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Gonzo Report: Multi-generational mosh pit found at My Town Fest

Old school punk reunions and discoveries in City Heights

Social Spit (and inflatable fan).
Social Spit (and inflatable fan).

I should probably have picked up a pack of smokes for this one, because I could hear the echoes of San Diego’s punk past as it enthusiastically got the band back together for My Town Fest. Local acts from the ‘70s, ‘80s, and ‘90s through today coming together over the last weekend of August, some to relive their days of being young punk degenerates for one more moment of glory. (Although, to be fair, not all of the groups on the bill were full-blood punk.)

Whenever I think of the Soda Bar, I shoot back to a memory from about seven years ago, when local band Dexter Riley Xperiment rocked its stage. I recall good energy, heavy drinking, and long hair on most people. This fond recollection gave me the inclination to dial DRX’s drummer Jeff, to see if he was down for a show that might be up his alley. He told me he couldn’t make it because he had front row tickets to Bowie that night. Not that Bowie (obviously), but the grandson he was babysitting, whose name is Bowie. “I might be able to make it out for the second night,” he said. “I’ll text you tomorrow afternoon.” But everybody who’s friends with that dude knows he’ll likely be at Black’s Beach with a bottle of Sangria for his day of Sabbath, so I didn’t count on it, or hold him accountable. He’s a product of a more free-spirited generation.

Place

Soda Bar

3615 El Cajon Boulevard, San Diego

I rolled up to the Soda Bar after a short walk from a friend’s place a few blocks away. Outside on the sidewalk, show-goers decked out in the usual black attire and skater shoes sucked on cigarettes (I didn’t see a single vape) and compared tattoos. Much of the ink shared a distinct style: bright colors and stained glass window imagery. “Where do you get your tattoos?” they asked each other. Apparently, many of these punks had been inked by an artist named Sergio.

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After comparing body art, we headed inside to catch the groups, who had been preparing months for this moment. Many of the bands hadn’t played together for years, promoter Zak Prescott told me. But it’s a way to get acts back together, and for younger players to mesh with the ones who have paved the way. Prescott said he intends to make it an annual event. “In the future, I want it to be an all-ages show. I think if we start at Queen Bee’s, then migrate here to Soda Bar after nine o’clock, it’ll work.” He was yelling this over the ska tones of the group Beta 7, while a saxophone was blasting right next to us.

Later in the evening, I stepped outside with some of the other sweaty show-goers for a nicotine fix and heard the sounds of a siren getting closer and more obnoxious. It was El Cajon Boulevard, so — not uncommon. As the sounds got closer, we saw a fire truck booking ass our way from the west. Sirens howling and red and white lights flashing, it pulled right up, and a firefighter jumped out and ran into the venue. What the fuck is going on? Is this place in flames? Did somebody croak out? No, none of that. The firefighter’s pal was playing a set, and apparently, the emergency worker wasn’t going to miss it. Now that’s brotherhood. And one hell of a way to make an entrance.

At that point in the night, the booze, smoke, and loud music had the crowd lit up. Mosh pits were going up and down, filled with people young and old, and I decided to join in. It had been a while since I lost myself in a sweaty pit. But even though it was a fast-moving and wet encounter, it wasn’t as reckless as a pit filled with teenage angst and swinging fists — the kind I remember. These moshers were a little more seasoned, and knew their limitations. Not bumping around too violently, just enough to assure themselves that they still had it.

You could feel a sense of relief and joy in many of the bands as they exited the stage. Relief that they didn’t fuck up too badly, and joy that they were able to come together for at least one more performance. Now, if only I could get Dexter Riley Xperiment drummer Jeff to put some clothes on, find Bowie a babysitter, and bring DRX to play next year’s My Town Fest, I’d be happy.

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Social Spit (and inflatable fan).
Social Spit (and inflatable fan).

I should probably have picked up a pack of smokes for this one, because I could hear the echoes of San Diego’s punk past as it enthusiastically got the band back together for My Town Fest. Local acts from the ‘70s, ‘80s, and ‘90s through today coming together over the last weekend of August, some to relive their days of being young punk degenerates for one more moment of glory. (Although, to be fair, not all of the groups on the bill were full-blood punk.)

Whenever I think of the Soda Bar, I shoot back to a memory from about seven years ago, when local band Dexter Riley Xperiment rocked its stage. I recall good energy, heavy drinking, and long hair on most people. This fond recollection gave me the inclination to dial DRX’s drummer Jeff, to see if he was down for a show that might be up his alley. He told me he couldn’t make it because he had front row tickets to Bowie that night. Not that Bowie (obviously), but the grandson he was babysitting, whose name is Bowie. “I might be able to make it out for the second night,” he said. “I’ll text you tomorrow afternoon.” But everybody who’s friends with that dude knows he’ll likely be at Black’s Beach with a bottle of Sangria for his day of Sabbath, so I didn’t count on it, or hold him accountable. He’s a product of a more free-spirited generation.

Place

Soda Bar

3615 El Cajon Boulevard, San Diego

I rolled up to the Soda Bar after a short walk from a friend’s place a few blocks away. Outside on the sidewalk, show-goers decked out in the usual black attire and skater shoes sucked on cigarettes (I didn’t see a single vape) and compared tattoos. Much of the ink shared a distinct style: bright colors and stained glass window imagery. “Where do you get your tattoos?” they asked each other. Apparently, many of these punks had been inked by an artist named Sergio.

Sponsored
Sponsored

After comparing body art, we headed inside to catch the groups, who had been preparing months for this moment. Many of the bands hadn’t played together for years, promoter Zak Prescott told me. But it’s a way to get acts back together, and for younger players to mesh with the ones who have paved the way. Prescott said he intends to make it an annual event. “In the future, I want it to be an all-ages show. I think if we start at Queen Bee’s, then migrate here to Soda Bar after nine o’clock, it’ll work.” He was yelling this over the ska tones of the group Beta 7, while a saxophone was blasting right next to us.

Later in the evening, I stepped outside with some of the other sweaty show-goers for a nicotine fix and heard the sounds of a siren getting closer and more obnoxious. It was El Cajon Boulevard, so — not uncommon. As the sounds got closer, we saw a fire truck booking ass our way from the west. Sirens howling and red and white lights flashing, it pulled right up, and a firefighter jumped out and ran into the venue. What the fuck is going on? Is this place in flames? Did somebody croak out? No, none of that. The firefighter’s pal was playing a set, and apparently, the emergency worker wasn’t going to miss it. Now that’s brotherhood. And one hell of a way to make an entrance.

At that point in the night, the booze, smoke, and loud music had the crowd lit up. Mosh pits were going up and down, filled with people young and old, and I decided to join in. It had been a while since I lost myself in a sweaty pit. But even though it was a fast-moving and wet encounter, it wasn’t as reckless as a pit filled with teenage angst and swinging fists — the kind I remember. These moshers were a little more seasoned, and knew their limitations. Not bumping around too violently, just enough to assure themselves that they still had it.

You could feel a sense of relief and joy in many of the bands as they exited the stage. Relief that they didn’t fuck up too badly, and joy that they were able to come together for at least one more performance. Now, if only I could get Dexter Riley Xperiment drummer Jeff to put some clothes on, find Bowie a babysitter, and bring DRX to play next year’s My Town Fest, I’d be happy.

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