It was raw. It was offensive. It was explicit. It was absurd. And there was not a single parent in the audience. It was perfect.
Such was the scene last Wednesday night at the Bootleg Theater in Los Angeles. A modest crowd of twentysomethings gathered around oddly situated cocktail tables in the middle of the dance floor. Others clutched the perimeters of the warehouse-turned-performance space, sipping craft beer, and enjoying a solid night of modern rock.
Then, No Parents hit the stage.
I didn’t know what to expect, exactly. Sure, I listened to the EP before the show. The band’s sound merged with the whole left coast, lo-fi garage/surf rock vibe, à la FIDLAR and together PANGEA. But when you’re lumped together with the rest of the scene, how do you manage to set yourself apart from your peers?
I had read a handful of reviews here and there. Still, I felt the need to witness No Parents in an intimate setting. Because the live show is everything. This is a dime-a-dozen business. If you can’t draw attention to your band, if you can’t engage an audience, if you can’t differentiate your band/brand in some form or another, then you fall into obscurity.
With No Parents, it’s no problem. The live show was killer! Lead vocalist Zoe Reign, alongside guitarist Ryan “Ducky” McGuffin, bassist Killian LeDuke, and drummer Monte Nojera, delivered a raucous, yet crowd-pleasing experience. They were over-the-top and brutally honest. They were in-your-face, even if you didn’t want them there. They were rowdy, extremely loud, and downright entertaining.
It was a night filled with irresponsibility, indecency, and everything in between. Along the way, Reign and his band mates trashed the modern notion of conformity. They played hook-laden songs about pizza, hippies, and existentialism. They recalled unspeakable encounters with the opposite sex at the finest fast food establishments in SoCal. And, then they broke the news to Grandma about their lifestyle choices.
On multiple occasions, Reign jumped into the crowd to liven up the pit. He lent the mic to fans near the stage so they could sing along. In between verses, he’d take a swig of Budweiser, and then resume regularly scheduled activities. On this night, Reign kept most of his clothes on; however, he’s been known to strip down to undies, presumably at venues with poor ventilation. Yeah, it sounds outrageous, but, it’s just rock ‘n’ roll, baby!
So go ahead, crank up the debut EP, and “May The Thirst Be With You.” Relax, dude. Your parents aren’t around to tell you to turn the volume down.
RIYL: FIDLAR, together PANGEA, The Sex Pistols, Bad Religion, NOFX, Black Flag