When I got the message that my friend’s band Whut? were playing the Bay Area, I knew I had to be there. Opening for them were Bargain Biscuit, Curb Stomp 209 and A$D. Why We Live was supposed to make the trip but, due to the snow coming up from Los Angeles, they couldn’t make the trip. This show was at the Stay Gold Deli in the heart of downtown Oakland California. Stay Gold Deli is a bit of a dive but the aroma from the smokers (they make amazing BBQ) draws you right in. The small dining area was cleared out for the show with the band on one end and the merch on the other end. The lighting for the band area consisted of 3 hanging lights. This place is punk rock!
Bargain Biscuit were up first. This trio from Oakland whipped the meager, but growing crowd into a frenzy. The short, but explosive set was well received by the local crowd. The only breaks between songs was to figure out what song they wanted to play next since there was no official set list.
Bargain Biscuit are:
Chunks – bass
Anna – drums
Chris – guitar/vocals
After a short reset of the equipment, Curb Stomp 209 started their “in your face” set. Before long, the fists, elbows and feet started flying as the pit started up curtesy of the guys from A$D. It wasn’t long before several others joined in the mix. These guys from the central valley play hard and fast and take no prisoners. Blasting through their set like they were late for dinner, they pummeled the crowd with their flavor of hardcore punk. The crowd was left wanting more which was a good thing because the lead singer joined A$D with some backing vocals later in the night.
A$D was up next. This 3 piece straight edge band was just guitar, drums and vocals and their vocalist was filling in for the night. I am not really sure what was up with the ski mask but maybe it’s just his thing. However, this trio kept with the pace of the evening shredding through their set. I would like to see them again with their usual singer because if they were that solid with a guest, they must really be good with the regular singer.
When Whut? hit the non-existent stage, you would have thought they were playing for thousands. These guys are total pros and shred as well. Armed with a few songs off their 2010 release Laughing With the Sinners, most of the set was comprised of songs from their current release No Hope – No Soul. Standout songs were the title track “No Hope – No Soul,” “Sanity” and a cover of Black Flag’s “Rise Above”. Fortunately, at the beginning of their set, someone crashed into their merch table and knocked the lamp over which gave me a bit more light to make my job a bit less difficult.
Bob Mullany – Bass
Gregory Charles – Guitar
Jeremy Keen – Vocals
Jerome Marshall -Guitar
Philly D – Drums
1). Set It Off
2). Don’t Judge Me
3). No Hope No Soul
4). Pro Anti
6). Goddamn Waste
7). 99 Seconds
9). Last Call (& A Broken Bottle)
10). The Almighty Dead Tree
11). Rise Above (Black Flag cover)
Photographing this show was rough with it’s poor lighting and dodging the folks in the pit. But, hey, what’s life without a challenge? All in all, it was great seeing old friends, making some new ones and getting back to my punk rock roots.
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Photographer of about 10 years, I have been shooting concerts for about 8 of those years. I started to get serious about concert photography about 6 or 7 years ago and now try to shoot as many as I can. I shoot mostly rock but, have done some country and big band stuff. I love music and since I am nowhere close to being a musician, this is a way I can be a small part of what, in the words of Henry Rollins, “gets me through the highs, the lows and everything in between”.