It’s a funny thing about punk-rock: Though the basic sound hasn’t changed much in the last 10 years, though the hippest alienated teen-agers have long tended to listen to Primus and Ministry instead, the basic pose of punk--flat-out anarchy--still has the power to shock. Or does it?
Friday at the Palladium in Hollywood, chanting the chorus to their biggest hit, “Punk’s Not Dead,” mohawked English punk-era heroes the Exploited sounded a little like the fortysomething Who singing “My Generation” on their tour a few years back. Where the Exploited’s politically correct politics seemed even a little prescient (when you could hear the words) the grunted, tuneless, punk-polka-meter music sounded dated as Duran Duran.
Co-headliners the Cro-Mags, a New York-based hard-core band fronted by a charismatic Hare Krishna-disciple singer, exemplified the new face of punk-rock. The songs, based around speedy metal rifts, sounded tight and full and clean--almost exactly, in fact, like one of the hoards of faceless death-metal bands that pack the Country Club on Saturday nights.