The Toy Dolls with The Adolescents – at The Fonda Theatre – Los Angeles, CA
April 17, 2014
April 17th 2014 marked yet another significant night in L.A. Punk history, the triumphant return of one of the genres most passionately adored acts, Toy Dolls. After more than a fifteen-year absence from their L.A. fan base, the Toy Dolls brought more than just a catalog of classic tunes and trademark sunglasses, they invited a collection of familiar faces to join them in a fun filled evening of debauchery.
Local Punks and Skins converged on the iconic Henry Fonda Theatre in Hollywood, the anticipation and energy loomed in the air like the thick layer of pollution we’ve grown accustomed to. Patrons streamed out of cabs and subway stations taking up residence in the surrounding area, pre-gaming, bar hopping and shooting the breeze as nobody dared stray too far from the nights main attraction. With eyes and beers focused squarely on the Toy Dolls, it was forgivable for some to lose sight of the nights opening act, but still entirely foolish to do so. Southern Californian Punk icons, The Adolescents, were first to stir shit up on the legendary Hollywood stage.
As the Henry Fonda brimmed with boots, studs, and leathers. Fans of all sizes and ages dotted the classic interior of the timeless theatre, from the painted walls and Victorian-chandeliers that hover overhead near the balcony seating to the maximum capacity, scratched, beer stained, dance floor below. The Adolescents, after 35 years, remain as one of Hardcore Punks most notable and widely influential bands. The 1981 album release of ‘Adolescents’ still finds itself as the soundtrack for young disenfranchised Punks and will for generations to follow.
As the now jam packed dance floor was soon to find out, Tony, Steve and The Adolescents still move a pit like no other. Some Punks were reluctant to join in the pit at first, but all it took was a song they recognized. Playing several tunes from their later releases Punks raised fists and sang along but not until ‘Word Attack’ was unleashed, as well was the inner Punks built up aggression and angst. As the pit whirled and slammed sending those unsuspecting by standers scurrying for cover. The tone was set, beers flew and timeless classics blared from the speakers in all its magnificent and distortion rich glory ‘Creatures’ and ‘O.C. Confidential’ turned things inside out and Punks propelled themselves into the air, some crowed surfed and some tossed beers singing along throughout the entirety of the bands set. Tunes like ‘Amoeba’ rendered the capacity audience in a balled fist sing along. Big Wheel Magazine has had the pleasure of catching tons of Adolescents performances over the decades, and one thing remains a constant: ‘Kids Of The Black Hole’ will forever rip open any pit. And Thursday night was no different.
With one last opportunity to hit up the Blue Palms Brew House for well-priced stiff drinks, Punks were well lubricated and ready for the evening’s main attraction, the Toy Dolls. As the lights cut out, giving way to darkness, a loud roar washed over the Henry Fonda as Olga, “The Amazing Mr. Duncan’ and “Tommy Goober” took center stage.
Wasting no time the pair of Olga and Goober launched into synchronized rhythmic strumming as they performed “Cloughy Is A boot Boy” to the delight of everyone, Sporting their trademark sunglasses and coordinated cardigans and ties. The energy was infectious, as multiple pits sprung up out of sheer excitement.
As Olga ran back and forth across the Henry Fonda stage with his unmistakable smile and guitar proficiency, fans pogoed and swung fists to all the classics including ‘She Goes To Finos” “Lambrusco Kid” “Alec's Gone” “Dougy Giro” “Nellie The Elephant” and “Fiery Jack”.
The Atmosphere was that of light-hearted high energy fun and laughs, similar to an Adicts show in the sense that the stage performance was just as good as the songs being performed. The act even included a giant oversized champagne bottle spewing confetti and tandem spinning guitars, choreographed like something out of a ZZ Top video.
The three-piece held court for over an hour, delighting all with everything from a Johann Sebastian Bach tune (Toccata) and “Spiders In The Dressing Room”, to "Fake Chest Hair, Punks waited years for the opportunity to revel in Olga’s timeless voice, made apparent by the deafening cheers for an encore after the band had exited.
To the fans delight, they followed up their brilliant performance with a couple more tunes including “Dig That Groove Baby’. Fans no doubt cheered and pleaded for one more encore but the night had to come to an end. And so it went, etched into the history books of unforgettable LA performances.
For those wanting more of the Toy Dolls, their “Tour After The Last One 2014” Continues as their next stop is Coachella. That would only run you $800 and a day worth of d-bags wearing the wrong type of sunglasses.
-Gio Van Dam-
Big Wheel Staff Reporter
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