I have seen the future and its name is Everything Must Go. The Oakland quartet, fronted by the irascible Jake Hout, is quite possibly the Bay Area punk rock's scene's next breakout act-proud heirs to the legacy of such legendary groups as the Dead Kennedys, Flipper, Green Day, Rancid, A.F.I., and Neurosis. Maximum Rock & Roll called them "Oakland's best band in years," and I tend to agree.
To be honest, I never really paid much attention to the underground/warehouse/indie music scene in Oakland, being more of a hip-hop head, albeit with a certain fondness for classic heavy rock (early UFO/Maiden/Bon Scott-era AC/DC). But this past Independence Day, I was a bit fed up with the typical holiday routine. I wanted to experience something truly liberating. And it was thus that I ended up at the Pyrate Punx' 4th of July blowout at the Red Hot compound in Ghostown, sipping on $1 PBRs and watching bands all day.
There were some cool acts throughout the afternoon, like Cycloptopus and the Can-Cannibals (a punk burlesque team). But after the sun went down and Everything Must Go took to the rooftop stage, it quickly became clear that everything before was just prelude. This was the show. More than just hyper-aggressive and hyper-attitudinal, Hout and his bandmates--drummer Ed Ho, guitarist Brian Hood, and bassist Jason Lucero put on a performance not soon forgotten, resonating with sonic fury.
Though they had the punk "look" down pat and weren't unamenable to striking iconic poses or thrusting their instruments high into the air with every ringing power chord, EMG weren't just posing. To paraphrase the Sex Pistols, they mean it, man. Hout in particular pranced around like a man possessed, teetering on the edge of the rooftop with maniacal glee, jumping down into the crowd, setting off fireworks, and even lighting ol' Stars-and-Stripes on fire at one point. More than just being provocative, EMG really connected with the crowd; this wasn't just loud, raucous noise, they made a statement, and a cathartic one at that.
Curious to learn more, I checked EMG's MySpace page, and found this description about the band, which started in 2000: "Generally speaking the greater scene of Punk Rock in Oakland at the time was actually just metal, and sucked for the most part besides. The mission of Everything Must Go was to revive some of the showmanship, danger, sexuality and goddamn fun to the Bay Area's underground music scene." I had to chuckle when I saw the influences they listed: "alcohol, drugs, and evil-minded women." LOL.
Like I said earlier, I'm not a huge fan of this type of music. But
you can bet your bottom dollar I'm going to try to be in the house on
July 10, when Hout and the boys bring their act to the Uptown, opening up for the Angry Samoans. Oughtta be a riot.