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Sceneroller, Elks Lodge No. 99, 1978, February 24, 8:00 pm (Fri), The Zeros, The Dils, The Eyes, The Screamers, The Germs, The Controllers, The Bags, The Deadbeats
About This Gig


Los Angeles Times, 2-27-1978

Six New Wave Bands Showcased

The first of two consecutive nights of punk rock at the Elks building in MacArthur Park succeeded last weekend in showcasing six of L.A.'s many new wave bands. A fund raiser for the Masque, a Hollywood punk cabaret, the "punk-a-thon" was attened by a festive, flamboyant crowd, much of which joined in the spirited up-and-down pogo dancing associated with the British punk scene. 

In the unenviable position of opening Friday's show, the Flesh Eaters turned in a competant, if unoriginal set. The lead vocalist sings like he means it, but at this point the band leans heavily on riffs lifted from the Sex Pistols and others. The Controllers followed with a short, frentic set of tunes based primarily on themes gleaned from the headlines. 

Things picked up with the Zeros, who turned in one of the evening's strongest performances. Assuming a stance similar to Elvis Costello, vocalist Hector Penalose projects a convincing mood of teen-age anxiety. 

The show climaxed with the Screamers, who lived up to its strong local reputation with a well paced and often electrifying set. Tearing around the stage as though he had just burst from a straitjacket, lead singer Tomata du Planty fashions a style of techno-punk completely his own. Keyboardist Tommy Gear, an unnerving automaton with bristling white hair, delivers vocals with equal fervor. With minimal instrumental backing-two keyboards and drums-the Screamers have a unique, high-voltage persona that should take them a long way.

Following the Screamers' rousing set, the Bags managed to hold its own, a feat in itself. Vocalist Alice Bag jerked across the stage in a convulsive rage, spitting out indiscernible, shrewlike speeches that were oddly engaging. Things began to peter out with the Germs. In an unispired imitation of Iggy Pop, group leader Darby Crash tore off his shirt and dove into the audience but failed to generate much excitement. The evening closed with a sloppy set by the Skulls. 

While still too primitive for most tastes, the best of these bands offer a valid, if incomsistant alternative to slick mainstream rock product. Ribert Hilburn will discuss Saturday's show on Tuesday.


From Basic Black #1:

"The first night of the benefit began with two short, average sets from the Flesheaters and the Controllers. The Zeros came on and the night started to pick up. Led by lead singer Hector Penalose, the Zeros gave one of the nights best performances. It was the perfect tine for the Screamers to come on. The poor lighting took away from Tomato's exciting stage presence, but the Screamer's set was, as always, great. The Bags turned in their usual strong performance, but the Screamers are a hard act to follow. Alice Douche Bag is great. The show began to die when the very wasted Germs came on. Lead singer Darbv Crash cut his body, jumped off the stage on to people's heads, (Strong Tggy tendencies) but could not manage to end songs at the same time as the rest of the band. Lastly, the Skulls care on."

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From The Los Angeles Times, Feb. 28, 1978: 

"The Screamers turned in the most individual and invigorating set of the weekend. While many outfits went after the high energy sound of the Sex Pistols, only the Screamers conveyed the Pistol's maniacal aura. Besides Du Planty, the group includes Tommy Gear on synthesizer, K.K. on drums and Jeff on piano. (The punk bands are big on first names and assumed names.)

"The Zeroes, from San Diego, are more mainstream than the Screamers, but the band has excellent stage presence and a tight, disciplined sound. Because of its tough, street wise stance, the Zeroes have been dubbed the Mexican Ramones."

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