Australia’s The Living End Crash Land at Seattle’s Crocodile Club w/ Two Great Punk Openers, by Holly Homan

It’s Tuesday night in Seattle and two great punk bands are playing at two different locations. Should I hang with the Irish and go see Stiff Little Fingers for their 40th anniversary tour or should I go to the Crocodile to see Australia’s The Living End. Decisions, decisions. Of all the 365 nights in a year, two great punk bands land in Seattle on the same night. I opted for the Living End. I’ve only seen them headline their own show once (last year) and I’d seen SLF a number of times. I wasn’t disappointed, but I sure wish I could have cloned myself.

The Living End hit the stage with so much energy, singer/guitarist Chris Cheney was dripping with sweat by the second song. It wasn’t long before bass player Scott Owen was soaked head to toe either. Andy Strachan slammed away on the drums as if his arms were stuck on 100 RPM, yet he not only didn’t seem to break a sweat, not one of his hairs ever looked out of place. On top of that, he was all charm for someone who slammed like a mad man.

This was a 21 and up show, but as I scanned the audience I didn’t see anyone who looked like they were under the age of 40 (except I brought my kids who are about to turn 24 & 28). This didn’t mean I didn’t get jostled about now and then. When the band played their signature song Prisoner of Society, there were actually a couple crowd surfers, one of whom was the drummer for opening band the Darts. The other was a large dude wearing a Rancid shirt who surfed the crowd, then tumbled onto the stage before diving back into the crowd.

During their song E-Boogie, Chris took a full bottle of beer and used it as a guitar slide, beer slopping out the top, before he took the remainder of the contents and chugged them in one long gulp, then used it as a slide once again.

Not to be outdone, Scott performed acrobats with his stand-up bass, often spinning it about and then standing on it, never missing a lick. Their set ended with Chris climbing onto the bass, still churning out chords on his signature White Falcon Gretch, with Scott kneeling on the floor and holding and playing said bass. For the encore they performed Uncle Harry (Pissing in the Bath) and my favorite, Second Solution.

Though this show was similar to last year’s, I really enjoyed seeing the Living End again. I’ve always had a crush on Chris and he still looks fine. The Living End are great musicians and great performers. I hope next time they play I don’t have to decide between two great punk bands.

Playing before the Living End was a band I’d never seen nor heard of called the Darts. Hailing from Phoenix & LA, this four-piece all female outfit was amazing!

Keyboardist Nicole Laurenne: organ, vocals performed most the vocal duties and never stayed in one place for more than two seconds. This may seem impossible while playing keyboards, but she played those keys often with one hand while holding a mic with the other, stretching her arm as far as it could reach. Other times she straddled the thing while still plunking out notes and holding the mic and other times she laid down on her back, pulling the entire keyboard unit onto her chest, still singing into a mic.

Bass player Christina Nunez sported a goth look with long straight black hair and bangs cut in a point. She twisted and writhed while churning out bass chords. Guitarist extraordinaire Michelle Balderrama was all energy as she leaped about the stage, her long hair whipping about and often covering her face. Drummer Rikki Styxx slammed away, yet not one strand of her shoulder length platinum hair ever looked tousled.

Whoever said girls can’t punk as hard as dudes has never seen the Darts. They were incredible.

Opening the night was Seattle’s own the Lucky Boys. Fronted by Kimi Cutthroat, she sported platinum pigtails, ripped black fishnet stockings, and was loaded with riot girl charm. Her feet must have burned holes in the stage as she flitted and bounced from one side to the other non-stop. Guitarist Beaux Bartron played so fast and furiously I was surprised his strings didn’t melt. Bass player Jak Bruce & Smokin’ Dave on drums added to the raw punk drive of the band’s sound. They ended their set with a punked up version of Devo’s Uncontrollable Urge (one of my all-time faves). These guys didn’t just warm up the stage for the next two bands, they left it a red hot smoldering cauldron.

My one complaint for the night was the sound mix. It was awful. The instruments often drowned out the vocals and whenever one of the musicians said something to the audience, it was difficult to understand what they said. But the bands were all fabulous and this was another fun night of punk rock.

– All photos property of Holly Homan, all rights reserved.

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