Agent Orange bring their classic West Coast punk to the Hi-Tone this Friday night, alongside In the Whale and locals SVU. Formed in 1979 in the boom of the Southern California punk scene, the band was one of the first to mix hardcore punk with surf guitar licks, proving that while you didn't have to know how to play your instrument to gain notoriety (see the Germs), it certainly didn't hurt. The original lineup that cranked out the band's best LP did so at an incredibly young age, and one of the most impressive aspects of Living in Darkness is the lyrics. The album's title track perfectly captures the spirit of the early punk mentality, but while most first-wave California punk songs about defying authority usually involve some sort of violent element, Agent Orange took a more philosophical approach to their disdain for society. Their song "Bloodstains" is one of THE California punk classics, and ranks right alongside any other hit from that era. But that was all very long ago at this point. What has the band been up to since then?
The answer is not a lot. After releasing Living in Darkness on Posh Boy Records (Black Flag, Adolescents, JFA) the band didn't release another record until 1986, when they teamed up with Enigma Records for This Is the Voice. Fast forward another 10 years and Virtually Indestructible was released, making it one of the last times the band would release an album of all new material. While punk rock and especially hardcore are considered a young person's game, Agent Orange are still touring on the strength of their first album, a classic that holds as much resonance today as it did over 30 years ago when it was first released. The show is 18 and up.