Wednesday, Sept. 22

One of the most important avenues for the development of a punk-rock scene—after a basement in which to practice—is the in-store performance. It is a vital element to up-and-coming rock scenes.

The world is slowly extinguishing this fundamental cog, as people turn more and more toward the Internet for their music needs. But the record store is more than just a place to pick up records; it is a place to converge. Young bands need a place to play. Tucson is lucky to have some well-organized youth collectives, but nothing beats the experience of hoisting record and CD displays into the corner to make room for bands to play for an audience on the floor of a store—not for money, but because it needs to be done.

There have been few local events more D.I.Y. than a recent performance by three bands at Toxic Ranch Records. The show started late, and there was confusion about who was going to provide a microphone, yet the place was packed for the promise of free punk rock.

Negative Feedback opened the show with a tight set of early-'80s-sounding hardcore. Due to the limitations of the amp, it was difficult to make out the vocals clearly, but the singer's voice came across as angry and frantic. A cover of the DYS classic "Wolfpack" stood out and gave context to the influence of Boston hardcore on the sound of the band.

Truancy followed in a similar vein, providing one- to two-minute blasts of tight hardcore. While both bands played short, furious sets, what made Truancy so compelling was all of the energy emanating from the band's 13-year-old singer. If the show had taken place earlier in the day, the name Truancy could have been taken quite literally.

The Boogie Nazis closed the show, pulling from a unique repertoire of surf riffs—great stuff for a young surf band living so far from the beach; the desert could do well to inspire such surf music.

All three bands were young, loud and snotty. For a packed in-store crowd, that's all that is needed. The rest falls into place.


More by Billups Allen


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