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LIVE: Redd Kross’ Punk Rock Pirouettes at The Roxy (8/7/2012)

By Alejandro Rubio on August 13, 2012


LIVE: Redd Kross’ Punk Rock Pirouettes at The Roxy (8/7/2012)

Redd Kross, Pangea, Tijuana Panthers
The Roxy (West Hollywood, California)
August 7, 2012

I was standing in line outside The Roxy when I heard the couple behind me debating in what I assumed was Dutch. Not knowing how to speak Dutch, I didn't bother eavesdropping, but then I felt a hand nervously pat my shoulder. I turned around and saw the Dutch couple smiling awkward and exchanging glances until the boyfriend spoke.

“Uh...what kind of club is this?” he asked as his eyes bulged over every word.

“They mostly play rock and roll.”

“Ah!” He turned to his girlfriend and, again I'm assuming, relayed the information. “Do they have DJs?”

“Tonight they have one DJ. This guy, Keith Morris.” I could see that the name didn't register so I moved on. “But it's mostly going to be live bands: Pangea, Tijuana Panthers and Redd Kross.

“Yes. Redd Kross,” he said, pointing to the band's name on the marquee. “Is this band good?”

“Yeah, I think they're pretty good. They're a band that started out as little kids playing punk rock.” The couple's eyes lit up with the prospect of seeing kids performing onstage. “But that was a long time ago. I think they're almost 50 now.”

“Oh, OK...thank you.” Obviously disappointed with my description of Redd Kross, the couple turned to each other and went back to debating in Dutch before disappearing onto the Sunset Strip. Maybe my description could've been better, but I can't think of any other way to sum up Redd Kross in a single sentence. It seems to me that when Redd Kross started out, Jeff and Steven McDonald looked like your little brothers. By the '90s, they looked like your older sisters, and when the curtain rose last Tuesday at The Roxy, the McDonald brothers looked just like those aunts your mother refuses to speak to.

Celebrating the release of Researching the Blues, Redd Kross' first full-length release in 15 years, the brothers opened their set with their new song, “Stay Away From Downtown.” Although the album had been released the same day, most of the audience already knew the lyrics and were eagerly screaming them back at the stage as the band shuffled their feet and pounded out the song.

Throughout the show, Jeff made jokes about the age differences in the crowd, asking if the teenagers in the front row were the descendents of the people who were at The Roxy the last time they played, and even dedicating “Linda Blair,” the first song off their first full-length, Born Innocent, to the front row's grandparents. But that's how the rest of the night played out.

Looking out into the crowd you realized that Redd Kross' biggest fans were no longer greasy-haired goofballs, but rather 40 and 50-somethings in faded band t-shirts with greasy-haired children of their own, and its because of this that Redd Kross made sure to follow up new power pop foot-stompers like “Researching the Blues” and “Uglier” with songs from deep in their catalogue. By the end of the night, the band had managed to touch upon every album and even played a suite of their 1980 Posh Boy EP, which had everyone, young and old, singing along to the preteen anthem “I Hate My School.”

But aside from the screaming punk rock geezers and pogoing teenyboppers, it was clear that the people having the most fun that night was the band as guitarist Jason Shapiro and drummer Roy McDonald laughed through solos and drum fills while Jeff and Steven pantomimed and pirouetted for every song. And when the curtain finally fell on Redd Kross, the only feeling that came over me was not excitement or happiness, but guilt. Guilt that my poor description of Redd Kross had robbed that Dutch couple of a great show and possibly led to their popper-fueled night on Sunset Boulevard. Het spijt me, sorry and let's try to keep the consul out of this.

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