• Youth Brigade At The Mercury Lounge, New York City, 11-14-2010

    Youth Brigade finished off their recent American tour with a stop at the Mercury Lounge on Houston Street in New York City two nights ago, a show that was opened by The TV Tramps and The Scandels and which was preceeded by a screening of the excellent documentary Let Them Know, which is a really interesting look at the origins and history of BYO Records and Youth Brigade. It’s a fascinating snapshot of the California punk rock scene of the early eighties and a great companion piece to the essential Another Stage Of Mind documentary that chronicles Youth Brigade’s infamous tour with Social Distortion that saw them attempt to drive around North America in a schoolbus.

    With input from the Stern Brothers themselves as well as people like Ian McKaye and Fat Mike, it’s a pretty kick ass document of not just the band but the label and the movement behind them, starting with the Stern’s immigration from Canada to California through their younger days and into the teenage years where their musical legacy would start. The DVD is a good one, featuring not just the documentary but a load of interesting bonus features as well. It comes housed inside a really classy hardcover book (which covers a lot of content not discussed in the movie, including the rarely known fact that lighting your farts in Poland will help you pick up girls, a fact that Shawn Stern confirmed to me personally when I asked him about) package and includes a CD with a bunch of BYO artists on it, including personal favorites The Filthy Thieving Bastards (Swingin’ Utters offshoot that they are) as well as groups like The Bouncing Souls, NOFX, Lagwagon, The Suhumans, and of course, Youth Brigade themselves. It’s a great package at a great price and completely worth owning if you have even a slight interest in the material.

    At any rate, Youth Brigade came on just after 10:30 to a fairly small but rightly enthusiastic crowd of people from all ages, though mainly comprised of thirty-somethings like my wife and myself. They opened with Where Are All The Old Man Bars, which is probably my favorite song of theirs if I had to choose. They blistered through a lot of their more popular songs – Fuck You, Fight To Unite, Violence -and closed with Sink With Kalifonija, at which point myself and three other marginally intoxicated sorts decided it was time to get on stage and the band seemed pretty cool with this idea.