“Good music for bad people,” is how Brenna Red once described her band’s oeuvre. The Last Gang is an Orange County punk trio born almost an entire generation after the West Coast’s punk scene faded. But no matter, the Last Gang sounds like the kind of three-chord punk kids who grew up listening to the hardcore that Black Flag and X and Green Day and Rancid would make. Red, a vocalist/guitarist, started the group in 2004. She and various band members knocked around the OC scene for a few years and released a smattering of recordings. By 2009, they’d had enough, and the Last Gang went dark for years – the kiss of death for most acts.
The Last Gang
The Last Gang: "Cocktails"
Brenna Red (with Robert Wantland on drums and bassist Sean Viele) is from Stanton, a suburb of Orange County. She kind of has a Courtney Love aspect going in at least some of her guises, but it’s that whopper of a voice of hers that draws a listener in. She got into playing music at age 12, on a borrowed drum set which she played in her brother’s band. Later, she would pound the skins for Civet, an all-female punk band. She says her brother eventually taught her how to play guitar, but she feared singing at first because friends said she sounded like a dude.
When the Last Gang finally broke their silence around 2014, they found that there were still fans waiting to hear them blast on some new stuff. Keep Them Counting is their debut full-length, released during the spring of this year. Otherwise, the band has never been caught in the music industry’s crosshairs, which is surprising because they are so good. Red’s songs tend to get stuck in a listener’s head, the way that first wave of OC punk did back in 1976.
The bill includes Fear (celebrating 40 years of punk), Boston’s Street Dogs, and Left Alone from Wilmington, CA.