Agent Orange | El Corazon | 19 July 2007
What’s that saying? Old punks don’t die, they…actually I don’t think there is a saying, but Agent Orange are old punks, that certainly haven’t died. The band has been around since the very early 80’s. Today, Mike Palm is the only original member of the band, but he was the singer and guitarist and so Mike Palm with any bass player and drummer is Agent Orange. Back in high school, I was a huge Agent Orange fan, right around the time that This is the Voice came out. I was land locked in Ohio and young so I never had a chance to see this seminal Orange County, California band live in their heyday. Agent Orange have always been called a skate-punk band, but I always thought, they were more of a post punk surf band, with their pension of covering old surf classics like Miserlou and Pipeline mixed with catchy and raw anthemic originals like Bloodstains, the Last Goodbye, It’s in Your Head made them truly unique for their time.
Because the band has been around for so long I wasn’t quite sure what to expect for the show. Would it be aging punk rockers, or a bunch of kids with some appreciation for the past?It was all ages Friday night, and there seemed to be a lot of young punks in the house. It was kind of funny, all the old punks were up on the little mezzanine rocking out in their own space and all the young ones down on the floor, moshing and stage diving to their sweaty heart’s content. Mike Palm and the band seemed to be genuinely having a great time running through nearly all the old classics. The biggest cheer of the night came for Bloodstains, which is used in Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater video game, but the crowd pretty much went wild for everything they did off of 1981’s Living in Darkness.The parade of stage divers seemed to be endless but it didn’t phase the band in the least, with a couple brave souls even taking over mic on the chorus of Bloodstains. When one diver misjudged and dove over the people in front landing head first onto the floor, the band played on like this is probably a constant occurrence for them. The unlucky diver did finally get up and made it out, hunched over and rubbing his noggin.
Palm still looks good, even though he’s put on a few pounds since the 80’s. He still can play and his voice sounds great as well. He dedicated Secret Agent Man to Alexander Litvinenko and Too Young to Die to the people killed in the Brazilian air crash, saying they were all “Too Young to Die”, and even threw in a Wierdos cover for good measure. The gig was a total blast and made me feel like I took a step back in time to the punk shows I did go to back then, from the nasty stench of sweat the permeated the air as I walked in to the club, to the camaraderie of the moshers and stage divers. Everyone was singing along and having a blast, young and old punks alike. I for one am glad these old punks are still around.
Here are a couple mp3’s of some of my favorite Agent Orange songs, all of which got played Friday night.