Strung Out @ Bar Deluxe 08.17

Posted August 28, 2012 in
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Strung Out frontman Jason Cruz belted out the classics from the band's landmark '90s albims Suburban Teenage Wateland Blues and Twisted by Design at Bar Deluxe.

It always seems like a bit of a publicity stunt to see a band rehash old material for a special run—It can come off as exploitative. However, I wholeheartedly embraced when Strung Out came back by with their mid-to-late-’90s albums, Suburban Teenage Wasteland Blues and Twisted by Design. So did all my friends from the same era.

Fortunately, the $20 ticket price didn’t even phase the crowd of hundreds gathered in Bar Deluxe this last weekend to watch the group play some of my favorite albums. Almost every song elicited a huge applause, and the good ol-fashioned mosh pit was full of slam dancers practicing the ancient art of controlled collisions. After speaking with drummer Jordan Burns for our podcast I got more excited than I would usually about seeing the group.

Strung Out has always been well loved in this city—in the crowd, I noticed young and old fans of metal, and young and old punkers alike—a true testament to the diverse draw of a band some might credit for aiding the start of the pop/punk/hardcore crossover movement.

If you’re trying to imagine what the sound and performance was like plug in the two albums they toured with and listen in their entirety.  However, there isn’t a way to capture how fucking loud it was. It’s a sign of all our ages that the band was wearing earplugs (and I put some in as well midway through the show—these old soundholes can’t take the beating they used to). Also, the replication of the pure sonic waves that were traveling through all our bodies after each song’s resounding clapping, hooting and hollering reverberated through our bodies would be hard to recreate in your stereo. Try to picture that, too.

The guys were on the last leg of their tour and were showing some signs of wear. Gents in their late 30s and early to mid 40s cannot be expected to bust out the kind of shredding that this Simi Valley band did, but they almost pulled if off with flawless aplomb. The only other group of its ilk and age do such a feat that I’ve seen has been … well, nobody, actually.

Things are a little different beside the age factor. The group has changed directions over the years, and are focused more on a different style of music that is a little slower and more brooding. Watching them shred all their old songs made for an interesting juxtaposition from when I saw them on their Blackhawks Over Los Angeles (2007) tour. Come to think of it, that was five years ago. I can’t say for certain what their last album was like, because I didn’t listen to it. It also turns out that I’m a bigger fan of what they were doing in the ’90s than I am now.  That isn’t to say they aren’t still good songwriters, but it is nice to see them get in touch with their more speed-rocking roots.

Though some might think, as I did, that bands returning with novelty tours are a load of shit—don’t. It may just be the best show you’ll ever see from your favorite group.
 

Photos:
Strung Out frontman Jason Cruz belted out the classics from the band's landmark '90s albims Suburban Teenage Wateland Blues and Twisted by Design at Bar Deluxe. Bassist Chris Aiken Strung Out whipped the crowd into a frenzy.