Since first coming together four decades ago in Southern California, Agent Orange have become one of the most seminal acts in early American punk rock, surf punk, and skate punk, commanding, if not a household name, definitely a legendary reputation in the punk scene, staying regularly active throughout their entire, impressive run. While new music isn’t something the group have worried about in recent decades, their legacy alone makes them an essential punk band to see live, and after a cancelled would-be Nashville show earlier this year, we’re brimming with anticipation for their return (seemingly their first Music City outing in many years) to headline Exit/In tonight, Sept. 27, with famed New York punks The Turbo A.C.’s and local hard rocking up and comers Taco Mouth tapped to support! If you like quality, classic punk rock, you should grab tickets right here ASAP, then read on for more about the show!
Formed 40 years ago in Orange Country, California, punk outfit Agent Orange are one of the most consistently active and important figures of the golden era of American punk rock, and also a seminal fixture of surf punk and the SoCal skate punk scene. The trio have always been helmed by frontman Mike Palm, the only constant in decades of lineup changes, but originally also included drummer Scott Miller and bassist Steve Soto, who went on to form legendary group The Descendents. Combining the raw and hardcore punk sounds of the late ’70s and early ’80s with a love of classic California surf rock tones (notably the first punk band to do so), Agent Orange erupted onto the scene with their debut single “Bloodstains,” still perhaps their most famous track, hyped by legendary KROQ DJ Rodney Bingenheimer, who helped the song become a SoCal punk staple throughout 1980. After an eponymous debut EP that year, the band released their first full-length, Living in Darkness, in 1981, part of their only prolific run as recording artists, which included two more EPs in subsequent years, ahead of a slicker 1986 sophomore album, This Is the Voice. Long aligned with the extreme sports world, Agent Orange have been inextricably linked with skate punk culture from their earliest days, and as a result have had their music appear in movies, surf and skate films, television, live sporting events, and video games (notably, the Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater soundtrack helped introduce the band to a new audience in the ’00s). Though their recording output has slowed since the mid-80s, with only one other full-length, Virtually Indestructible, arriving in ’96, some compilations in the ’00s, along with some other odds and ends, Agent Orange have for four decades remained a consistently touring, fiercely independent outfit, and even the current lineup, rounded out by bassist Perry Giordano and drummer Dave Klein, have been a unit since last decade. Obviously a bucket list band for any self-respecting punk fan, Agent Orange are also a must-see for anyone who loves fast, frenetic, old school SoCal punk rock. It’s unclear how long it’ll be until they make it back to Music City- don’t miss 0ut!
THE TURBO A.C.’S
Like Agent Orange, long-running New York punks The Turbo A.C.’s are fond of infusing aggressive, hardcore leaning punk rock with surf riffs (though they often take their sound to more hard rock and rockabilly extremes). Formed in 1995, the band broke out with their debut LP, Damnation Overdrive, a year later, and have remained pretty active since, releasing new albums at a regular clip until this decade (where 2011’s Kill Everyone and last year’s great Radiation served as their longest gap). Also, like Agent Orange, still true to their independent spirit, the band have remained a regularly touring fixture, particularly in Europe, where they command a fervent fanbase, and are another must-see for fans of legit punk rock.
Formed by ex-Dead Deads members Erica Sellers and Angela Lese, new local project Taco Mouth, something of a version 2.0 of the gals’ former Louisville group CatFight, fuses a love of old school hard rock and punk with more contemporary party rock. Definitely indebted to the protopunk bite and counterculture spirit of acts like Agent Orange and The Turbo A.C.’s, the band have become an increasingly active fixture in the local scene since first emerging in 2017, with their debut EP, W.G.A.F., and debut full-length, A Deafening Silence, both arriving last year. With a wild and exciting live show, if you haven’t explored this up and coming group yet, there’s never been a better time to jump on the bandwagon.
Agent Orange, The Turbo A.C.’s, and Taco Mouth will perform tonight, Sept. 27 at Exit/In. The show is 18+, begins at 9 p.m. (doors at 8 p.m.), and tickets are available to purchase for $15.