Another Trip West of Texas (Part 1) – Feb. 18-19, 2011



I love New Jersey. I do, really. I love a lot of things about where I live. But sometimes, California calls my name. And once she starts calling, it’s only a matter of time before I eventually break down, give in and go for a visit.

So that’s what I did.

Oh, and did I mention that while I was answering the call of one of my favorite places, THE FRUSTRATORS just “happened” to be playing a mini-tour in the Bay Area – for the first time in nine years. Oh, well that’d be a key detail.

The Frustrators, a punk band made up of Jason Chandler, Terry Linehan, Art Tedeschi, and Mike Dirnt (of Green Day), were playing their first live shows in a whopping 9 years. Since Green Day rarely has any real time “off” it seems, I thought it’d be a really cool thing to see Dirnt in a different ensemble. Plus, it was an excuse to go to California and use my “soon-to-expire” thank you points for airfare. Score.

The mini tour had four stops (Berkeley, Petaluma, San Francisco and Oakland), but unfortunately I could only make 2 of those – Berkeley at 924 Gilman and Petaluma at the Phoenix Theater. I was glad to be there for at least two of the shows and get to hear these songs LIVE. I hate it when a band I like breaks up or stops touring before I’ve had the chance to see them live. Hearing songs live is a real experience and it stinks when you’re cheated out of it.

It was rainy and really cold in the Bay, unfortunately, so it was pretty similar to the weather that I was leaving behind in NJ. The one thing that really made me smile was driving away from SFO in my rental car, I looked ahead and saw these beautiful homes stacked on the hills near the outskirts of the city, just peering out of the fog. As I got closer and the fog faded a bit, a giant BEATLES ON ITUNES billboard peeked out of the cloud of fog. I’m a total Beatles geek so had I not been driving I definitely would have taken a photo.

Well anyway, the lineup for the tour was awesome, featuring our new friends Bobby Joe Ebola and the Children MacNuggits as MC’s. Those guys came to NJ a few months back and spent some quality time with me and the Honah Lee guys. I was excited to see that they were on the bill for the whole tour. Bobby Joe Ebola is unique and original, something I don’t see much of these days. Taking cues from Weird Al, these guys do it right. Check out their Facebook page for more info, and go see ’em if they come round your way. You’ll have a great time, I promise.

This show’s lineup featured Disabled Intent (who did a bitchin cover of Cee Lo Green’s hit “F**k You”), followed by Emily’s Army, a local Bay Area band made up of four of the most talented fifteen or sixteen year olds I’ve seen in a very long time. They’ve got that signature Bay sound – and if they continue on this current upswing I think they could get some real notoriety in the Bay and well beyond.

Their bassist Max had trouble with his guitar strap throughout the set. The part that held his bass up had completely ripped about 30 seconds into their set and still the kid managed to play, sing, and jump all while attempting to tie his strap back on with one hand. Eventually he got some help and all was fixed but I had to say that the kid impressed me. They have a record coming out soon on Adeline Records, and I’m definitely getting myself a copy. I can’t wait to hear where these kids go with this.


Emily’s Army

The BillyBones followed Emily’s Army, and I don’t know if the young crowd had any idea that they were witnessing a punk rock elder statesman in the flesh. Billy Bones was in the LA punk band the Skulls, who started playing together in 1977 and were one of the first Los Angeles punk bands. Though Bones was quite a bit older than everyone in attendance, you really wouldn’t know it by his vibrating, gyrating and high-energy performance. He was a joy to photograph – one of those rare gems you don’t find often. 🙂


The BillyBones

Finally after the BillyBones, The Frustrators took the stage. I can’t tell you how awesome it was to hear them live. All the flying with sick people coughing everywhere, little Vickram who straight up yelled all the way from Newark to San Francisco, and all the hurrying to get there on time was completely worth it. They played a number of songs from all of their records –  both the Bored in the USA EP and their debut LP Achtung Jackass (both Adeline Records), and managed to work in a few new tunes from their newest EP Griller.

The crowd was excited and young, and when the Frustrators took the stage we were all mashed painfully forward… but in a good way. My last experience at Gilman was incredible – I couldn’t believe so many bodies could press so tightly together in such a small space. I went where the crowd did and had absolutely no control. My feet were suspended for most of that show and I was only put fully on the ground when it was over. This show was a full house, but everyone got the opportunity to breathe now and again, which was nice. I like breathing.

The band talked to the crowd, who were all too happy to oblige basically ANYTHING the band asked for, and it was clear that these four guys hadn’t lost too much ground in the nine years that had passed since they’d played together anywhere. I was especially thrilled to be at the first show of the tour for that reason. It was written all over their faces – this is FUN. Poor Chandler was nursing a sore throat and kept drinking water and tea throughout the set but it didn’t slow him down one bit.


“Hey! Who wants to wear a pair of giant underwear??”

Overall, it was a kickass night that I was glad to be a part of.

Here’s the Frustrators’ setlist from Gilman:

  1. I Slept With Terry
  2. Trout
  3. Stigma
  4. Then She Walked Away
  5. .25
  6. My Best Friend’s Girl (Cars cover)
  7. Hide and Seek
  8. East Bay of Urden Bay
  9. Stupid
  10. Pirate Song
  11. AAA
  12. Living in the Real World (Blondie cover)
  13. The Great Australian Midget Toss
  14. Encore: West of Texas
  15. I Slept with Stanley

Okay okay, less yappin and more snappin. I couldn’t agree more.

Check out some more of my favorites from the show at 924 Gilman:

3 Responses to “Another Trip West of Texas (Part 1) – Feb. 18-19, 2011”

  1. Corby says:

    Great photos! You are an ace with that gadget, Lawlor! Any of The Pillowfights, by chance?

  2. Michelle says:

    Thanks man! I appreciate that. Unfortunately no, I didn’t get any of the Pillowfights. I think I may have dropped a memory card at Gilman. Boo, hiss!

  3. […] take photos of the Frustrators (whose pictures of the night’s festivities can be found at her website here), plus to hang out with friends in the Bay. She was staying with Nicole, my Montreal Green Day […]