Show Review: Punk Rock at the Alano

For the past few months, a new all-ages space has popped up in Santa Barbara providing a venue for punk shows hosted by the Alano Club. The Alano Club is a nonprofit organization that provides people with drug and alcohol recovery a clean and safe space for social gatherings. The Alano has hosted a handful of shows at this point in time, I finally had the opportunity to attend one.

The show started early, ended early, and ran on a tight schedule. Unfortunately, I still have a day job and had work right before the show started so I was unable to make it on time to catch all the bands. Nonetheless, I heard through the grapevine that, local Santa Barbara punk veterans, La Vasa kicked off the show with a secret set that was not originally billed on the flyer. This was actually a special set considering they seemed to have been on an indefinite hiatus for the past few years. La Vasa announced their official last show a few weeks ago for the next day at the Cliff Room. It seemed appropriate that they hopped onto this show last minute as another band that performed later on in the night consists of La Vasa members.

I was not able to catch the official opening act of the night, local thrash/punk band from Santa Barbara/Ojai Dead End Cemetary. I was pretty bummed that I missed them but, I have seen them in the past and I can attest that they shred.

I arrived at the Alano Club right at the start of the third bands set. The Alano is located a few blocks away from downtown State Street. The main room is a plain hall with a high ceiling, wooden floors, and adorned with various phrases and slogans on the walls of the AA variation. The show took place in the main room, it was brightly lit and the smell of coffee wafted through the air throughout the night. This is not a place designed for shows, there is no stage or sound system, nonetheless, most punk shows aren’t typically held in conventional venues. All of the bands played their sets right on the ground at eye level with the crowd.

Gary was the third band of the night. Gary is a local supergroup ska/ punk band from Santa Barabra which consists of members of La Vasa, Petmedz, and Courtney & The Heathens. They played songs that consisted of fast ska/punk rifts with husband/wife duo Courtney and Jeb on vocals. At one point the singer/guitarist Jeb announced the track, “talking through my teeth”, a song about drinking, and did not skip a beat to point out the irony. Unfortunately, both the bassist and drummer are moving but hopefully, that does not deter the remaining members from moving forward.

Up next was Ventura, CA self-proclaimed proto-punk rockers The Robot Uprising. They are reminiscent of old-school Nardcore with a splash of thrash. For the most part, the band blasted through their set fairly quickly. However, vocalist Tony Cortez did take a moment to introduce one of their faster songs about social anxiety called, “Everyday is like Christmas”. It created a somber tone yet struck a chord of self-reflection.

There are moments when shows tend to feel like, for some reason, the crowd is of a certain age group. This show broke through that tendency in that there were people who were older, some of those same folks even brought their kids, as well as teenagers. The last performance of the night was by Santa Barbara punk locals Plot. Plot brought the energy to the Alano with their straightforward hardcore punk. As soon as they tore into their set a bunch of kids from the crowd started moshing. It certainly soothes my soul to see an all-ages venue in this town as well as the next generation of punks, and the veterans, participating and attending local events.

If you are interested in more information for these bands then you can check them out at the following links:
– La Vasa
https://lavasa.bandcamp.com/

– Dead End Cemetary
https://deadendcemeteryband.bandcamp.com/releases

– Gary
No links available 🙁

– Robot Uprising
https://www.facebook.com/T.R.U.Headquarters/

– Plot
https://plotofficial.bandcamp.com/

This show took place on 5/19/18