Listings are in the opposite order of appearance: headliner is listed at the top, next is the support band(s), and the last band listed is the opener.
Thursday November 4
7:00PM doors -- music at 8:00PM
••• ALL AGES
Red City Radio
grunge indie pop
-from San Francisco/Santa Barbara, CA
-One of the essential bands to come out of California's 1990s punk scene, Santa Barbara combo Lagwagon rose to prominence alongside West Coast peers like Green Day, Rancid, and the Offspring. The first group ever to sign with Fat Wreck Chords, Lagwagon's star was eclipsed somewhat by the aforementioned bands, all of whom found subsequent mainstream success via major-label contracts; in spite of several offers, Lagwagon has remained staunchly independent both in spirit and approach, staying with Fat Wreck for the duration of their career. After releasing a series of influential albums that include 1994's Trashed and 1995's breakthrough Hoss, the band began the 2000s on hiatus, returning with a vengeance to release the career highlight Blaze in 2003. Although the group remained together, the decade that followed was marked by more extensive breaks peppered with occasional shows and just one additional album. After a nine-year gap, the band reunited for 2014's Hang, then again in 2019 for their ninth studio LP, Railer.
Lagwagon was founded in 1990 in the town of Goleta, just outside of Santa Barbara. The initial lineup of frontman Joey Cape, guitarists Chris Flippin and Shawn Dewey, bassist Jesse Buglione, and drummer Derrick Plourde signed on as the flagship act of the then-fledgling Fat Wreck Chords label, run by NOFX's Michael Burkett, aka Fat Mike. Blending the relentless energy of hardcore punk with pop melodicism and plenty of humor, Lagwagon released their debut album, Duh, in 1992. It won them a following on the West Coast and set the table for 1994's standout Trashed. During a watershed year for California punk, the excellent Trashed was praised by critics and vied for the limelight alongside bigger commercial successes like Green Day's Dookie and the Offspring's Smash.
A year later, Lagwagon's Hoss LP earned them additional praise and yet more fans, and they toured hard, hitting international markets like Europe, Japan, and Australia. Around this time, the original lineup began to fracture with guitarist Dewey and drummer Plourde leaving the group. Released in 1997, Double Plaidinum marked the first outing for new drummer Dave Raun and the only appearance of interim guitarist and Posies member Ken Stringfellow, whose brief tenure soon made way for newcomer Chris Rest. 1998's Let's Talk About Feelings made some commercial inroads, hitting Billboard's Heatseekers chart and yielding one of Lagwagon's best-known songs, "May 16," which would later gain traction via the video game Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2.
Let's Talk About Leftovers
By 2000, the group had essentially become inactive, with Cape focusing on other projects like Bad Astronaut and Me First and the Gimme Gimmes. Fat Wreck filled the gap by issuing the 2000 rarities compilation Let's Talk About Leftovers. When Lagwagon resurfaced two years later, they entered the studio with renewed vigor and produced the creative and commercial highlight Blaze. Released in 2003, it was the band's first album to crack the Billboard Top 200, topping out at number 172. In March 2005, tragedy struck when founding drummer Derrick Plourde took his own life. Although he hadn't been a member since the late-'90s, his spirit loomed large on Lagwagon's seventh album, Resolve, which they released later that November and dedicated to their fallen friend. During the second half of the decade, frontman Cape began devoting more of his time to solo efforts and, following a 2008 EP called I Think My Older Brother Used to Listen to Lagwagon, the band entered another hiatus.
Putting Music in Its Place
In 2010, founding bassist Jesse Buglione officially departed, and when Lagwagon hit the road for a tour that summer, Joey Raposo became his replacement. In 2011, Fat Wreck celebrated the band's legacy with a deluxe box set of Lagwagon reissues called Putting Music in Its Place. After several headlining tours, the band finally reentered the studio to record their first new studio album since 2005. Released in 2014, Hang made it to number 95 on the Billboard 200, giving the band their highest-ever chart position. Lagwagon returned in October 2019 with their ninth long-player, Railer.
Red City Radio
-from Oklahoma City, OK
-There is – obviously – a great irony in naming any album released in 2020 Paradise. It’s a year that’s been anything but on so many levels that it doesn’t even bear getting into. Yet that’s exactly what Red City Radio decided to title its fourth full-length record. It also might seem an odd thing for a band that has always kind of been the underdog to do, but, in fact, it’s very much in keeping with their unstoppable, unfuckwithable disposition, and the resilience that has flowed through music since the band started life in Oklahoma City, OK in 2007.
“We took the album title from the song of the same name,” explains vocalist/guitarist Garrett Dale, “which is about finding your own paradise – even if that’s just a hard journey you’re going to take. That’s what paradise means to me – a paradise of the mind, finding truth and peace and love through your honest, horrible realities. It’s all how you look at it, all perception. Paradise can even be a prison if you look at it that way.”
