It’s a quiet night in Deep Ellum this Valentine’s Day.
Everyone is out for a quiet evening with a date, wrapping the night up early to move on to more intimate surroundings.
Such is not the case for this evening’s showcase at Three Links.
For Deep Ellum’s favorite punk club, this was not a quiet night. This was a Valentine’s Day card handcrafted for those hellbent for leather, eyeliner and the physical contact that can only come from a circle pit.
What always gets you about a punk show is the undying love and support that the audience members have for the band onstage and for each other. Who needs a Valentine’s date when you’ve got the loving embrace of an entire community behind you?
The night began with a love note from Dallas pop-punk trio Worst Case Scenario to pop-punk’s favorite heroes, Blink 182, with a sped-up cover of “Dammit.” And the love was strong for this band nervously making its way through its first ever live set. Sure, there were some stops and starts, but you can’t knock a band that’s just making a start.
This was not the only cover of the night. Almost every band that played for Three Links’ Valentine’s Day Punk Party wrote a love note to its influences.
Before Dallas’ foremost hardcore band, The Ellen Degenerates, took the stage, word rang out to the lazy back patio that the group was about to take the stage. As quickly as the words were spoken, the patio cleared.
Theit set feature a spot-on cover of Gwar’s “Sick of You,” and the band drew in the crowd by playing up the social politics that have held the international punk scene together for the past four decades — anti-Nazism, anti-Christian right and the championing of the working class.
Before the band left the show, it reminded the audience what the night was all about.“I don’t say this enough, but I love you!” one performer said.
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The diehards stuck around for a rousing set from Dallas hardcore street punk band American Minority, buying lead singer Juan Batista shots when he said he was feeling a bit under the weather.
The crowd roared back into position when Dallas punk icons Blood Letters took the stage.
The band, which has reached heroic status among Dallas’ tastemakers, devoted its set to the destruction of the mere idea that heroes are worth their worship. With songs demanding the audience “Bury All Your Heroes” and claiming that “John Hinkley Was a Hero,” the band firmly planted itself in opposition to the perception of power. The separation between performer and audience evaporated.
Before Blood Letters left the stage, however, they paid homage the Germs with a cover of “We Must Bleed," a song that inextricably connects people’s corporeal reality to the machinery of everyday life.
The night ended with a performance from New Jersey punkers Houston and the Dirty Rats.
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In honor of this day of love, the band made sure to let the audience know how much it appreciated the support it received. “I want to thank you all for coming out on a Wednesday. Where we’re from, we’d be lucky to have five people show up on a Wednesday night,” one member said.
The band also "Happy Birthday" to a fan in the audience, engaged another fan in a conversation about American Stratocasters and delivered an Oi!-punk ode to Fuzzy’s Taco Shop next door to Three Links.
Even as the music fell silent on Three Links, the true spirit of Valentine’s Day filled the air.
For a scene that refuses to buy into the greeting cards, chocolates and diamonds that plague mid-February, there was no better send-up of the day’s excess than the stripped-down passion found in three chords of pure bliss.