Words & Photos by Greg Jacobs
On Friday, May 12, I went to see Joyride, One Hit Wonder and Wicked Wives at Alex’s Bar in Long Beach. It’s pretty rare for me to get to a show early enough to see all of the bands on the bill. But I did it.
Opening the show was The Wicked Wives. Tonight I discovered that I am a Wicked Wives groupie, because I’ve been to ALL of their shows. ALL TWO of their shows. Both at Alex’s Bar. Last time I reviewed them I called them a “punky, roots, trio” and I’m trying to think of a different way to say that as I think it’s a good description. Jenni McElrath and Beth Carmelli (both from the band Red 5) trade off on lead and backing vocals and with acoustic and electric guitars. Their songs have a rootsy feel with a punk rock backbone that are held down by Matt Yansch on drums (seated this time, standing last time). No bass required.
Next up was One Hit Wonder (OHW). Fronted by The Adolescents guitar player, Dan Root, on guitar and vocals, these guys are a straight up punk rock band … I don’t mean they play 100 miles per hour and scream, I mean 1980’s style, melodic punk rock. Distorted guitars, call and response backing vocals, punk rock. The good stuff. They even snuck in a Stiff Little Fingers cover, and any band doing Stiff Little Fingers gets an A+ in my book.
We interrupt this rock show review for a TMZ moment: Spotted in the crowd tonight were members of No Doubt, Social Distortion, Rocket From The Crypt, Don’t No, Cadillac Tramps and probably several others that I didn’t recognize. Now back to the review…
Joyride headlined tonight. They’ve been around since The Adolescents took a hiatus back in 1989 and are fronted by Adolescents bass player and unanimous winner of “nicest guy ever” award, Steve Soto. Steve shares lead vocal duties with guitar player Greg Antista. These guys are straight up pop punk from the ’90s. They have great songs with melodies, crunchy guitars and singers who can actually sing. I have to confess that I do not own any Joyride records, so I can’t name any of the songs they played, but I can tell you that many people were singing along and everyone was having a great time.
One Hit Wonder
The Wicked Wives