The Adolescents formed more than 30 years ago and proved themselves key players in the L.A. punk scene; since then, that influence has been heard internationally. With a resume that spans three decades, it’s no surprise that the lineup didn’t retain all of the original members, but vocalist Tony Cadena and bassist Steve Soto have never felt the need to permanently walk away from the Adolescents. Meanwhile, Dan Root, a longtime friend of the original members, stepped up to play guitar, and this particular tour was graced with the presence of Gilbert Pichardo wailing on guitar and Mike Cambra pounding on drums.
The crowd was smaller than one might have expected, but the size of the crowd was certainly no indication of its loyalty. From the minute the first note was heard and Cadena’s harsh vocals blasted through the venue speakers, the crowd listened attentively. The audience even seemed grateful for the opportunity to slam along to “I Hate Children,” and “One Nation, Under Siege.” Cadena lost himself in the performance and there were a few moments where he appeared to be lost in a daydream, or perhaps a flashback of an early Orange County show, as he exchanged glances with Steve.
“Rip It Up” was a crowd favorite, as evidenced by the violent circle pit that broke out as everyone chanted “Do you think you’re tough/’Cause you gotta rip it up/Gotta rip you up, gotta rip it up/gotta rip it up, gotta rip it up.” These moments were the ones were a bystander could see how well-suited the band’s name really is, with lyrics fueled by teen angst and blind, puberty-filled rage. And almost as though in a movie, at this point, an audience member turned to his neighbor in the sardined crowd and exclaimed, “Man, this band never disappoints.” They clinked their beer bottles together and returned their attention to the stage.
The set closed with a cover of the Dead Boys’ “Sonic Reducer,” an accurate sentiment with its blunt declarations of “I don’t need anyone” and “Ain’t no loser.” Overall, the entire set proved that there should be no hesitation when purchasing a ticket to see The Adolescents; they are just as relevant and high-energy as they were thirty years ago and effective at bringing punk rock back to its roots and breathing some life back into the scene.