7 Seconds is back with their first full-length album in almost a decade, Leave A Light On (Rise Records), and they are taking that new material on the road. Despite a number of competing shows scattered across the Bay Area, a multi-generational crowd packed the house on Saturday night and the Oakland Metro was the perfect backdrop for what proved to be a proper punk rock show. Huh, proper punk show, you may ask? You know … no barriers between the band and the enthusiastic crowd and security that is present but knows how to let the fun unfold without interfering.
The fact that the lineup included locals La Plebe and old-school SoCal heroes Channel 3 meant that showing up late was not an option. La Plebe is a band that never ceases to energize the audience with its horns and Spanish language lyrics. You might not understand a word they’re singing, but you will understand that they kick much ass. Channel 3, a band that’s never afraid to make fun of their own hair and years and is always down for a party, focused on their more melodic classics such as Manzanar, Catholic Girl and Indian Summer and provided the perfect complement for what was to come from the headliners.
7 Seconds took the stage a bit before 11 pm and the game was on. There were clearly some veterans in the crowd who already knew that you really had only two options at a 7 Seconds show: 1) you can get in the game, accept the crush, help land stage-divers and sing along when that mic finds its way in front of your face, or 2) you can take a few steps back and enjoy watching the frenzy unfold from the backside of the pit. As the band riddled the crowd non-stop with the first five or so songs, the room appeared to mostly choose option #1.
Not surprisingly, the setlist was a healthy mix of the new material stirred in with hardcore classics from The Crew, and Walk Together, Rock Together. ~30 years between these releases yet new songs I Have Faith in You, Heads Are Bound To Roll, Slogan On A Shirt, Your Hate Mentality, and Exceptional all melded seamlessly with the likes of Still Believe, Here’s Your Warning and Die Hard. What may have come as a surprise was Leave A Light On, arguably a departure from what would be considered their classic sound, which fit right in along with covers by Sham 69 (If The Kids Are United) and Minor Threat (Minor Threat).
It’s rare to have a band that not only stays active for over three decades but also stays true to their music, their fans and their message. A little bit older, Kevin Seconds and the guys are happy to suck up those old-man aches and pains (a few years ago it was Kevin’s back, now it’s a bum knee) and deliver a hundred percent to a new generation in addition to the old-school fans. Watching the kids swarm the stage as 7 Seconds wrapped up the night with what has always been an improbably cover … 99 Red Balloons … one can hope that doesn’t change any time soon. 7 Seconds still seem to have a lot of proper punk rock shows in them.
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