Tijuana Panthers and Friends Rock Velvet Jones

New Noise Music Festival Surf-Punk Sweat Pool

“Why is your shirt soaking wet?” she asked. His response, “Well, sweetheart, I’ve just been banging my head hard enough for my brains to fall out my nose at the New Noise concert.” On Thursday, October 15, Velvet Jones kicked off the festive weekend by turning into an indie surf-punk sweat pool for the Tijuana Panthers show.

The night started with a full throttle set from Royal Suns, a band of young guns from Santa Maria. The group was obviously influenced by the Tijuana Panthers because the Suns moshed and sang the words to every Panthers’ song during the headliner’s set. The Suns had a raw style that intertwined complex song compositions making them the most interesting band of the night. Their playing expressed an emotional intensity and simultaneous chilled-out confidence that will certainly set them up for further success; look out for these guys in the future, seriously.

Next up was Aquadolls, a SoCal band bubbling with pop-rock personality. Lead singer, Melissa Brooks, describes her band as “perma-teenage mermaids,” and they definitely brought a juvenile aspect to the show with a certain simplicity that was comforting and pure fun. For example, take the lyrics of “Our Love Will Always Remain,” which is a lo-fi groove that lends itself to endless swaying and swinging: “It’s raining its raining I wish that it was sunny out/It’s chilly so chilly I wish that it was summertime again/We’re laughing and grooving and surfing till the sun goes down/We’re chillin’ and killin’ its always fun when you’re around me.” Brooks’s mix of girly sparkle and Gwen Stefani punk rock crudeness made for an exhilarating show.

Ghost Tiger opened for Tijuana Panthers and is always a favorite. Santa Barbara locals who haven’t seen a Ghost Tiger show are definitely missing out. Alixandra Macmillan-Fiedel’s saccharine voice and the band’s catchy instrumental hooks create a positively enjoyable listen. Try not smiling while dancing to their single “Science Camp,” or feeling deeply while hearing the thundering bass drum of “Whiskey Winter,” it’s almost impossible.

Lastly, the Tijuana Panthers took the stage and another mosh pit gained a riotous momentum. The members of the Royal Suns sang along at the top of their lungs and incited the energy of the pit to grow as the Panthers went into their classic surf punk songs such as “Torpedo,” and “Creature.” Phil “the Sippy Cup” Shaheen is the drummer and singer; he has a whiney voice that reminds listeners of epic southern California skate parks and girls in short-shorts on penny boards in red Vans sneakers. It’s the kind of hoppy and whiplash beach boy punk that is insanely fun to freeform dance to. Throw your arms out like a spaghetti noodle, twist down to the floor, or push people and run around like a chicken with your head cut off. I think we had some fun, just maybe.


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