The Vandals – Live At The House of Blues Anaheim – Review

The Vandals

Live At The House of Blues Anaheim (Kung Fu)
By Ewan Wadharmi

Faster than The Dickies, more prolific than S.O.D., able to leap the Surf Punks in a single bound… OK scratch that. Here’s the real deal, thrill seekers: A lawyer, a painter, a beer distributor, and a former G&F’nR drummer walk into a band…

What you know about The Vandals is the goofy, light-hearted approach they have to the too serious genre of pop punk. What you don’t know is how effortlessly Dave Quackenbush delivers his punchlines. Watching his performance, you’ll begin to recognize all the bastard children he’s spawned. From NOFX to They Might Be Giants, his musical loins have been very procreative. And there’s something very gratifying about seeing Josh Freese and Warren Fitzgerald squander their immense talents on a silly band just to have a bit of fun.

The audience, of course, knows every word from early material like “Pizza Man” to the recent “Soccer Mom.” The show is heavy on ’98’s Hitler Bad, Vandals Good which showcases their finest Kids In The Hall tribute, “I’ve Got an Ape Drape” (the second finest being “It’s a Fact”). Before mullet-bashing came to the masses, The Vandals were there. The DVD is great to watch once, but the choppy editing and weak sound makes the CD preferable. Eight or ten camera angles are spliced every few seconds with no sense of rhythm or importance. All told, there’s probably five full minutes of Freese’s sock. What makes the visuals worthwhile is Fitzgerald making a complete ass of himself. The guy falls down more than Peter Murphy and Ian Astbury put together. The culminating encore is his spotlight for Captain Sensible meets Richard Simmons shenanigans. The banter between the members demonstrates the quick wit that spawned these songs in the first place. And if you don’t get enough during the show, the commentary track is one of the few worth sitting through.
(PO Box 38009 Hollywood, CA 90038)