Culture

Lee Ving Christmas Gifts with Fear

Lee Ving Christmas Gifts with Fear: L.A. punk vets Fear have been playing these Fuck Christmas shows, named after their 1982 single of the same name, for years now. In true punk fashion, they took it upon themselves to be the turd in the festive punchbowl. Leather-clad Grinch, Scrooge and Mr. Potter, here to mock all of the Yuletide joy that can be found elsewhere. We wouldn’t have it any other way.

Of course, it’s all for the chuckles. Outside of Alex’s Bar, at the merch stand, they’re selling Christmas wrapping paper, with the Fear logo on it, for fuck’s sake! It’s pantomime — goofy, silly fun. The fact that, years after “Fuck Christmas,” Lee Ving and Fear released a remarkably authentic cover of “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” suggests that he doesn’t hate the holiday quite as much as some might think.

Regardless, the atmosphere at the first of Fear’s two Long Beach shows, on the Thursday before Christmas, was celebratory. A stacked four-band bill saw Stormhouse open proceedings with aplomb — a strong female singer battering the crowd and getting an early circle pit going. Penalty Kill upped the hardcore aggression slightly, without sacrificing tunes. The crowd was well and truly warmed up.

N8NOFACE (Brett Callwood)

We’ve been wanting to see N8NOFACE live since interviewing the solo performer in March of 2021. He didn’t disappoint. He told us then that he is heavily influenced by mythical L.A. synth-punks the Screamers.

“The only difference is the subject matter, which is something you might find in an outlaw country song, or a rap song,” he said. “Tales of drugs and streets. Things I’ve seen my friends do growing up in Tucson, Arizona. I just tell those stories. I’ve heard it called rapping on synth-punk beats. To me, I don’t know if I’d call it rapping but it’s subject matter you would find in that so maybe that’s why people address it that way. Just a couple of Synthesizers and some drum machines, and me screaming my head off. I cover the Screamers’ ‘122 Hours of Fear’ in every show I do. It’s a must.”

It’s just the one man, on stage with his devices, playing tunes like “I Hate Hate Hate Your New Boyfriend” with manic vigor. The facial expressions and dance moves are spectacular — it’s frankly hard not to sport a shit-eating grin while watching. And he’s clearly a local favorite; plenty of people in the crowd were singing along. A superb set, all told.

That just left Fear to finish things off. Naturally, Ving and his merry cohorts were greeted like heroes and they responded by jumping straight into a riotous “Let’s Have a War.” The Long Beach crowd responded appropriately, with another circle pit.

Each song preceded by Ving’s trademark “1234,1234,” we swiftly got “Beef Bologna,” Camarillo,” and punk classic “I Don’t Care About You.”

The Archie Bunker-esque “humor” of “Honor & Obey” sounds super fucking dated nowadays, though we doubt Ving gives a shit. But “I Love Living in the City” is magnificent, as is “More Beer” and of course the inevitable “Fuck Christmas.” Fear is, if nothing else, reliable.

Til next year then.

Fear (Brett Callwood)

Lee Ving Christmas Gifts with Fear

Fear (Brett Callwood)

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