“It’s this internal state that you find within yourself,” agrees guitarist Ryan Donovan, “within your own journey, within your own reconciliations with your own demons, or even just finding peace inside in whatever it is that you love in whatever capacity. People find paradise in just sitting at home on the couch with their dog or cat, people find paradise writing music, people find paradise painting or reading – it’s all kind of conceptual and internalized.”
To that extent, the 12 songs that make up Paradise can, if you want them to, act as a kind of mirror of the soul – one that you can look into to analyze who and where you are and, more, importantly, what you can do, even if things seem overwhelmingly bad, to push through. This isn’t some kind of cheesy self-help record, though. It’s full of the same trials and tribulations that have always plagued Red City Radio. It’s just that this time, more than ever before, the defiance was pushing back against the bad stuff has been replaced by a very palpable sense of hope. It’s not just in Dale’s lyrics, either – even when they discuss the darker elements of life – but also in the upbeat crunch of “Baby Of The Year”, the almost carefree romanticism of “Young, Beautiful & Broke”, the title track’s sunny guitar licks and riffs, the joyous, rollicking, Thin Lizzy-esque swagger of “Doin’ It For Love”, the soul-quenching attitude of “Fremont Casino”.
“I’d say this is our most positive record,” says Dale. “Maybe that’s because at the time when we were recording these songs was a really good time. We finished the album right before Covid happened.”
Recorded at The Cereal Box in Edmond, OK with the All American Rejects’ Mike Kennerty – who also produced and recorded the band’s 2018 SkyTigers EP – and mastered at the Blasting Room by Jason Livermore, Paradise is the first Red City Radio release to feature bassist Derik Envy, who joined in 2019.
“He’s one talented motherfucker!” laughs Donovan. “And I’m so happy he’s the new addition in this project, because he’s just a really positive human full of love and energy and he fit in right away.”
Rounded out by founding drummer Dallas Tidwell, the chemistry of this incarnation of Red City Radio is both obvious and infectious. Yet while there is positivity within these songs, the bare-bones emotional charge that has always defined Red City Radio is still very present. Musically, too, the band continues to expand and evolve – while the Fest-style punk of their early years is still audible in the framework of their songs, this is a band that has vastly expanded its horizons. Listen to the heavy hearted opener “Where Does The Time Go?”, the desperation of the apocalyptic “100,000 Candles”, the yearning chorus of which asks ‘Why is the world on fire?’ – written before this year had even begun – or the sample of spiritual teacher Ram Dass talking about the nature of decay, and how it’s both beautiful and horrible at the same time, at the start of “Love A Liar”, which encapsulates the philosophy and attitude that, now more than ever, continues to drive Red City Radio.
“We’re aging beings,” says Donovan, “and that’s incredibly terrifying for some people, because most everyone fears death in some capacity when they think about it. Life is so beautiful and you don’t want to lose these experiences – but at the same time, I enjoy getting older. I feel like I’m developing more in my patience, in my understanding, in empathy for others, in my knowledge. It’s beautiful and horrible at the same time, because as much as you’re growing, you’re also dying.”
“I joined Red City Radio a week before my 19th birthday,” adds Dale, “so I’ve been in the band my entire adult life. In my youth, it was easier to see things negatively, and I wrote from the perspective of wanting to see things more positively. Now I feel, with so many negative things happening in the world, it’s important to find the things that make you happy and fill your glass and share with others. The most important thing in the world is sharing love and happiness – and you have to be happy yourself to be able to share that with other people.”
That Red City Radio has had its fair share of setbacks over the years makes that outlook – and the outlook of this record – all the more impressive. In 2015, the band released its self-titled third record on Staple, an imprint of Vagrant Records. But within six months of Red City Radio signing the deal, Vagrant was bought by major label BMG Chrysalis US, and Staple was no more.
“We have constantly been what I would consider underdogs in the music scene,” admits Donovan, “but every step of the way we’re still winning – and I think that speaks volumes about the music itself. We were really vibing everything about that record, and then just got dropped through no fault of our own. As a result, we all felt like that record fell on deaf ears, and that could really send a lot of bands down a negative spiral. But our lifeline was on the road, so we didn’t let it stop us. We kept grinding forwards and here we are. And we’re still winning.”
Perhaps no song on this album encapsulates that more than the fiery closing burst of “Gutterland” and its gloriously optimistic chorus: ‘If the sun don’t shine, it ain’t no bother, I don’t mind’. That, ultimately, is the truth glowing at the heart if this record, this band.
“What seems to have always been the underlying nature of the spirit of Red City Radio,” says Dale, “is to be intoxicatingly yourself. Paradise is a true expression of who we are as people and as a band. It’s a new beginning for the band, but also a continuance on spreading love and rock’n’roll through music. I believe that this album has the best performances we’ve ever done, and is the best quality sounding album we’ve ever recorded. It was also just the funnest record to make. So really, this is the best Red City Radio album, and if you don’t agree with that, then fuck you!”
-from Santa Rosa, CA
-From the exact coordinates where wine country meets beer city, Santa Rosa, CA bred rockers came to back to life in 2015. Decent Criminal ditched the tunes of their early years and became the raucous whatever the fuck all night rockers they are today.