CYC and Audie's Olympic.
The Bel-Tower is an odd place. It's an all ages-venue, which in Fresno, means it's by nature dank and dark and full of punk kids. That might be a bit off putting for outsiders, but it's also what makes the place so awesome and important to the local music scene.
Case in point: This show wouldn't have happened if the Bel-Tower was not around. It maybe could have ended up as a house party or something, but there's a good chance that a certain number of Fresno's youth got the chance to see a really great punk band (from Korea no less) only because the Bel-Tower exists. Plus, a bunch of locals (us included) got to share the stage with that band. You see? Good for the scene.
Eindrah: Came in on their last song, so I'm not sure exactly what Eindrah is all about. There was some screaming.
Our set: We were slated to play fourth, but the other two openers hadn't made it to the venue yet and the dude setting up the show needed to keep things moving, so we played. Hey, we go when we're needed. It's called being a pro. The crowd was good and despite some technical issues (power outages) up front, we got rolling along just fine.
The 32s: These guys do old-school hard-core-growler punk. Like 1984-style. I hadn't seen them in awhile. In fact, I didn't think they were playing anymore, but here they were with Maximo Garica on bass (he is everywhere these days) and sounding as bass-ass as ever.
Iwanaga: There was a time when Iwanaga would have been like the fifth-best ska band in Fresno. That's not a knock on them, it's just some context. And while the Hooligans and Let's Go Bowling are still great, it's nice to know that the genre is being looked after by the kids.
The Lonely Revolts: Swinging Utters-style revolt rock from Monterey Valley. They had a fill-in drummer who was only 14. He was there with his mom. This was his second show with the band and it didn't show.
Whatever That Means: Sometimes you forget how awesomely visceral and fun punk-rock music can be. Then you see a band like Whatever That Means and it comes rushing back. This is what punk-rock is supposed to be: Blisteringly fast and furiously played. The Korean four-piece plays in the early Lookout! Records vein. They reminded me a lot of The Lillintons, only with a short Korean dude doing these shredder guitar solos. Highlight of the set: The impromptu sing-along of Weezer's "Say It Ain't So," that broke out while drummer fixed his bass pedal.