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Bastards of Young at Javalounge

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Growing up in Sacramento, my high school years were infiltrated with punk music. I can still remember piling into Bojangles on Folsom Boulevard or Capitol Garage when it was on L Street and dancing my heart out, getting pushed all over the place and loving every minute of it.

Bastards of Young
So, when Bastards of Young, Hounds and Harlots, Union Hearts and Dead Dads played for an all ages crowd at Javalounge on Tuesday, I thought I knew what I was in for: A lot of moshing and screaming was in order.

Boy, was I wrong. I arrived at the show with mixed emotions. While I was eager to get back to my punk rock roots, I knew what an obnoxious fan I was at the ripe age of 16 and did not feel like having an arm waved in my face all night with some girl yelling, “Dude…the drummer is sooo hot!”

But then again, this wasn’t like the punk shows I attended.

The crowd topped off at about 40, which was near full capacity for a venue that can only hold up to 49 people. And these 40 people were scattered throughout the venue, comfortably. There were a few at the cashier and a few on the sidelines, whether in couches, seated in chairs or against the wall.

The stage was set up so that all the band members except the drummer were on ground level, playing a foot away from the crowd. One swift move from a fan and the microphone stand was going down. Moshing was not an option.

Aside from the head bobbing and foot tapping throughout the show, the audience was still, completely focused on the bands. There were no cell phones out and no talking within the crowd, which proved that you don’t need to dance to feel the music.

Dead Dads
Dead Dads, whose members have been playing together since early November, was the first band to play for the mellow crowd. The band was made up of four members, with a female drummer. The band maintained their pop-punk sound and while they poked fun and laughed while on stage, they remained focused throughout their entire set.

By their last song, they got hyped up and started playing a little faster. Bassist Joe Friday announced that this song was for “anyone who’s been shut down by the cops” and started dancing.

“I think it was a good set,” Friday said afterward. “Granted that we only practiced once before the show, I think it was a good show tonight.”

After that set was over,the crowd headed outside for the intermission and the audience members over 21 headed to Slice of Broadway next door to get their fill of alcohol since there was none at the venue.

Booking Manager and doorman Lob Instagon reported that they hope Javalounge will have its alcohol license by next Dec. 30.

Union Hearts
Next up was Union Hearts, whose members were grateful for everyone coming out during the holiday season. “Thank you for coming out so close to Christmas,” they told the crowd.

Lead singer Brian Hanover said he wasn’t worried about the lack of alcohol – he was looking for another type of beverage.

“Who here needs water? This guy does,” he joked with the crowd. “It’s been a long time since I’ve had my gums stick to my teeth.”

They carried on the jovial vibe onstage, and while they played faster and edgier music, the crowd remained the same. Hanover ended the set by tapping his guitar on the amp.

“I think it was loose,” Hanover said after the set, “but we had a good time, and that’s what we’re all about.”

Hanover, who was the frontman for Hanover Saints, said he knows not to take his music too seriously.

“You let the sounds resonate it, you know,” he said. “Live through the sound and not what you think it should sound like. I guess that’s why it’s punk in some ways.”

Hounds and Harlots
When San Francisco band Hounds and Harlots got on stage, the crowd died down to about 20 people. But they played every song with as much heart as if they were playing a packed venue.

Covered in sweat and with smiles on their faces, they played “Divisadero,” a song about anyone who has to leave home and go to a job, one way or another. And this, they explained, is exactly what they were doing.

Bastards of Young closing the show
Then, it was time for Bastards of Young, and that is when the camaraderie between bands really showed. Initially, they had some difficulties with the microphone cord. Hounds and Harlots came to the rescue, and it was time to go again.

They had a solid sound throughout their set, and their music stayed at the same pace, which got the crowd moving a little bit more. Three of the four band members also played in Hanover Saints, so when there was heckling from audience members, it was obvious that this was a close-knit community.

So close-knit, in fact, that guitarist Sean Hills kicked a wayward audience member who attempted to smoke inside.

Sean Hills, pictured center
Hills, who said he could name 90 percent of the audience members, thinks the punk scene is the best it’s ever been.

“We all support each other,” he said. “It’s more than just music, it’s a music community.”

Thinking back, it was that sense of community that drew me into the Sacramento punk scene in the first place.

Joe Friday will be playing with his other bands Future Daydream and Matt Judy at the Javalounge on Jan. 7 at 4:00 pm. The Union Hearts will be playing at the Blue Lamp on Jan. 24

Jan. 23
. Bastards of Young and Dead Dads will being playing with fellow local punk band City of Vain at Press Club on Jan. 30.

Editorial Note: Corrections have been made to this article after it was published.

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