The Vandals – HOB, Sunset Strip

Concert review by Scarlett A. Lee

V16In 1996, The Vandals, through Kung Fu Records, released what has been heralded by many as one of the best non-traditional Christmas albums, entitled Oi To The World. In celebration of the album, The Vandals have put on a holiday formal every year, and play the album in it’s entirety. That may sound like a marathon of music, but truth be told, the whole album is only about thirty minutes long.

I expected a rowdy, festive crowd at the House of Blues on a Saturday night, and show goers certainly did not disappoint. Some took “Formal” literally while choosing their attire for the evening, while some chose to wear their interpretations punk rock holiday chic, including two guys wearing coordinating holiday sweaters emblazoned with The Descendants, and one man who wore the equivalent of Christmas boxers, tights, and an elf hat.

V8I knew I was in for a fun evening, and positioned myself to the side of the pit, where two burly men promptly placed themselves between me and the crowd. This would prove to be very helpful later, as the crowd really got into moshing, and I was surprised to see even dainty girls getting in on the pushing and shoving during the fast paced songs.

The Vandals took to the stage, which looked like Father Christmas had vomited holiday cheer all over, what with it’s over use of multi-colored lights, a Christmas tree and other assorted gaudiness. They launched right into their jolly jingles, including Grandpa’s Last Xmas, Oi To The World (which was later covered by No Doubt), Christmas Time For My Penis, My First Xmas As A Woman, and my personal favorite- I Don’t Believe In Santa Claus, which the band played not once but TWICE.

V10Once the band practically sprinted through their holiday songs, they graciously took requests from the audience, although the songs that were chosen came mostly from the crowd in the front, as singer Dave Quakenbush stated that the rest of the audience “sounded like Charlie Brown’s teacher”.

We were regaled with MY Girlfriend’s Dead, Live Fast, Diarrhea, and Anarchy Burger, amongst other favorites. The show ended with Warren Fitzgerald’s kick ass version of Queen’s Don’t Stop Me Now.

If I had one complaint about the night, it was that it FLEW BY. This show was by far the coolest holiday event I had been to all season, and I certainly did not want to have to go back to the very vanilla  Christmas traditions so many of us feel obligated to uphold. I would like to live in a world where raging holiday parties like The Vandals Annual Christmas Formal are more commonplace.

The Vandals music is available in stores, and online outlets such as iTunes. To find out all their is to know about The Vandals, go to their website at www.vandals.com, or their social media pages such as Facebook and MySpace.

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