News Segment


October 30, 2005

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) – Los Angeles’ historic Olympic Auditorium has featured some historic fights in its day, but none might have matched the raucous proceedings sparked by Saturday night’s “Waking of the Dead” show.

Featuring a triple bill of L.A. punk luminaries Suicidal Tendencies, the Germs and Fear, the night’s undusting of musical legacies featured as much offstage spark as it did onstage fire.

From the moment Fear took the stage after forgettable sets by Flipper and Marky Ramone, anarchy ruled the downtown venue.

Fear frontman Lee Ving’s gravel-throated opening shards of “I Love Livin’ in the City” were met by a crushing wave of bodies forcing their way to the general admission floor. A horde of punks young and old jumped over the cattle-catchers that were intended to separate the lower levels of seats from the pits below.

Fear’s “Beer Fight” would have been the most appropriate song of the night, as the circle pits and moshing mayhem that ensued set the tone for the evening. The set’s highlights? The back-to-back dousing of “Have a Beer With Fear” and “More Beer.”

The night’s historic relevance belonged to the Germs, with original guitarist Pat Smear, bassist Lorna Doom and drummer Don Bolles joined by new frontman Shane West.

In a story only L.A. could spawn, West joined the Germs after starring as deceased front man Darby Crash in the upcoming biopic “What We Do Is Secret.” If you didn’t know the actor was a star of the television hit “ER,” you wouldn’t know it from watching him onstage, as he powered through a set that featured the movie’s title track and nearly half of the band’s catalog.

Smear (whose post-Germs bands included Nirvana and Foo Fighters) laid the musical groundwork for West’s vocal blitzkrieg with machine-gun riffing that lived up to the band’s legacy. Much of the packed auditorium watched the reunion with a well-deserved, respectful awe.

That awe was broken by fisticuffs as the stage was changed for the night’s headliner. No fewer than three melees erupted on the floor, prompting an announcement that Suicidal Tendencies wouldn’t take the stage unless order was restored. In a fitting tribute to the band, the fighting stopped.

Back surgery sidelined frontman Mike Muir for more than two years, but that brick-house of a presence hasn’t lost any of his swagger; he prowled the stage with a commanding presence. Crowd chants of “S.T.” and “Suicidal” matched the fevered pitch of the barrage from the stage, as thick bass grooves swirled with racing guitars, providing the musical thunder to Muir’s lyrical lightning. “Send Me Your Money” was dedicated to the Korean Christian church that recently bought the auditorium, and joined “War Inside My Head,” “You Can’t Bring Me Down,” “Institutionalized” and “Alone” as highlights.

In a fitting close, police in riot gear closed the streets surrounding the Olympic after the show. Judging from the proceedings, punk rock is alive and well.

Courtesy of