Last Night: Youth Brigade, The Hellions, The Broadsiders

Last Night: Youth Brigade, The Hellions, The Broadsiders Double Wide November 3, 2011

Better than: watching Another State of Mind and trying to figure out which parts were staged.

Before they paid a visit to Austin for Fun Fun Fun Fest, Los Angeles hardcore punk legends Youth Brigade were kind enough to stop off in Dallas.

And though the band didn't hit the stage until well after midnight, those who knew to stay up got exactly what they wanted. No frills DIY music coming straight from the heart.

The core of the band's original line-up, brothers Shawn (lead vocals/guitar) and Mark Stern (drums), was intact. Joined by a new bassist and new second guitarist -- both named Mike, no less -- the band delivered 50 minutes of classic hardcore that still sounds relevant.

With songs like "Violence," "Believe in Something" and "Let Them Know," the band's sound nicely straddled between the melodic tinges found in The Adolescents and the fury of Minor Threat. Shawn's voice is still potent -- the guy has the kind of sustain that many other hardcore singers do not -- and Mark's thumps still pack a good punch.

Between every few songs of their 17-song set, Shawn would talk with the crowd, looking into their eyes and asked questions in a jovial sort of way. From wondering what Texas was famous for to opening up for requests, Shawn came across as someone who was truly happy to have an audience that still gave a shit.

Ending with the classic "Sink With Kalifornija," the evening devoted to Youth Brigade came to a logical conclusion.

Earlier, a screening of Let Them Know, a documentary on Youth Brigade, their label BYO and the Los Angeles hardcore scene, started the night off right. A worthwhile look that provides a postscript to what happened to the band after Another State of Mind, it also explores areas the American Hardcore documentary touched on.

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As the screening wrapped, Shawn Stern pulled in large tubs of merch and sold CDs, T-shirts and the Let Them Know box set, all the way up to Youth Brigade's set. Once their set was over, he was back behind the table. Knowing how fiercely independent the band is, did you expect this to be any different?

The Hellions and The Broadsiders were in the middle of all this. While The Broadsiders had a decent blend of Oi, pop-punk, and garage rock, The Hellions were absolutely fantastic. Playing incredibly simple hardcore with true sincerity, they livened things up with a sense of humor between songs.

Critic's Notebook

Personal bias: I'm a huge fan of documentaries on rock bands/scenes, so it's not a surprise that, including this show, I had watched Let Them Know twice in a 48-hour period.

Random quote: "Here's a song about the wonderful world of cocaine," The Hellions' vocalist said right before the song "Boner."

By the way: As The Broadsiders were about to play, their bassist was MIA. One of the guitarists stayed onstage and called him on his cell phone. He quickly came into the venue after that.

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