A WELCOME INTERRUPTION
Social Distortion played for over two hours with hardly a break, and sounded better than they did thirty years ago. Eddie Spaghetti of the Supersuckers rasped several songs about smoking and drinking too much. But the story of the night was the aptly-named Los Angeles punks The Interrupters, who opened for all this history with a set that converted a hardcore Social D audience not noted for its patience.
There had been an unfortunate last-minute change in the lineup; Dano Forte got bumped to make room for Mr. Spaghetti and his guitarist Jordan Shapiro, and the Interrupters went from second act to opener. Aimee Interrupter might have been nervous; she’d heard Social Distortion fans could be rough on opening acts. So she’d done some reconnaissance the week before at another Social D show in L.A. There, the opening act was screamed and booed at throughout their set, stuff thrown at them, a traumatic vision for someone soon to fill that very spot. But if the Interrupters had the jitters, you couldn’t tell from the floor Sunday night. After they took stage, they politely gave it back in about 20 minutes. They could have played an hour without anybody getting antsy for the headliner, especially once Rancid frontman Tim Armstrong joined them to close their set.
My concert companion said, “They sound like how I always wished No Doubt sounded.” It’s true: Aimee Interrupter’s got a crazy set of pipes. When she flirts and roars like a 302 running a quarter-mile, you can trace the history of Southern California rock from Joan Jett and Debbie Harry to reigning OC queen Gwen Stefani. Ms. Interrupter, a Montana Sicilian who’s been acting and gigging around L.A. since her teens, had a couple of hits recently in an incarnation as singer/songwriter Aimee Allen. She has reinvented herself as the face of a tight, rowdy ska-punk outfit, complete with a Van Nuys rhythm section, driving beats, and salt-air backing harmonies.
The Interrupters’ fifth-ever live appearance, at their biggest venue to date, included most of their forthcoming self-titled album (produced by Mr. Armstrong for his Hellcat Records). In lively arrangements grounded by Ms. Interrupter’s jaguar growl, her band brothers Kevin (guitar), Justin (bass), and Jesse (drums) Interrupter were joined Sunday by their dad Gary Bivona on trombone, and on keyboards by Dan Interrupter, who – as Dan Boer – tours and records with Jimmy Cliff. After Mr. Armstrong dragged out a giant beard and an even bigger Gretsch guitar to lay into the de rigueur “California Sun,” a more satisfying set would be hard to imagine at this stage of the Interrupters’ development.
There is water and sun in this music, but the songs “Liberty” and “Can’t Be Trusted” poke into traditional punk politics too with their healthy mistrust of government. “White Noise” and “Family” celebrate the punk virtues of animosity and loyalty; a striking number of their tunes sound so anthemic you’d swear you’ve already sung along for years. Until the record drops (by summer) the best deal in the Southland is their three-song EP, going for a buck last weekend at the Anaheim show.
There’s no shortage of good ska bands; but it’s music for the young and happily outraged, and the market can bear a lot of that. The Interrupters have already matured since their Hellcat recording, and it’ll be a pleasure to watch them write, play and grow.
live Interrupters photos by Robert Ortiz
House of Blues in Anaheim
played Sunday January 27, 2013
for more info on the Interrupters, visit Facebook
February 1st @ Pierview Pub in Oceanside, CA (w/ Oceanside Soundsystem) – 21+
February 11th @ Slidebar in Fullerton, CA (w/ The Toasters) – 21+
February 28th @ Alpine Village in Torrance, CA (w/ Mustard Plug) – ALL AGES
March 3rd @ 924 Gilman St in Berkeley, CA (w/ Mustard Plug) – ALL AGES
May 4th @ The Observatory in Santa Ana, CA (w/ Voodoo Glow Skulls & Left Alone)