Words by Hillary Hedstrom | Pictures by Bobby Talamine
Culture Abuse proved that there is no wrong time for a punk rock show. On a Thursday afternoon, their hard rock energy was brought. On their first day off in three weeks, Culture Abuse put on a show that was not on their official tour.
(L-R) Nick Bruder, David Kelling, Shane Plitt, June Bug, Anaiah Lee
The five piece group hails from California and have toured with names like Nothing and Green Day. The band is made of David Kelling on vocals, June Bug on guitar, Shane Plitt on bass, Anaiah Lee on drums, and Nick Bruder on guitar. Culture Abuse has a surf punk vibe and sound. The band formed in 2013 and recently had their 6 year anniversary of their first show.
A strong crowd came out to the show, including the bands that they have been touring with. Most of the crowd had bought tickets to their show at the Subterranean.
Kelling brought a film camera on stage and took a few pictures during the performance. He had been taking some around the studio and during set up and later took some during the interview.
They started off their set strong, with the titular track off of their latest album Bay Dream. The song is about being on the road and away from home. The crowd went nuts for it.
Their track list included a cover of “Should I Stay or Should I Go” by The Clash.
Their final song, “Turn It Off” was off of their first album, which they were hesitant to do. They didn’t want to give any royalties to that company. But they decided that they’ll “give them the 25 cents and play it anyway.”
Kelling occasionally made some interjections between the songs. He talked about everything from how nervous they were to be filming a television show to their first record label.
They had a bad contract on their first label and were being taken advantage of. For the release of Bay Dream, they have switched labels and been able to prosper.
After the set they came out and mingled with the crowd who came. They were selling vinyls of Peach and Bay Dream and autographing them.
During the interview, Kelling revealed that “Bay Dream” was about leaving his mother who has a terminal illness while he’s on tour. He doesn’t know if he should sing the meaning or go with the music because it’s a very personal song.
They signed the first contract offered to them, which was not a good one. They got a tour offer and when they reached out for money to help get a tour van, they were told to “sell more records” by the company. It’s hard to be just about the music when there’s a business side to it as well.
Their set in Chicago was the next day, at the Subterranean. It was an entirely different environment than the intimate show the day before. The crowd starting filtering in for the first opener, Buggin Out.
Buggin Out is a Chicago-based hardcore band who joined Culture Abuse during their show at the Subterranean. Several members had their parents’ in the audience and the lead singer’s mom was filming the entire act on her phone.
DARE OC STRAIGHT EDGE is an LA-based hardcore band. Lee, who performs with Culture Abuse as their drummer, is in DARE.
Young Guv and Tony Molina were both great transitions to Culture Abuse. They are both surf rock bands. They brought the crowd down from the hardcore screamo music that Buggin Out and DARE brought, but kept the crowd hyped enough for Culture Abuse.
Around 11 p.m. Culture Abuse finally came on and immediately everyone began to lose their mind.
Because of the lack of barrier, people were going up on stage to throw themselves into the crowd to crowdsurf. Bodies were flying everywhere.
Kelling was sharing the use of the mic. He was throwing it up to the balcony, and having people who came up stage sing into it.
There was a never ending mosh pit. The audience were screaming all of the lyrics while throwing themselves around.
The crowd was super friendly and helpful throughout the chaos. One guy lost his glasses so people were looking on the ground for the glasses and the lens that had popped out. Both were unharmed.
At one point someone got thrown into Kelling, who has cerebral palsy. Both went down onstage and people immediately jumped up to help them both up and make sure they were both ok.
1. Bay Dream
2. So Busted
3. Be Kind To The Bugs
5. Calm E
6. Should I Stay Or Should I Go
7. Rats In The Walls
8. Turn It Off
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