Pennywise and Strung Out, with Authority Zero


Change gets the hype, but most things stay the same. Two decades ago, Hermosa Beach [California] H.S. grads Pennywise represented something new, drawing on a still underground skate punk sound and its blend of chunky thrash guitar, shout-along anthems and machine-gun tempos. Poised to capitalize on the early-'90s punk success of Bad Religion and the Offspring, they proved unable to follow up their indie breakthrough, 1995's About Time.

While they're still a powerful live presence, recent albums hold more appeal for their consistency than their inventiveness. It's hard to fault them, though; Pennywise is to Bad Religion what Aerosmith is to the Stones. So while their new, free MySpace album, Reason to Believe, offers catchy punk with a few wrinkles (the power pop-tinged "We'll Never Know"), there's a workmanlike banality to it.

SoCal neighbors Strung Out have been at it almost as long as Pennywise, plying a more metal-inflected skate-punk sound migrating, on the past few albums, toward greater tunefulness. While neither act scores high on originality, it's hardly worse than the ubiquity of 12-bar blues, and as music reverts from recording back to a performance art, such concerns seem less important to livewire acts like these.


Pennywise and Strung Out

Pennywise and Strung Out perform with Authority Zero, Saturday, May 10, at Warehouse Live, 813St. Emanuel, 713-225-5483.

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