// If you’re not careful, living in San Francisco can become very insular. Not owning a car and relying primarily on public transportation is strangely freeing, until the time comes to venture outside of the boundaries of the city. This is exacerbated by BART’s (the Bay Area’s regional light rail systems) insistence on closing down shortly after midnight. Despite the hassle... and let’s face it, my laziness, events occasionally come around that make venturing beyond the city limits worthwhile.
One such recent event was the opportunity to see Oklahoma’s Red City Radio live and in person for the first time. This event also gave me the opportunity to experience a new venue, Oakland’s Stork Club, for the first time. Let’s start there. For a venue with a relatively small “show space” the Stork Club is huge, at least compared to many San Francisco venues. The club has three primary spaces: the bar area, a game room, and, of course, the stage. The bar is notable for the fact that is is lined with vintage Barbie dolls. The game room features a pool table and a host of requisite arcade games. The stage itself is tiny and less than a foot off of the ground. This setup makes for a very intimate experience, which was exactly what I was hoping for.
Red City Radio was accompanied by three Bay Area pop punk bands: Weekender, Hear the Sirens, and Civil War Rust. Each of these bands stays true to classic Bay Area format. They are poppy enough to create inspire singalongs (even amongst those who have never heard them play before), but with enough edge to make sure that you won’t mistake them for a New Found Glory rip off (I’m not afraid to admit that I have my NFG like favorites as well. Wanna fight about it?).
Weekender opened the show with a highly energetic set that brought me back to local shows I frequented during my high school years.... without the teenage angst and better songwriting. Memorably, they had one question, “When does the bar open?” That’s the kind of thing we here at the Modern Industry can get behind. Listening to them now, they have a sound that reminds me a bit of 7-10 split, minus the yelling. All things considered, they were a perfect way to open the night.
Hear the Sirens followed and were sure to keep up the energy. As I write this, I lament taking so long to write this post because while I enjoyed their set, the specifics escape me. I do remember thinking that they played a great soundtrack to putting back a few... or more than a few... beers with your best friends.
In an interesting scheduling decision that I can only attribute to the shitty transit schedule, Red City Radio played next. A part of the Paper and Plastic stable, Red City Radio has been one of my favorite discoveries of the past few years. I am enamored with the band’s lyrics and song titles which definitely strike a chord at this point in my life. In fact, they are quickly becoming one of my favorite bands, a status that will be cemented with a solid follow up to their last EP “The Dangers of Standing Still.” They succeed where many bands in this category fail. They are able to translate the raw intensity of a live show into their record. I cannot overstate how much I appreciate this ability.
From their very first chord, Red City Radio had the crowd moving. They hit the stage with such intensity that I found myself singing along to words that I’m not quite sure I even know(due to their singers’ gruff vocal stylings), and loving every minute of it. They band’s two lead singers share a chemistry reminiscent of early taking back sunday shows, circa 2002, that made the latter a legend in the genre. This made for one of the best shows I’ve seen in recent history. I only hope the RCR is able to maintain this intensity as they grow, and, mark my words, the will grow. I definitely suggest checking them out if you haven’t already.
The show closed with a set by local favorites Civil War Rust. They were somehow able to pick up where Red City Radio left off and kept the place rocking. Due to the asinine transit schedule, I had to bail before the end of their set, but I thoroughly enjoyed what I heard. They recently put out a new record, “The Fun and the Lonely” which I suggest checking out.
All in all, the lineup made for an awesome night. My only disappointment was being forced to leave early. If you get a chance, you should definitely check out Red City Radio. As much as I like their record, it does not do their live show justice.