Amid the fourth of July fireworks, LA punk legends Fear celebrated America's independence with a home town show and some family-friendly swearing. Here's five things we remember from having 'another' beer with Fear.
All ages here really means all ages
At the front of the stage is a large man, who may or may not be a member of a local outlaw motorcycle club. With him are his wife and children, ranging in age from nine to nineteen, and he stands as a human wall between them and the pit. Formed in 1977, Fear have been around long enough that they bridge several generations, thankfully avoiding turning into the codgers sing-a-long reunion that some of the older punk bands have become. For a genre that ignites on the spark of youthful vitality, it’s important that some of the kids are actually kids.
Punk rock is still dangerous
If you’ve ever wondered how truly chaotic a proper punk shows gets then do yourself a favour and YouTube Fear’s legendary appearance on Saturday Night Live. Given the damages bill from that night it’s probably best that we don’t get a repeat performance this evening, a sign on stage warning that ‘If you stage dive, you go home’. But, still, as the band kick off with the classic I Love Living In The City, it’s apparent that the pit is not for the feint of heart. “Is it still bleeding?” says one young lady to her boyfriend, having caught a stray elbow to the nose. Perhaps not a band for date night, then.
At sixty-four frontman/guitarist Lee Ving can still hit all the notes
It’s easy to dismiss Fear as obnoxious, three-chord punk rock because, frankly, that’s exactly what it is. (“Get up and make my fucking breakfast you lazy bitch!” begins Honor And Obey - which makes the younger kids giggle). But there’s an intricacy to Fear’s music that is often overlooked – like the bizarre, Devo-esque cover of The Animals We’ve Gotta Get Out Of This Place - and Ving’s vocal range, when he lets loose, is pretty impressive and has lost none of it’s power. Admittedly, with just five albums the band is hardly prolific, but with so many ‘hits’ they’ll still miss a few favourites like What Are Friends For and the magnificently unpleasant Public Hangings.
Beer is good
Not that this was ever in question, but Fear do like to labour the point with Have A Beer With Fear, More Beer, Drink Some Beer, and I Believe I’ll Have Another Beer. Doubtless you can see a pattern, but, to be fair, Ving pours his heart and soul into that glass, too. To this day, the man sounds like he really means it on More Beer as he howls, “I feel like somebody drove a nail into my head, and I hoping and I’m praying…I hope there’s one more beer.” It can never be said that Fear don’t care.
They just don’t care about you
It was only last year that, thanks to Dave Grohl’s Sound City Players project, Fear songs were heard live in the UK for the first time, something Ving dismissed as “an oversight.” Given that Soundgarden, Turbonegro and Guns N’ Roses all covered I Don’t Care About You, and that Fear are rightly credited as helping to shape the sound of west coast punk rock, it’s no surprise that there’s a long line to meet the singer after the show. Though he used to wear blue surgical gloves when greeting his fans, Ving obliges with photos. Maybe they do care, a little…