Punk music is a hard scene to get a pulse on. In a time where punk music is largely dictated by a band’s ability to play by their own rules, it’s interesting when a band begins to “make it.” How will they maintain their rebellious vibe while moving towards critical acclaim? Throughout the night, fans could tell that the band is trying their best to put on an industry-approved show — there’s less goofing around on stage and more structure to the band’s set. But regimen isn’t necessarily regressive, as Beach Fossils showed fans on Thursday night.
The show at El Rey Theatre in Los Angeles was opened by Ablebody — who delivered a watered down version of the headliners — and She-Devils: The part-emo, part-goth electro duo performed an immersive set with heavy vocal distortion and brooding techno beats, offering a welcome contrast to the mediocrity of Ablebody. Unfortunately, however, the angsty high school-aged crowd grew impatient, shouting over the opener’s set for Beach Fossils.
The band finally came on around 10:30 and played a large cut of their latest Somersault. One of the defining features of their latest project is the inclusion of brass, specifically trumpet. For this tour, Beach Fossils borrowed up-and-coming LA punk band Slow Hallows’s Daniel Fox to play trumpet and keys, another notable step towards professionality. Lead singer Dustin Payseur, who rarely plays the bass live, showcased his bass skills, further indicating the band’s move to industry standards. Surprisingly, crowd engagement peaked with “Sleep Apnea,” which was the only song that nearly everyone sang (and one of their most relaxed tunes).
The show was not without traditional indie gimmicks. At one point, Payseur stopped the show to break up a fight in the mosh pit, commanding security to remove the kids. As always, fans jumped up on stage every few minutes to dive, helping Beach Fossils to keep the punk atmosphere alive.
The band sold out the theater days in advance, and in two short weeks, Beach Fossils will return to play FYF Festival just 10 miles east of their Thursday night show — that’s how much LA loves these guys. Even with less joking around and a more professional attitude, the band holds on to its core: delivering quality punk rock played by extremely talented musicians.