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Descendents & Circle Jerks tickets at Agora Theatre in Cleveland
Fri 13 Sep 2024 - 19:30 EDT
Agora Theatre, Cleveland, OH Ages: All Ages
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Price: $42.50 - $85.00
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Agora Theatre
5000 Euclid Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44103
216-881-2221
Fri 13 Sep 2024 - 19:30 EDT
Ages: All Ages
Doors Open: 18:30
Door Price: $49.50 - $85.00
Onsale: Fri 19 Apr 2024 - 10:00 EDT
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Bio: Descendents

Milo Aukerman: Vocals, Ph.D.

Stephen Egerton: Guitar

Bill Stevenson: Drum Ogre

Karl Alvarez: Bassmaster General

The DESCENDENTS invented pop punk. Overstatement? Perhaps, but spend ten minutes scanning FM or the idiot box and you're bound to witness a ditty or video that tips its hat to a musical genre that was refined to a high art -- if not created outright -- by the 'Dents. Formed in 1978 against the fertile musical backdrop of Los Angeles' South Bay scene (see: Black Flag, Minutemen, SST Records, etc.), the caffeine-addled crew released their first 7" single "Ride The Wild" as a trio in 1979. Not long after, the boys recruited one Milo Aukerman (microbiology Ph.D. in waiting and poster boy for adolescent ne'er-do-well alienation) for vocal duties.

Milo's fervent mic delivery coupled with his knack for hitting the lyrical nail on its heartrending head plunged him headfirst into the band's fold, and together they released the "FAT" EP in 1981. 1982 saw the release of the stellar "Milo Goes To College," a penultimate fusion of hooks and heartache which inspired the LA Times to write, "perfect for the little guy who was ever called a nerd and never got the girl... (its) earthy humor conveys what is often an inarticulate rage". And Milo really did go to college, leaving the practice room for the hallowed halls of higher education. Drummer Bill Stevenson went on to beat the skins for Black Flag while the guys temporarily hung up the DESCENDENTS moniker, only to reunite with Aukerman for 1985's "I Don't Want To Grow Up" and 1986's "Enjoy!"

The two releases comprise the perfect case study in the dualistic, yin/yang nature of the band's output. While the former is a veritable user's manual for post-pubescent angst, sizing up the themes of life, love, and uncertainty with infectious wit and dizzying energy, the latter is perhaps most notable for its testaments to the, umm... follies of flatulence. Their cover of the Beach Boy's "Wendy" on "Enjoy!" is at once familiar and revelatory, the perfect amalgam of pop sensibilities and punk execution that would earn them fans the world over.

With the introduction of new members Karl Alvarez and Stephen Egerton on bass and guitar respectively, the release of 1987's "ALL" full-length saw a band that had truly come into its own. While the tongue in cheek delivery remained intact, the music had become at once visceral and from the gut, a complex balance of straightforward delivery ("Clean Sheets", "Coolidge") and fringe-y, free jam inflections ("Schizophrenia", "Uranus"). The band toured incessantly throughout the mid and late '80s; all that time on the road paid off in spades in the form of two live albums, "Liveage!" and "Hallraker." And then Milo went back to college. The extant members went on to form the band ALL with ex-Dag Nasty vocalist Dave Smalley, continuing their prodigious musical output while maintaining a hectic tour schedule. It was not until 1996 that we'd see another DESCENDENTS release with "Everything Sucks," a perfect return to the pop punk form that the band had become known for.

Fast forward to 2003, and lo and behold, the DESCENDENTS are back in the saddle with two new efforts slated for the release in 2004: a four song EP entitled "'Merican," and a bona fide full-length LP's worth of new material that goes by the name "Cool To Be You." Seeing as how punk is now a household name, and the ubiquitous "girl song" milieu infests the airwaves, will the DESCENDENTS reclaim their title as Kings of the Lovelorn Anthem? Only time will tell, but this much is certain: If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, the DESCENDENTS must go to sleep with flushed cheeks every night of the week.

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Bio: Circle Jerks

Circle Jerks emerged from the punk underbelly of LA’s South Bay in 1979. First conceptualized at “The Church” of Hermosa Beach, the once infamous hangout of scene forefathers Black Flag, Descendents, Redd Kross, and The Last, the band quickly became the innovators of a movement simply referred to today as HARDCORE PUNK ROCK.
 
After serving as a co-founder and lead vocalist of Black Flag during the recording of its essential Nervous Breakdown EP, Keith Morris joined forces with former Redd Kross guitarist Greg Hetson to form what would become Circle Jerks, a reference uncovered from artist Raymond Pettibon’s slang dictionary. Having written material for their former bands respectively, Morris and Hetson, along with bassist Roger Rogerson and jazz drummer Lucky Lehrer, fine-tuned previously unfinished material to conceive the troupe’s now-renowned sound - thoughtfully steadfast, yet relentless and ferocious in nature. Unlike much of the unapologetic hardcore that seeped through the cracks of American suburbia, the music of the Circle Jerks was dynamic, deliberate, and most importantly, a force to be reckoned with. Bringing together a potent, articulate rhythm section with earnest yet oftentimes derisive lyrics and themes, the band was thereafter heralded as a leader of the pack, but with no real plan in sight.
 
The social climate of Los Angeles in the early eighties was marked by unsettled fluidity, with the expansion of hardcore punk that infiltrated the public eye. The “pogo” of a former generation became the “slam dance” of another - a moniker consecrated in the iconic Circle Jerks “Skanking Kid” logo designed by graphic designer Shawn Kerri. Songs got shorter, shows wilder, and the police - led by embattled police chief Daryl Gates - shut it all down. This earmark of punk lineage was epitomized in the groundbreaking documentary by Penelope Spheeris, The Decline of Western Civilization, in which Circle Jerks most notably performed to a pit of chaos. Today, the film is recognized and preserved by the National Film Registry at the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.”
 
In October 1980, Circle Jerks released their debut studio album Group Sex on Los Angeles label Frontier Records. Clocking in at fourteen songs in just sixteen minutes, the record remains a milestone of the punk genre and equally as symbolic nearly forty years later. Plowing forward with a relentless, toothcutting work ethic and a rousing stage presence, the band would soon find itself headlining shows at LA’s 5,000-capacity Olympic Auditorium and emblazoned in cult video classics like Repo Man, New Wave Theatre, and The Slog Movie. Over the decades, Circle Jerks would release six studio albums, including the acclaimed Wild in the Streets (1982), Golden Shower of Hits (1983), Wonderful (1985), and IV (1987), where they would become a major headliner during the alternative music explosion of Generation X. Morris and Hetson remain the only consistent members since the band’s creation, withstanding several lineup changes, including Flea and Chuck Biscuits. Bassist Zander Schloss (The Weirdos, Joe Strummer) has been a member since the 1980’s. During hiatuses, Morris fronted bands like OFF! and FLAG, while Hetson played guitar in Bad Religion.
 
The long list of those influenced by the legacy of the Circle Jerks ranges from Butthole Surfers to Red Hot Chili Peppers - with notable fans being Dogtown skateboarders, Chuck Berry, Alice Cooper, Elton John, Johnny Depp, Guns N’ Roses, and Philip K. Dick. Decades later, their music continues to make an imprint on generations of diverse music fans and those who challenge the status quo.
 
In celebration of the band’s 40th anniversary and the commemorative reissue of their celebrated landmark record Group Sex, Circle Jerks return to the stage for the first time in over a decade.
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