Sounding the 805

Punk’s not dead (in Ventura bars), and deathmetal haunts the Red Cove

By Chris Mastrovito 10/21/2010

For those who thought the scene for over-21 punk shows would suffer a blow with the demise of the once great Take 2 bar in Ventura, they need only take 10 steps to Billy O’s, the enduring venue for free 805 shows that is really picking up the slack. Last Friday, it hosted one of the biggest punk rock parties in recent memory, with a serving of equal parts Nardcore and unabashed Black Sabbath worship. New local Ventura band Grizzly Shark, featuring members of T.F.W., Heavy Artillery and Hit the Deck, played an impressive opening set of pissed-off, minute-long songs, ending its rapid-fire schedule of October shows in Ventura and Santa Barbara, where it opened twice for Netherlands thrashcore masters Vitamin X. Oakland’s Lecherous Gaze, featuring members of the acclaimed Santa Barbara punk/neo-’70s rock band Annihilation Time, whipped up a frenzy of long-haired moshing; and later, the crowd was also treated to a one-time reunion of the Oxnard hardcore band Ahh Da Beeyas, one of the many bands featured on the recent Nardcore: 30 Years Later compilation. A beer-soaked haze carried fans through sets by Oxnard’s El Mariachi (definitely not Mariachi), Santa Barbara’s Blasting Concept and Texas punks A.N.S.

At the other end of Main Street in Ventura, Bombay Bar and Grill also raged last Friday with a well-above-average head count of rockabilly clientele for a free show featuring Santa Cruz’s The Chop Tops, Mad Dog and the Smokin J’s from Colorado and Oxnard’s own Radio Threat. It seems that Stay Gold Promotions, the once staple band booker for The Dirty (formerly The Dirty Vinyl) has mysteriously severed its partnership with that venue and has moved most of its shows over to Bombay, in the heart of downtown Ventura, as well as the Whale’s Tail in Channel Islands Harbor.

Meanwhile, Pistol Productions, promoter of this weekend’s Ink for a Cause tattoo convention, has quickly stepped in to fill The Dirty’s schedule of live music, including the convention’s official pre- and post-parties this weekend (sure to feature the upright bass and enough gallons of pomade to match all the bands by weight). The two promoters’ shared objective of rounding up the rockabilly/psychobilly scene in Ventura County should soon make for some healthy and interesting competition, and I am eager to see what both have up their tattooed sleeves.

There’s nothing like some good deathmetal to celebrate Halloween, and this year fans of metal and mayhem should head over to the Red Cove in Ventura on Friday, Oct. 29, where Crypt Infection, Burning at the Stake and Fatalist, as well as L.A.’s The Dolemite Project (headed by Dismal Dan from Crematorium), will be serving up some frightening music for the demonically inclined. With Daniel Dungeon from The Dungeon Awaits radio show spewing out fog, lights and, of course, plenty of depraved banter and corpse resurrection spells between sets, it’s the perfect pre-party for all you disturbed headbangers out there. Come in costume, even if spiked gauntlets or capes are normally part of your wardrobe.

Sounding the 805 is Ventura County’s only biweekly local music column. If you have a tip, a suggestion, a complaint, some dish or just a kind word, shoot Chris Mastrovito an e-mail.


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