This past Friday, The World Famous Milestone club was filled to the brim with people of all ages. The show sold out Friday morning and there were people trying any way they could to get inside. Who was there to get everyone so worked up? Legendary punk band Agent Orange from Orange county, California. The show was stacked with awesome opening support for the skate punk icons — their tour mates In the Whale and local support included TurdCutter, No Anger Control, and South Side Punx. Every band played a great set, all leading up to one of the best I’ve ever seen, Agent Orange.
TurdCutter kicked things off promptly at nine. They play d-beat style punk real fast and real loud. Featuring members of DSR, Nemesis, 20 Eyes, and Chalkies; if you’re from the Charlotte area and go to local punk shows there’s a good chance you know one or all of these guys and you know they came to rip.
If you check their Facebook, you’ll see they were awarded “Best party band in Charlotte” and that they “sell d-beat and d-beat accessories” so you know they’re good. I’ve caught the tail-end of their set several times, and I always kick myself for not showing up earlier to see their full set because they put on a hell of a performance. Go see them. Listen to their music. Party.
No Anger Control, another staple of the Charlotte hardcore punk scene, has been playing fast, pissed off punk since 2012. These four give it their all every time I see them play, and it’s obvious that they really put their hearts into what they’re doing. I’ve been fortunate enough in the last year to meet a lot of new people that have a real genuine love for punk rock, not because it’s the “cool” thing to do, but because that’s where their heart is truly at. NAC’s front woman, Tiff, is one of those people. After several years of feeling somewhat jaded and removed from the music scene I grew up with, bands like No Anger Control and people like Tiff have reminded me why I fell in love with this stuff in the first place. They took the stage shortly after TurdCutter and from the moment the first note was played it was like an explosion. Pure energy and aggression expressed through raw, hardcore punk rock. Seeing this band always leaves a smile on my face, and with good reason; they’re incredible. //embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js
South Side Punx was up next, and it was apparent from the get-go that the crowd was ready to get wild. I don’t think I’ve ever caught these guys on an off night.
More loud and fast punk rock that forced the entire audience to move their feet. I wasn’t sure if I should be watching the band, or the crowd’s response and it was great. If you like straight up street punk, you should have SSP’s music in your rotation already because these guys do it right.
With the local bands having all played, it was time for the touring support to take the stage. In the Whale was the only band I had never heard, and I had no clue what to expect.
This band blew me out of the water. Nate Valdez and Eric Riley started playing music together in 2011 and it seems to be a perfect pairing because the music they played was perfect. The only thing that rivaled how good they sounded was how much fun they were to watch.
These two went 100 mph for the duration of their set with loud, chaotic rock and roll. Mike Palm (Agent Orange) came up to introduce them before they started playing and he warned us all that they were about to kick our asses, but I don’t think anyone expected what was coming.
You can listen to their recorded music on Bandcamp (inthewhale.bandcamp.com) and then catch them on the rest of their tour with Agent Orange and be happy that you did. I’ve been listening to them since the show and I honestly can’t get enough. Do yourself a favor and pay attention to In the Whale.
After a night of great music, how do you top things off? You have punk rock legends, Agent Orange, play a killer set. That’s how. 1979 in Orange County, California; Agent Orange begins playing music. Five years before I was born they were playing music that I would grow up listening to. My teen years were spent mostly on a skateboard, and this band embodied everything that I cared about: punk rock and skateboarding. Obviously I didn’t care about much, but those two things meant the world to me.
Fast forward to 2016. I’m a little bit older, and my knees/back don’t much care for skateboarding anymore, but two things have not changed: I still love punk rock, and I still love (watching) skateboarding. Agent Orange, for me, still embodies both of those things. They played an incredible set, full of great music. All the classics you’d expect to hear are there and they still sound as great as they did in the 80’s. They even played a few songs that you wouldn’t expect to hear. I think one of my favorite moments was getting to see/hear them play the Dead Kennedy’s classic “Police Truck.”
I haven’t seen a crowd look so happy in a long time. There looked to be a smile across everyone’s face for the duration of Agent Orange’s set; even the people screaming their lungs out had a smile on their face. One attendee in particular took a seat on the stage, legs crossed, at Mike Palm’s feet and appeared to stare in awe as he continued to play — I couldn’t help but smile when I saw this scene. They closed the show with “Bloodstains” and by that point everyone in the audience was screaming the lyrics along with the band and it was a thing of beauty.
It was a wonderful night full of great music, and it’s shows like this that really remind me exactly why I fell in love with punk rock when I was a kid. This is what it’s all about.
Remaining Tour Dates:
Agent Orange (agentorange.net)
In the Whale (inthewhalesucks.com)
South Side Punx (facebook.com/South-Side-Punx-482227765129998)
No Anger Control (noangercontrol.com)