HoZac Blackout Fest: The Avengers, Sweet Knives, Nervosas, Thing, Gross Pointe | Empty Bottle | Rock, Pop, Etc | Chicago Reader

HoZac Blackout Fest: The Avengers, Sweet Knives, Nervosas, Thing, Gross Pointe Member Picks Early Warnings (Music) Soundboard Recommended Image

When: Sat., May 16, 9 p.m. 2015

For me, San Francisco’s the Avengers exist in a sacred space reserved for a select few (Kerouac, Monty Python, the Minutemen), because they helped point to the “Way Out” of an American suburban purgatory filled with endless television spectacles and resigned boredom. To this day, 25 years after a friend in my neighborhood threw on the four-piece’s legendary self-titled album (and nearly 40 years after the bulk of it was recorded), the impassioned fury in songs like “Car Crash” and “I Believe in Me” gives me spine tingles, and Greg Ingraham’s guitar solo in “Thin White Line” remains one of my all-time favorites. Even now, when my more sophisticated (albeit tinnitus-afflicted) ears pick out the influences of “TV Eye” in this bass line or “Baby Talk” in that guitar riff, the music still sounds as original and urgent. Penelope Houston’s vocalizations of lyrics on classic themes of teenage alienation, rage, and self-reliance stand the test of time, whereas so much punk rock that came after—most 80s hardcore, most 90s pop-punk, and pretty much every 21st-century sub-sub-post-indie-blah-whatever piece of horse shit championed by pompous music blogs—hasn’t, or won’t. Yes, many years have passed since their initial heyday between ’77 and ’79, and yes, shows with reunited punk legends are always a crap shoot (there ought to be a Here’s a Half-Assed Performance Because We’re Only Doing This for the Money stage at Riot Fest), but the Avengers transcend mere nostalgia, and this should be a Blackout performance for the ages. —Brian Costello

Price: $20, $40 for three-day pass

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