Sunday, February 11, 2018 at The Viper Room was a night of checking out bands that I had never seen live before. Other than the always-wonderful Bad Cop/Bad Cop, I had not heard or seen any of the bands that opened for them. The worst case scenario was that all of them were terrible, but at least I knew Bad Cop/Bad Cop would come through. That was not the case, however. In fact, all five acts were quite good at this show.
The first act was a band called Fare Game. At this show they were a trio, but apparently, they are actually a four-piece. They leaned more into the pop-punk side of things, and while I wasn’t too familiar with their material, they did sing and play their hearts out. What did impress me, however, was band’s cover of “Sassafras Roots” by Green Day — wherein the guitarist inserted a wailing solo.
Following Fare Game came The Glam Skanks. And while this was pretty much billed as a punk show, that didn’t seem to be this band’s M.O. From what I could tell, The Glam Skanks got a lot of their influence from The New York Dolls, but they impressively played songs from a pretty wide spectrum of sub-genres of rock ‘n roll such as surf, rockabilly, blues and a bunch more. Armed with their glittery instruments, the band played songs like “Fuck Off,” “Karma” and “Bad Bitch.” They got wild to the point where the guitarist jumped into the crowd during a guitar solo towards the end of the set.
Then, the show went from traditional rock ‘n roll to hardcore punk when The Venomous Pinks took the stage. With tons of energy and pure aggression, the band put on an exciting performance with songs like “Never Say Never,” “Radar,” plus a very brief cover Joan Jett’s “Bad Reputation,” which was awesome. I’m particularly glad I managed to catch the Pinks this time around because I totally (and regrettably) missed them at Punk Rock Bowling 2017. Their set was hands down the most intense of the night — enough to get me to buy one of their EPs after the show.
While The Venomous Pinks really upped the aggression factor of the overall show, Go Betty Go was the surprise of the night. I was totally impressed with this pop-punk band. Their tunes were catchy, they had fantastic stage presence and they just gave off this aura of positivity that you don’t get too much of from bands in the scene. Go Betty Go’s incredibly fun set included their songs “Saturday,” “C’mon” and “The Pirate Song.” Unexpectedly, towards the end of their set, the band brought up their former lead singer Emily to the stage to sing a couple of songs as well. It was a hell of a way to end a performance.
I’ve mentioned before that I have been following Bad Cop/Bad Cop for a few years, beginning just as they signed to Fat Wreck Chords. A good portion of their shows that I have been to either took place in tiny venues like The Redwood Bar & Grill or they have opened for bigger acts like Propagandhi, The Adolescents and Me First And The Gimme Gimmes.
For me, this particular Bad Cop/Bad Cop show at The Viper Room was totally surreal. Here — on the stage as headliners — was a local band that I have been following and writing about for quite some time, growing exponentially in the last year-and-a-half, now selling out a venue.
Every time I see Bad Cop/Bad Cop’s on-stage performance it is always better than the last — this one included. A lot of their set list featured songs from the band’s newest record Warriors, which was released last year through Fat Wreck Chords. This included “Retrograde,” “Victoria,” “Broken” and “Warriors.” They did manage to throw in some of their older tunes like “Rodeo” and “Cheers” as well. There was so much tangible energy in the venue that a mosh pit broke out at least twice. And finally, the band ended the night with their song “Support” from their first full-length Not Sorry.