Keep it simple, stupid

In the game of punk rock it’s best not to over-think it

TAKING OUT THE TRASH <br>El Dumpstero leads local punks Zabaleen through its set at Off Limits.

El Dumpstero leads local punks Zabaleen through its set at Off Limits.

Photo By Brad Lambert

After 30 or so years of existence, punk rock takes myriad forms in the present day. Saturday’s show at Off Limits showed that, unlike most genres of music, the simpler a punk band keeps its music, the better.

The tendency of bands today to complicate things in the pursuit of some kind of new artistic expression serves to turn up the suck and turn down the rock. There is a reason people still listen to the Ramones: The band achieved excellence through simplicity. Many subcategories of punk music seem to have forgotten this, so now when you head out to a punk rock show, the bill is likely to include all sorts of schlock purporting to be punk rock.

That brings us back to Saturday’s show, which I liken to a turd sandwich—the middle part was hard to choke down.

The catalyst for the above rant is the band that played second on Saturday, an outfit by the name of Eightyfour from Bellingham, Wash. If you have been to a show anywhere on I-5 between Olympia and Everett, Wash., you have seen a band just like this one: Stereotypical post-hardcore whining without the benefit of a redeeming breakdown or interesting message. Not only is the style yawn-inspiring, but half the band played off beat and seemed more interested in standing on the tables and posturing at the side of the stage than anything else, all while proclaiming their punk-rockness between songs with titles like “Balls Deep.” Thank you, Washington.

The show would have been vomit-inducing at this point if Dirty Sister hadn’t opened the night up. This new band includes members from Chico and Sacramento who fit together like Voltron to create a formidable rock machine. They were three parts garage rock, one part blues and four parts sexy, all served in a frosty punk rock glass. Dirty Sister’s secret weapon is guitarist Kevin Ryan’s