RANCID – by pr!
In the beginning, there was Operation Ivy, a small ska type band out of Berkley, in California, known for their energy filled music and shows at Gilman. After releasing a few EP’s, and self-martyring themselves to future superstars like Green Day, they did what any moderately popular band does: break up. Jessie, the voice of Op Ivy, split to seek inner peace. Dave, the drummer, went on to other bands, while Lint (known today as Tim Armstrong) and Matt became the guitar and bass sound of Dance Hall Crashers. While they did play shows, this only lasted for a few weeks. In the year following DHC, and between a drug and alcohol induced haze, Tim found time to head Downfall, a band who recorded on Lookout! but will never see a print, due to the fact that Tim won’t give permission to release it. Soon after, Tim, Matt, Lars Fredricson and Brett Reed ended up forming Rancid, a band who initially released an EP on Lookout! and Fat Wreck Chords, but ended up signing on to Epitaph (and to his future label, Hellcat) to create the punk rock hits we all know and love. So Operation Ivy and Rancid have a few things in common. Now, they have another: I don’t have live shots of either band.
I arrived to the show around 9:20pm that night, amidst a crowd of patches and spikes. Rancid had just finished playing (two shows that night, 5:30pm and 9:30pm), so naturally there were a few hundred people standing around among ‘Canes security and a few police cars. I passed Lars, who was apparently out mingling around, and attempted to retrieve my photo pass, which I was denied. Apparently, according to the man they call Bushman, this club is usually pretty cool about press, but not tonight. No camera! Bigfoot guarding the door passes presents an identical message, so Deckle (friend) and I head inside. Apparently, Distillers have already played, which sucks, because I dig the new CD (out now on Hellcat) and was looking forward to checking them out. Hit the bar for an hour, occasionally stepping in to check out AFI for a song. They’re not really my type of music, but everyone in the crowd were getting nutty, so it looked like a good set. Delays awaited Rancid, and it took about 45 minutes to get them on after AFI. You know when the roadies come out to set shit up a couple people think it’s the band, and they start yelling and screaming, then shut up when they figure it out? Plenty of those idiots were here. The band finally arrives onstage, and the whole place lights up. Tim Armstrong steps to the mic sporting those 80’s brown sunglasses and a blue bandanna, looking less like a punk’er and more like Axl Rose. I would have a picture but FUCKING CANES WOULD NOT LET ME TAKE IN MY CAMERA EVEN WITH A PHOTO PASS, AND FOR SOME REASON THIS ASSHOLE NEXT TO ME HAS A CAMERA! Anyhow, this was one of the best sets of Rancid I have ever seen. Started out playing songs off their first self titled CD, then mixing songs mostly taken from Lets Go and Out Come the Wolves, occasionally throwing in a new song or two off their recent release. About every fifth song, Lars would play it solo with the crowds participation on the vocals. Everything sounded great, although in certain parts of the songs Tim wouldn’t sing into the mic, but the crowd was following along the whole time. The music was tight, and it became an impressive hour set considering they just played a few hours earlier. They left to a shouting crowd, and returned to play two more songs. Defiantly see Rancid if you can, you won’t regret it. Thanks to Charlie for hooking a brother up, no thanks to ‘Canes for refusing my camera.