The Scene: Punk rockers slowly filed into the Bluebird Theater for Friday night’s event. In addition to the main event, The Queers, there were three great opening bands filling the night with superb music. Fans were dressed down for the event, most everyone wore band T-shirts and jeans, and the hairdos and styles were relatively tame. The majority of fans in attendance were in their thirties and older; the night’s main attractions The Queers and the Angry Samoans have both been around since the late 80s, making for an older crowd.
Opener: Stabbed in Back. The five-piece Albuquerque, New Mexico based band started out the night with a bang. The singer, Adam, was shirtless as usual and full of energy, dancing around the stage with sporadic and gyrating movements. The crowd was sparse at first but energetic, with a small but rowdy mosh pit in the front area of the stage. The light show was good, and it was a treat for fans of Stabbed In Back to see the band perform on a large stage with a great sound system (they played small venues the last few times they were in town). Fans of the band witnessed an awesome instrumental performance; however, the sound quality of the vocals was horrible. Adam was giving the performance his best efforts, but the microphone wasn’t turned up loud enough to hear his lyrics.
Watching the talents of drummer, Tim O’Hara (formerly of Wyoming band The Lillingtons), was a real treat; he gave a phenomenal performance, shaking the entire room with his beats. Stabbed In Back is an overwhelmingly talented but underrated band, and seemed relatively unknown to the audience. Those fans familiar with them were energetic, dancing around and shouting lyrics. The singer finished the set by jumping into the crowd onto a large gentleman’s shoulders and riding him around the pit section. Afterwards, many people in attendance agreed that Stabbed In Back gave the best performance of the night, and were disappointed in the sound for the event.
Opener: Reno Divorce. Denver band Reno Divorce did not seem to impress the Friday night crowd, and most of the audience was stone-faced and still-bodied, with little crowd participation. The crowd had filled in by this point, but few people seemed to pay attention to the music or the band, crowding the bar instead, or using the time to smoke or urinate. The singer’s style is derived from Mike Ness, singer of Social Distortion, from his tone of voice to even the way he played guitar, and from the back of the venue every song sounded like “Ball and Chain.” Reno Divorce’s set was solid and the band played very well, however not many people seemed to enjoy it.
Opener: Angry Samoans. Although the main event was The Queers, many fans in attendance were more excited to see the Los Angeles based band Angry Samoans. The band has been around since the late 1970’s, but rarely comes through Denver. Singer “Metal Mike” Saunders’ voice was throaty, and the band was sharp and together, but Saunders seemed to lack energy. Saunders and drummer Bill Vockeroth (the only two remaining original members of the band) performed their trademark bit of switching places at the microphone and drum set several times throughout the bands’ set, which most people liked, while others found it to be distracting and busy. The first wave Punk Rock band had great sound quality, but the light show was sporadic, which was a non-issue for most punkers. The Angry Samoans played a hard and fast set, and the mosh pit quickly became a violent mass of bodies. Saunders rambled in between songs, frustrating some fans, and several people shouted at him to stop talking and start playing. The term “mental issues” was thrown out by one fan, in regards to Saunders’ rants.
The Queers: For the evening’s show New England band The Queers performed their April 1993 Lookout Records release, Love Songs for the Retarded. The album was re-released on Asian Man Records in 2006 after a fallout with Lookout, with another release in 2009 on Gonna Puke Records out of Italy. The album was the band’s second full-length album as well as the group’s all-time best selling record, selling over one hundred thousand copies. The Queers played the album in its entirety and in order, as well as the song, “See You Later Fuckface.”
Singer Joe Queer (Joe King) seemed a little out of sorts on Friday. He forgot the words to several songs and kept looking at bassist Dangerous Dave as if to say, “What am I doing?” Dangerous Dave silently answered Queer’s unspoken question by kind of shaking his head, as if slightly peeved by the whole situation. The band has had far better performances in Denver over the years, and although this one was not the best, everyone had a great time watching the band, perhaps due to the massive amounts of alcohol consumed by seemingly everyone at the show.
Although The Queers’ album Love Songs is sweet and poppy, the mosh pit was crowded and harsh. The audience was just as sloppy as the band; one guy tried to crowd surf from behind the crowd and falling onto people’s heads, while another guy snapped his ankle, and a third was seen falling off the railing smashing his face onto the steps leading to the pit. The three-piece band might not have played their best on Friday, but fans still thoroughly enjoyed themselves and will undoubtedly return the next time the band rolls through town.
Stage Presence: A+
Set/Light Show: C