By Jeremy Hallock
By James Khubiar
By Observer Staff
By Kelly Dearmore
By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
Things were promising when I limped in toward the end of Gym Class Dropouts' set of unexceptional but tight mall punk. Just a bunch of well-scrubbed high school kids psyched up and jumping around stage playing Sum 182 pop but not a bad opener for a club that lets so many amateur lames onstage.
Ever since the diabetes diagnosis, I've dreaded the onset of blindness. Well, I finally noticed it during Before the Fall's set, when I wasn't able to spot a single nonverbal cue conveying irony or sarcasm. Surely anyone claiming punk status would have smirked or winked after calling Bon Jovi a "really good band" and covering "Living on a Prayer," but my eyes failed to detect it. Of course, if neckties and $100 haircuts are now part of any punk sub-genre's dress code, the blindness can't come fast enough. Think I'm gonna buy some ribbon candy and licorice to speed it along.
I'm too old to hit on Rockett Queen's bimbo rocker-chick fans--hell, I'm too old to hit on their moms--so the band and their handlers don't have my demographic in mind, but I still call horseshit on those pansies. Their show was nothing but soulless, pandering, cookie-cutter arena rock, complete with a guys-against-girls contest to see who could shout the chorus of "Too Rock for Radio" loudest (they followed their script and declared a tie). The band photographer's constant camera flashes sent me into an epileptic fit that made me look almost as silly as the band's high-kicking and underbite-sneering camera mugging.
But what really got my goat was that the little manorexics and their fans didn't stick around for the night's headliners. I guess they wanted to get started on that long drive back to Tyler, and their groupies must have had midnight shifts at The Fare. That's their loss, because Skylines End put their set to shame. Maybe it was only half-decent by contrast, but they at least had the energy and sincerity of a band that doesn't practice in front of a mirror. They even went so far to point out that the only reason they're played on KDGE's The Local Show is that their bassist works for the station, which showed some balls. Or something. Hopefully he'll use whatever pull he has to ensure the station "loses" its copies of Rockett Queen's bullshit.
And maybe it was only because kids under 21 aren't allowed in and out, but at least the Gym Class Dropouts bothered to stick around. Some whippersnappers do know how to pay their respects, I guess. Now if you'll excuse me, I have to sit alone with some records and mumble incoherently about the blue ramp for a few hours.