Fans of the Circle Jerks have had to wait a long time to finally catch them live once again. After a decade break, the band reformed for some much anticipated shows only to have their 40th anniversary celebration scuttled by the pandemic. Two years later, the tour is finally off and running and proving that it was all well worth the wait.
With Detroit’s Negative Approach and the OGs from the OC Adolescents in tow, the San Francisco crowd packed the Fillmore and were more than happy to light up the pit as soon as the music hit while the scowliest of hardcore frontman John Brannon sneered at the mayhem.
Next up were the Adolescents who delivered an absolutely inspired performance, particularly fiery as people completely lost their shit to anything from their classic “blue album.” “Kids of the Black Hole” proved to be the perfect mic drop moment as set closer. But of course the real action was yet to come.
After a nonchalant stroll onto the stage followed by brief band member intros things escalated quickly as the Jerks launched right into “Deny Everything,” the already energized room went from about zero to 60 in three seconds flat and hardly missed a beat. Then there was barely a pause as the band tore right into “Letter Bomb.”
If you’ve had a chance to catch any of the Circle Jerks’ shows, you may have noticed that Keith’s onstage energy tends to directly correlate to what’s going on in front of him. On this particular evening, Keith was absolutely inspired, and although he likes to remind the crowd that he’s getting up there in age (66!), you’d never know it watching last nights performance, which, at least in part, is fueled by the might Joey Castillo behind the kit. The man is an absolute beast, and watching that dude beat the shit out of his drums during “Red Tape” is absolutely inspiring. Even Hetson was getting into the fun, jumping around like the old days.
Don’t let the wrinkles or the cushy tour bus parked out front fool you, the Circle Jerks have barely missed a beat after their extended hiatus. Their current tour underscores not only their continued relevance as one of the founders of hardcore, but the political relevance of their message. Throw in a pair of top-notch supporting acts, and you’ve got yourself a tour that is not to be missed.