THE ZEROS + RANDY SAVAGES – THE PIPELINE, BRIGHTON 04.03.19
A few weeks back we caught wind that a decent American Latino punk outfit called The Zeros will be playing their first ever UK shows – 43 years after they originally got together and the guys were going to be appearing at The Pipeline in Little East Street, Brighton on Monday 4th March.
The Zeros formed in 1976 in Chula Vista, California and were rightly considered pioneers of punk rock on the US West Coast. The band originally comprised of Javier Escovedo on vocals/guitar and Robert Lopez on guitar, (who were both attending Chula Vista High School); Hector Penalosa, (bass), and Baba Chenelle, (drums), who attended Sweetwater high school.
The Zeros played their first gig in Rosarito Baja California in 1976 and in 1977, they played their first major gig in Los Angeles at the Orpheum Theater. Opening the show was the first performance by the Germs, followed by The Zeros and then The Weirdos. The gig was promoted by The Nerves. The Zeros’ first single release, ‘Wimp’ b/w ‘Don’t Push Me Around’ was released in 1977 on Bomp! Records. It was followed by the single ‘Beat Your Heart Out’ / ‘Wild Weekend’ in 1978.
In 1978, Penalosa left the band and Joined F-Word in Los Angeles, and was replaced by Guy Lopez, Robert Lopez’s younger brother. Soon after, Robert left to try acting in Hollywood and his brother Guy also left. Penalosa rejoined the band and they continued as a trio and relocated to San Francisco. In 1980, the band recorded a new single, including the songs ‘They Say That (Everything’s Alright)’, ‘Girl On The Block’ and ‘Getting Nowhere Fast’ on Test Tube Records. After more touring in Austin, Texas and New York, the band disbanded.
In 1995 the band resurfaced with a new album, ‘Knockin’ Me Dead’. More recently, The Zeros reunited to tour in Spain in early 2007. All four members reunited again for a short West Coast tour that began in San Diego in June 2009. In October 2010, The Zeros embarked on a short US tour of the East Coast.
The lineup at this moment in time at The Pipeline are a trio consisting of original guitarist and vocalist Javier Escovedo, original drummer Baba Chenelle, and the last of the trio is bassist Victor Penalosa.
On arriving at The Pipeline, the downstairs was nicely packed and the DJ was in full ‘spin’ as The Saints were blurting out. Fab start me thinks! IPA ordered and shared banter with Will from The Prince Albert and the legendary Charlie Harper of the UK Subs. This put me right in the mood for some vintage punk.
I made my way up the narrow staircase and the support act the Randy Savages were just about to start their eleven song set. I hadn’t seen either of tonight’s’ bands before so I wasn’t totally sure what to expect.
Right from the off these London-based Punk Rock yobbos were at it. Their personnel being Liam Revenge (guitars/vox), Ravishing Lloyd Loud (guitars/vox), Nico “Nitro” Itro (bass) and Nick Hadley (drums).
The guys had formed in 2016 and their first year of gigs saw them supporting such old school luminaries as Eddie and the Hotrods, Anti Nowhere League and Protex and they rounded off the year with a successful Italian tour. July 2018 brought the release of their first slab of transparent red 7” vinyl with ‘Intercontinental’ / ‘Guilty Of Nuthin’’ single. Describing themselves as “the missing link between cheap speed and Cheap Trick”, the band recorded the single in their own studio, built out of two disused shipping containers somewhere in Camden Town.
I was a tad surprised that I hadn’t witnessed an entertaining set by these lads before, but I’m pretty certain that I will be seeing them play live again.Tonight, they served up a perfect blend of harmonious punk laced with elements that could be likened to early Jam or current day Touts. There’s also the occasional metal riff in there too. Their set was mighty tight and the lads are certainly getting it together. If there are any relatively well known punk acts that require the assistance of a decent support act to get the crowds revved up and in the right frame of mind, then look no further that the Randy Savages!
The Randy Savages setlist reads:
‘Doghoused’, ‘Guilty Of Nuthin’’, ‘Better At Your Age’, ‘Momentum’, ‘Delinquents & Dropouts’, ‘Misanthrope Boogie’, ‘Weak Willed’, ‘Going Postal’, ‘Rock’n’Roll Dies With Us’, ‘Intercontinental’, ‘Figure Of Hate’.
After a short break, it was now time for this evenings headliners, The Zeros, to take to the stage. I had been having a nice natter with singer Javier prior to their performance and he was a genuinely really nice bloke. So I was already in the zone, even before they played a single note.
When they did, oh my word, it was heaven! I was immediately whisked back to 1976 again at the dawn of punk. You remember those days, when the young punks thought that people aged 36 were old and had no idea about ‘real’ music!
Their sound isn’t aggressive, more akin to surf punk meets The Stooges. So we had elements of The Ramones, Dead Boys and the like. This was nostalgic catchy punk and I loved it! The guys were merrily plugging along nicely, until Victor actually broke one of his strings on his bass. No worries in the world of punk as assistance was on hand as the case containing the Randy Savages bass was duly unzipped and the beast was reignited for another performance. A little time was lost, which sadly meant that ‘Pushin’ Too Hard’ and ‘Nowhere To Run’ were to be dropped from the end of the performance. But we were still served up nineteen corkers!
There wasn’t a bad tune to be had! There was The Ramones-esque ‘Beat Your Heart Out’ and ‘Don’t Push Me Around’, coupled with ‘Getting Nowhere Fast’ and the slower ‘Wimp’ and their fastest and arguably best number ‘Wild Weekend’. The guys were going down a storm in front of the compact audience.
In fact I was so taken aback by their performance that I purchased both of their CD’s on offer and have a t-shirt too boot too!
The only downer from the night was when I was talking to drummer Baba after their set and I was explaining that I felt totally conned that it had taken me 43 years to find out about them! So I had better make up for lost time. Right then, I’m off to play my CD’s (again), so here’s their setlist with as many links as I could find for you to share in my enjoyment. This is a band that all traditional punks must see!
The Zeros setlist reads:
‘Main Street Brat’,
‘Lay Off, She’s Mine’,
‘Beat Your Heart Out’,
‘She’s Just A Girl On The Block’,
‘Sometimes Good Guys Don’t Wear White’,
‘Yo No Quiero’ (I Do Not Want),
‘Don’t Push Me Around’,
‘Getting Nowhere Fast’,
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