After four and a half years, two albums, and two EPs, Bad Kids are finally getting a buzz. The poppy surf punkers from Imperial Beach played to a standing-room-only audience at the House of Blues’ Voodoo Room last month. NBC/7’s SoundDiego just did a segment on them.
Indie Spotlight's Bad Kids performance in Balboa Park
Lead singer Kalani Lomu reckons it took so long partly because there are too few opportunities to play. “We played the Che [Café] as often as we could,” says Lomu. “It was our second home.” Since UCSD’s all-ages venue closed for repairs in March, the band had to find its own venues.
“Everybody had to go DIY,” says Lomu. “You just have to make your own scene. We’ve done two or three house shows a month since the Che closed.”
Lomu admits the house-party circuit, where fans may pay $2 to $5 to get in, isn’t lucrative. “About half of them we get paid. Half of the time we end up playing for free.”
And then there’s that neighborhood nuisance issue. “Yes, the cops do show up. They always say if they have to come back a second time they will confiscate our equipment. We either move it inside or switch to acoustic instruments.”
- Friday, December 1, 2017, 6:30 p.m.
3350 Sports Arena Boulevard,
The Bad Kids are part of a South Bay scene inspired by the surf-guitar pop-punk of the Frights, who broke out four years ago.
“When the Frights came around they opened up the door with tons of reverb.” Lomu adds that other Chula Vista/I.B. bands, like Pueblo and Los Shadows, support each through their South Bay house-party network.
“There’s a lot of camaraderie. I don’t know if we would have what we have if we lived somewhere else. I think we would have had a harder time if we were based in Solana Beach.”
Lomu credits his mom for his evolving showmanship. “My mom was a punker from Provo, Utah. That’s where I get my punk mentality from.” He says mom showed him the ways of Freddie Mercury. “He’s my hero. Sometimes I get flamboyant onstage, which might mean lipstick or glitter.”
Meanwhile, the Che Café, which many hoped would be open by the end of the year, won’t be rockin’ until February, estimates Cameron Royce, 21, one of the “core members” of the Che Café Collective.
“They have the whole building fenced off but they have yet to start any of the actual improvements.” He says he and a few other Che supporters are organizing a Toys for Tots local band showcase December 23 at Queen Bee’s. “We’re trying to get UCSD to commit to a date when all the work will be done so we can start booking shows again. But they don’t have a date yet.”
Besides the December 1 Soma show, Bad Kids appear at a San Ysidro house party Saturday (check band social media for address).