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Live In a Dive

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Album Review

Fat Wreck Chords' consistently great Live in a Dive series gets an entry from stalwart punk old-schoolers Swingin' Utters. Sure, they issued the four-song EP Live at the Fireside Bowl in July 2003. But that was just a cool little one-off. Dive digs into the Utters' defiant 1978-meets-California punk sound, delivering hits, album cuts, and covers at the same well-practiced, still-ragged rate. Wacky banter, too! Highlights include the spot-on fake British accents of the Clash tributes "Tied Down, Spit On" and "Nowhere Fast," the Cock Sparrer cover "I Got Your Number," and a particularly energizing run through the Juvenile Product nugget "Windspitting Punk." No question, the Swingin' Utters aren't young anymore. But like your old-codger uncle, they're going to tell you just that, and punctuate it with a kick in the ass. They stick defiantly to their signature sound, even as Warped Tour dates nod to current events. Dive's liners goof on punk's latest youth movement, too, and even if the Utters seem a little bitter, they can still bring it on-stage. Of a piece, "15th and T" and "Teenage Genocide" appear in near medley form, harking a little to the "one-two-let's go!" vibe of the Ramones' classic It's Alive. The band also finds time for "The Swingin' Utters quiet storm," an acoustic set that includes "Fruitless Fortunes" and "All That I Can Give," Danny Koski's cool folk-punk number from Dead Flowers, Bottles, Bluegrass, and Bones. The accordion's also unpacked for a few rounds, and even if the Utters' Dead Milkmen and Pogues detours aren't as successful as the working-class punk anthems that really power Live in a Dive, they're the right of a veteran group. Fans: the ghosts of punk rock demand you buy this immediately.

Biography

Formed: 1987 in San Francisco, CA

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

One of the more traditional-sounding of California's punk revival bands, Swingin' Utters formed in the late '80s around a first-name-only lineup of vocalist Johnny, guitarists Max and Darius, bassist Kevin, and drummer Greg. Originally based in Santa Cruz, these street punks later moved to San Francisco and recorded for several different labels, including Side One, IFA Records, and New Red Archives. The group first released 1992's Scared as Johnny Peebucks & the Swingin' Utters, but things really...
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Live In a Dive, Swingin' Utters
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