Agent Orange, the original southern California surf-infused punk band, tore it up at the Knitting Factory Saturday night. 30 years on (30!?!) these punks may have grown up, but they haven’t grown old.
Slam dancing, moshing, skanking…whatever you call it, a great mass of fans swirled in a counter-clockwise (always counter-clockwise. Why?) spin-cycle in the center of the crowd. Moving seemingly indiscriminately, bumping into each other, being pushed back into the center if they get too close to the edge of the circle, sometimes being pushed off balance and falling under the feet of the rest of the spinning crowd. At first glance it seems like a violent, rage-filled cauldron of bodies, yet a closer look reveals a strange sense of community. When one falls, someone nearby, a stranger, is quick to offer a hand to get them back to their feet and push them back into the roiling mass of sweaty bodies in motion.
Click past the jump for more, plus live video of an Agent Orange classic.
The frenetic energy on the floor was matched by the band on the stage. They hammered one punk classic after another as they fed off of the energy in the room. “Living In Darkness,” “Breakdown,” “Police Truck,” the heavily surf-influenced “I Kill Spies,” and of course the signature hit “Bloodstains.”
In the interest of full disclosure, it should be noted that I went on a North American tour with Agent Orange about 15 years ago. It was just about the best job I’ve ever had, and I still count those guys as friends. I’m glad to see they’ve been able to carry on, thrive even, without me. Should the call come, I am still ready to hit the road with them on a moment’s notice.