Review: Strung Out at Badlands Bar
Strung Out at Badlands Bar
Sunday, October 22, 2023
Californian punk rock five-piece Strung Out hit Perth on Sunday night, bringing their monumental 30 Years of Strung Out tour to Badlands Bar.
Local hitters Ratking served the early crowd a belter entree. A hardcore twist on Offspring's Come Out and Play was one of several take notice moments. Get around them if you haven't already.
The back-end of a 13-date Australia–New Zealand tour is a tough gig. Coming off a run of shows on consecutive nights, how would the Strung Out fellas hold up? Strung Out's version of punk rock is melodic and fast-tempo with a nod to 80s metal (think Iron Maiden), and it can't be easy playing such high energy stuff night after night.
Lead vocalist Jason Cruz was on, as usual. Twisted by Design's (1998) seminal opener Too Close to See ripped straight off the bat, and Cruz was rocking. No breather and Exhumation of Virginia Madison was up next. It got the modest pit singing along, and the vibes were strong.
Firecracker hit next, the first of several Suburban Teenage Wasteland Blues (1996) bangers to get a run. A couple of mosh pit enthusiasts started punching on (literal firecrackers), with a brave security guard having the unenviable job of escorting the aggressor out of the pit. After a song or two he eventually left, despite constantly pointing to a VIP pass as if this granted him permission to assault.
In Harm's Way from Another Day in Paradise (1994) kept the party going and Everyday from Element of Sonic Defiance (2000) pushed it up a notch. Dal from Frenzal Rhomb filled in on bass guitar for this tour and played like a life member. A positive energy exemplar, he was all over the stage and engaging with fans throughout the night.
Velvet Alley, another cracking album opener (a Strung Out trademark) from American Paradox (2002) was up next and the pit tripled. Punters were on the brink of losing their voice. This show was cranking.
There was a short break for Cruz as guitarist Chris Aiken and Rob Ramos sampled a new tune from an album due in April 2024. It sounded promising.
Better Days, followed by Solitaire, gave the mosh-pit vocalists another chance to shine.
A 30 Year Tour is a massive achievement. Many friendships had been formed and various life turns taken accompanied by Strung Out songs over those years, and you could see what it meant to the fans. There were lots of man hugs, some loved-up couples enjoying the moment and crews of mates frothing in nostalgia. This is not to say Strung Out were in any way whimsical. With a tight live performance and powerful stage presence, they showed again why they've successfully visited our far-flung state to decent crowds for three decades.
The Misanthropic Principle from Exile in Oblivion (2004) with the poignant closing bridge and the lyrics “My eyes are wide open, my heart is wide open. Is your mind open to see?" had the crowd peaking. This was absolutely Strung Out at their very best.
And with Bring Out Your Dead, one of the heavier mosh-friendly tunes, Strung Out ripped Badlands a new one before Matchbook shut the party down.
A short word to acknowledge Strung Out's pure soul power. Their resilience and perseverance is the stuff of punk rock lords.
Photos by Craig Huxtable, Rob Dawg and Shane Ellis