Goldenvoice is one of the most prolific punk concert promoters of all time. Founded by Gary Tovar, you guessed it, 30 years ago, the legendary promoter was able to bring the different factions of Southern California’s burgeoning punk rock scene together, give it just enough structure and kick in the pants to take off and become something truly special in the world of music.
Now 30 years later, it’s hard to believe what a force West coast punk (my personal favorite and I’m not from here btw) has become in the rest of the world. I mean if I listed all the influential west coast punk bands here, I’d still be listing the bands by the time you’d be reading it.
There are simply too many to count and whether you consider Offspring and Green Day to be true punk rockers any more, the reality is that bands like them along with NOFX, Pennywise, Rancid and….geez, there I go again listing the damn bands.. well let’s just say there are not only a bunch of Cali punk bands still playing to this day, but they are as influential as ever.
Well on this magical night, the 1st of the 3 day Goldenvoice 30th Anniversary shows, I was honored to be able to photograph the legendary promoter himself, Gary Tovar, as he introduced 3 legendary punk bands.
The night began with the Adolescents, who I assure you are no longer Adolescents at all, but that didn’t keep em from rocking the house. This Fullerton, CA band was formed in 1981 right around the hey day of West Coast punk. This was my first time seeing these guys live. I shot the first 3 songs in the photo pit and then headed dutifully back in the crowd to hear the rest of their set which was pretty tight.
Now I’ll admit, I only have a few tracks of Adolescents, “Kids of the Black Hole” and a couple more. But after seeing them live, well, they are one of those bands that will probably be top of mind when I get ready to refill the old ipod. The band members have played in other notable punk bands like “Agent Orange”, “Social Distortion” and more.
Next up was the legendary LA punk / folk band “X’, whom I’d seen in NYC about 2 years ago. Once again, I don’t have a ton of “X” material but what I do have I love. Lead singer, Exene Cervenka was once married to one of my all time favorite actors, Viggo Mortenson (see him in “Eastern Promises” if you haven’t already). Exene is also an accomplished artist, but she’s had some serious health issues of late. She announced a couple years ago that she is suffering from Muscular Sclerosis, a serious disorder with no known cure.
But on this night, Exene showed little signs of anything but energy and love for her craft as she and her talented band mates Billy Zoom and John Doe ripped through hits from their critically acclaimed albums they’ve been cranking out since they formed in 1977.
“X” is an LA band through and through but they’d look right at home in Austin, TX or Nasvhille, TN with their sometimes folksy look and sound which bounces between hard, fast paced punk and root tinged folk for a sound that can sound almost like Folk or hillbilly punk (at least to me, a guy from Tennessee).