Sunday, September 15, 2013

The Angry Samoans at the Bowery Electric

Mike Saunders and Bill Vockeroth of the Angry Samoans
The Angry Samoans formed in 1978 in Los Angeles, California, during the first wave of American punk bands. The band’s first two albums gained a following through the mid-1980s, but never surpassed cult status. During the mid- to late 1980s, the band went on hiatus, with vocalist “Metal” Mike Saunders moonlighting in several electric/acoustic two-guitar duos (with no rhythm section), including the Clash Brothers, the Sons of Mellencamp, and the Gizmo Brothers, performing in small clubs in California. Saunders and original drummer Bill Vockeroth rebranded the Angry Samoans in late 1990s with new band members and so a new generation Angry Samoans now performs weekend gigs about once a month, usually at all-ages shows around Southern California.

At the Bowery Electric tonight, the Angry Samoans showcased what punk rock was like before the genre died out and morphed in two directions, power pop and hardcore punk. The sound was low fidelity and occasionally garage-rock, the songs were short and fast, the lyrics were sometimes deadpan satirical and often obnoxiously offensive, and the energy level was high. Saunders was an unusual front man; he seldom faced the audience, nearly always spacing his feet far apart, one foot in front of the other like a sprinter and facing to the right. When other band members sang, he sat on the floor facing the drum kit. His singing was frequently incomprehensible. The value of the concert was mostly as a bookmark in rock music history. The audience came to relive a snapshot of the original punk rock movement and received it well.

Visit the Angry Samoans at