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Live At the House of Blues

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Album Review

Southern California punk icons the Vandals stir up the ideal live experience for fans with Live at the House of Blues. Packaged as a CD with a free DVD (or as a DVD with a free CD), this dual release (complete with "Freesecam") asserts what acts like A Perfect Circle to Paul Westerberg already know — Josh Freese is easily the strongest drummer in modern rock music. While the visuals are shot on eight cameras and find the group joyfully tearing through classics like "Soccer Mom," "My Girlfriend's Dead," and "Nimby," the music is played with an energy and camaraderie that have sustained the band for two decades. Guitarist Warren Fitzgerald is a riff-ripping dynamo on tracks like "My Brain Tells My Body" and bassist (and Kung Fu Records proprietor) Joe Escalante rocks steady throughout, but it's frontman Dave Quackenbush who really shines. A wry dedication to the Offspring's Dexter Holland on "Too Much Drama" bites the corporate punk hand, but Quack is as credible as he is acerbic on "Behind the Music," which lays into the vapid pop world with the kind of wit that has given these clever, aging punks an unexpectedly long shelf life. ~ John D. Luerssen, Rovi


Formed: 1980 in Huntington Beach, CA

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s

Orange County punk veterans the Vandals traced their roots back to the earliest days of their local scene, but didn't really make much of an impact as recording artists until the '90s. By that time, their snide, terminally juvenile humor and catchy punk-pop had done a great deal to set the tone of Orange County's thriving punk and ska scene. Clear spiritual forefathers of bands like the Offspring, blink-182, and Less Than Jake, the Vandals took their cues from early punk comedians like the Dickies...
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Live At the House of Blues, The Vandals
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