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A Warped Tour for the elders: Screeching Weasel, the Dead Milkmen, Naked Raygun lead Riot Fest West

August 20, 2009 | 12:29 pm


The kids can have the Warped Tour.

Aging punk rock fans in the Los Angeles area should circle the dates of Nov. 12-14 for the first West Coast edition of Riot Fest, a multi-venue affair that will bring together a smattering of never-should-be-forgotten punk vets across Hollywood. Initial acts announced include Screeching Weasel, the Dead Milkmen, Naked Raygun, the Adolescents and 88 Fingers Louie.

Tickets for Riot Fest go on sale Saturday at noon via Ticketweb. Three-day passes will start at $75, and shows will take place at the Palladium, the Key Club and the Roxy.

But yes, readers, you read that correct. The first paragraph does indeed say "Screeching Weasel," the Chicago snot-punk band that bridged the gap between the Ramones and Green Day. Leader Ben Weasel has a rep for not exactly being the biggest fan of touring -- or even his fans, as songs such as "You're the Enemy" make clear -- but the band's presence on the bill is a rare, must-see event, even if Screeching Weasel isn't likely to play longer than 30 minutes. 

Screeching Weasel has been covered by Blink-182 ("The Girl Next Door"), and briefly featured Green Day's Screeching_weasel Mike Dirnt as its bassist. The band was far more suburban than urban, writing songs about ogling women at the supermarket or avoiding the yuppies at the beach. Screeching Weasel has been largely missing in action since 2000's "Teen Punks in Heat," although Screeching Weasel splinter band the Riverdales recently released a new album, "Invasion U.S.A." Sample a fan-made clip for Screeching Weasel's "Cool Kids" above, one of the band's few YouTube embeds that's safe for work.

The initial bands on the Riot Fest West lineup are a bit Chicago-centric. That's no coincidence. Riot Fest was started in the Windy City in 2005 by Mike Petryshyn, who, according to a press release, had "one eye on the legendary Chicago punk scene and the other on the bands that inspire them." 

Naked Raygun has played a rare show here and there since reuniting in the late '90s. The band's working class anthems brought a deeper sense of melody to early '80s hardcore punk, and offered some of the sturdiest, straight-ahead songs of the decade. East Coasters the Dead Milkmen gained a bit more fanfare than some of the other acts on the bill, thanks to more humorous than aggressive cuts such as "Punk Rock Girl." The band reunited last year, their first shows since 2004, and first since the death of bassist Dave Schulthise.

Plenty more acts will be announced in the coming weeks. This year's Chicago edition in October features a lineup that includes NOFX, the Alkaline Trio, the Butthole Surfers, Youth Brigade and Apocalypse Hoboken, among others. Thus far, the only SoCal representative on the initial lineup is hardcore band the Adolescents, skate-punk legends who have toured regularly since reuniting earlier this decade.

-- Todd Martens

Full disclosure: The Screeching Weasel logo, tattooed on the writer's arm. Credit: Mark Millian.

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