A line of punkers dotted the block in downtown Fullerton, black clothing creating a dark wave as far as the eye could see… until you got to the guy in the banana costume. What an excellent start to a night of punk perfection.
Since Punk in the Park was happening in the same county the following day, this had the feeling of a small club show like they have at Punk Rock Bowling. This seems like a fantastic idea for bands since punk fans are already in the area and everyone wants to get their punk on as quickly as possible!
Walking into the small, dive-bar setting was a long-bar area and many booths which would be occupied quickly since not everyone was up for being on their feet all night.
Fine Dining got the music started, and the crowd’s bodies began moving in synchronicity to the beat. With their heavy guitar and harder punk sound, they primed the crowd just right for a night of punk rock.
Orange County’s own Chaser took the stage and hopped right in to “Fight of Our Lives.” The upbeat lyrics put smiles on everyone’s faces, but didn’t stop the circle pit from tearing through the crowd like a Texas tornado. Fan favorite “2020” was next, followed by “Good Times.”
At one point, front-man Mike LeDonne had the crowd hold him up and carry him around the room. It was enjoyable to see everyone working together to keep the crooner above their heads.
It was also extra exciting since the ceiling was only about three inches above his face, so watching him literally fight to not smash his face on the popcorn ceiling kept it unique.
Chaser ended their set with “Something in the Water,” and at this point, the room was hot and people were ready for a water break.
Once Deviates began, people came out of the woodwork to pit it up for their first song, “My Life.” “The End” started up with its identifiable bass guitar, and the crowd was engulfed in non-stop movement in the small club.
There were fans that sang every word to every song, and it was obvious they were listening to music from the soundtrack of their life once “Right Back to You” started.
Deviates’ big hit off their latest album, “The Liar,” was played second to last. Fans knew it was getting close to the end, so they really let loose. Arms were flying, people were dancing, drinks were being spilled, and fun was being had.
Finishing off the set with “Come With Me,” the band left it all on the stage. Front-man Brian Barbara ducked from under the red stage curtain, leaned in to the crowd, and sang directly to fans’ faces.
It was equally as hot and sweaty for the band under the red lights as it was for the fans, and you didn’t know if you were slipping on a spilled drink or sweat, but none of it mattered because you just witnessed one of the most exciting and highly-sought after punk shows ever. A show that you will be able to talk about for many years to come.