Tuesday, April 7th
Words and photo by Devin Rinker
I’ve never held much stock in astrology, but the punk rock planets must be aligned. Lately there’s been a slew of amazing shows from people who were actually around when punk was punk. Bands I never thought I’d have the chance to see, much less in Chico, have been popping up left and right and leading me out of my hermit’s cave like the Pied Piper. Last Tuesday was no exception as The Freeze was back on tour and coming to Monstro’s behind excellent local support.
Opening up the show was the much-heralded Purple Dragons. Despite my good intentions, I unfortunately missed this young crew for the second time. When I say that these kids were young, I mean under 10. Apparently they rock some miniature instruments better than they can ride a bike. With song titles like â€œBack to Hell,â€ you need to check out these child prodigies.
Up next was Severance Package, who are presumably the parents of the Purple Dragons. A relatively new local three-piece, the Package got their start playing with Nobunny and The Shankers at Studio 46 back in January. They came out with a gritty garage-rock sound that got the heads bobbing and the beers flowing. They reminded me a lot of Scared of Chaka, which was a pleasant surprise. Alternating between male and female vocals and backed by some serious drumming, Severance Package definitely has the chops to fill a dance floor, so long as the infamous Purple Dragons haven’t already staked out their turf.
After the Dragons had been sent back to their cave for slumber, The Serfs were able to come out and celebrate with a little street-punk ribaldry. Playing right before a legend like The Freeze is a big slot to fill, and The Serfs filled it well. The combination of Trevor’s massive guitar and Andrew’s scathing, punctuated vocal delivery got the crowd fueled up, ripping through originals and a cover of â€œGo Nowhereâ€ by Reagan Youth. Chris and Jaime lashed on the bass and drums with a frantic abandon, keeping everyone bouncing off of each other. When all was said and done, The Serfs ended up with one of the cleanest, tightest sets I’ve seen them play. As they exited, they called out: â€œGet ready for THE FREEZE!â€ It was met by a smattering of expectant shouts, but seemed the majority in attendance didn’t know what they were about to witness.
The Freeze. In Chico. All the way from Massachusetts, these guys were a big part of the Boston hardcore scene in the â€˜80s and have been around since 1978. While associated with the hardcore scene, their music has always had more of a melodic approach than counterparts. The only remaining original member is lead vocalist Clif Hanger, but the plethora of lineup changes has not extinguished the glory. They were playing without a lead guitar due to an injury, but rhythm guitarist DB managed to hold down double-duty, keeping the songs full and shredding. Clif writhed and twisted around like a man truly possessed, wearing the majority of the sawdust in Monstro’s. Classics from all eras of their music were covered; â€œNothing Left,â€ â€œWarped Confessionalâ€ and â€œTimebombâ€ were presented in all their glory, though the highpoint of the night for me was when Clif announced a song about his brother, â€œTerminal.â€ I must have been pretty in to it because the next thing I know, Clif’s thrusting the mic into my face for the chorus. Epic. Although many people may have come to the show not knowing who The Freeze were, they definitely knew the score when they left. Everyone I talked to seemed pretty impressed. If you consider yourself a connoisseur of punk rock and have never heard of these Boston badasses, do your research.