Agent Orange Blast Seattle’s El Corazon Into a Whole New Galaxy With Their Wild Punk Style, by Holly Homan

I couldn’t call myself a punk rocker if I didn’t go to see Agent Orange, so of course I made the trek to El Corazon on Sept 30 to do just that. I have never seen AO before, but as Bullwinkle J. Moose once said, there’s a first time for everything.

This So. Cal punk trio hit the stage with the energy of a rocket launch and never let up. As front man/founding member Mike Palm said, it’s crusty old punk tunes by crusty old punks. It was impossible to tell if the band or the audience had more energy. El Corozon is a tiny dive of a club and the stage is maybe 18 inches from the floor. This didn’t stop a few from running onto the stage and taking a flying leap back into the packed crowd. One dude got up, danced about the entire stage at least twice, then stopped to kiss Mike before diving back into the audience.

Mike was also non-stop humor throughout the show. He claimed their bass player (Perry Gx) could smell a hippie from a mile away. Then he added, but what are hippies but punks with long hair, before churning out the chords to their next song. One of the highlights was their rendition of the Dead Kennedys’ Police Truck, of which they did the utmost justice to. Drummer Dave Klein slammed away with such speed and such precision he might have been possessed by demons. I was smashed into the stage so many times I think my spine needs realignment. I keep thinking I have to stop going into mosh pits. My body is too beat up and too old, but I’m still having a lot of fun doing it. Despite the poor sound, I really had a fun time.

Playing prior to Agent Orange was Chicago Celtic punks Flatfoot 56. This time they had someone filling in on bagpipes (Shane Welch from a band called Rickshaw) as Eric McMahon could not make the show that night. What was truly amazing is that this was his first show with them but he played like he’d been with them for years. The entire band looks like they walked off a Highlands field after throwing the javelin around. They’re large, tall and stocky. Front man/vocalist Tobin Bawinkel must stand at least six-and-a- half feet, but he’s full of charm, his voice growly and rough.

I loved it when they did a medley of You Are My Sunshine/This Land Is Your Land/Dirty Old Town and back to You Are My Sunshine.

Guitar/mandolin player, Brandon Good was amazing. He often bounced about the stage in an almost pirouette and as he was about as wide as he was tall, he reminded me of a child’s spinning top toy. He never missed a note.

They ended their set with a rocked out Celtic version of I’ll Fly Away. I could tell many were seeing Flatfoot 56 for the first time and were very impressed. I think I’ve seen them four times and I was still impressed. The remainder of FF 56 are, Tobin’s brothers Kyle Bawinkel (bass, vocals), Justin Bawinkel (drums, vocals).

Prior to FF 56 was a band I saw for the first time called Get Dead. Lead Vocalist Sam King strutted and staggered all over the stage non-stop while grunting and growling and even screaming into the mic, yet exuding charisma. Drummer Scott Powell slammed so madly he was drenched in sweat by the third song. These guys were wild and a lot of fun. The rest of Get Dead are, Tim Mehew – Bass/Vocals, and David “Moki” Marino – Guitar/Vocals.

Prior to Get Dead was Tacoma’s own Hilltop Rats. This was my third time seeing them (second time within a month) and they keep getting wilder and more fun. Their songs ranged from pretty hard-core punk to a more pop punk sound and they were as full of humor as ever. Some guy who looked like a cross between Slash & Joey Ramone got on stage with them for a rocking version of the Ramones’ Blitzkrieg Bop. Meanwhile, some dude who had to be at least 50 kept getting on the stage and diving back into the audience. There weren’t many in attendance at this point, but those few who were, caught him each time. This is a band that is definitely on the up and up. The HT Rats are, Vocals: Zac D, Guitar: Josh Emmett, Guitar: Aaron Williams, Bass: Justin Crandall and Mike Parker on drums.

Opening the entire evening was Seattle’s Acid Teeth. They didn’t just warm up the stage. They set it afire with rocket fuel. I swear I even smelled smoke coming from the stage when their set was barely started. It was good to see them as always. This is another band that is on the rise.

If Acid Teeth had ignited the stage with rocket fuel, then all the bands that night only added to the flames and the entire club would have been in the next galaxy before the night was over. That’s punk rock!

– Photos property of Holly Homan, all rights reserved.

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