Last Night: Agent Orange At Fitzgerald's

Agent Orange Fitzgerald's January 9, 2010

In the 1987 21 Jump Street episode "Mean Streets and Pastel Houses," fresh-faced Johnny Depp goes undercover as a punk to root out vicious gangland teenage thugs lurking in the inner city. He ends up at a rowdy punk concert roiling with slam-dancers crashing and banging in choreographed chaos as two-bit Hollywood actors lip sync to none other than... Agent Orange songs.

That fictionalized punk-as-pathology and dirty glamour may live long on YouTube, but Agent Orange's real ethos is not about being aural wallpaper to point-blank nihilism and senseless violence. Instead, they convey what it means to unmask false promises and struggle in the heart of a stifling suburban wasteland, where mallification thrives and young kids cope with endless blandness, boredom and consumption.

Just note their declaration of dissent on "The Last Goodbye," which decries people, both "exquisite" and uniform, that are so duped they don't even question authority, like Stepford Wives. As the band hit the first notes Sunday night at Fitz's, the crowd surged, egged on by a conjoined alienation.

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David Ensminger