We know some cynical tykes who start whining every time an old band plays a few shows. "On the paying-for-their-coffins tour?" they mewl. And that's fine -- the young should have contempt for the old. But we have to wonder: Where are the voices of intelligent, pissed-off, political teenage girls these days? We know they're out there. Right now, we can't hear them, but we can hear the Avengers.
Formed in 1977 and together for just two years, the band is widely acknowledged to have changed rock music forever, making history with songs like "We Are the One." The group opened for the Sex Pistols and headlined over bands like the Dead Kennedys and X. Lead singer Penelope Houston was all of 19 at the time and wrote most of the songs, some of which sound sadly fresh today -- like "The American in Me," with its anti-war lyrics.
In lieu of pretending that glossy guppies like Avril Lavigne are interesting or relevant, we're betting that teens and Geritol punkers alike will swarm to Friday night's all-ages show. Such an event isn't likely to happen again anytime soon, Houston told us on the phone recently. "We've only played once in San Francisco in the last five years, and I don't have any plans for the future. So people should stop kicking themselves for missing these shows -- catch it while you can." Houston has long since become famous in neo-folk circles with her eponymous band, but she remains excited about the old group (her and another original member, Greg Ingraham, joined by Luis Illades and Joel Reader) and the old songs. Still, she knows where her artistic priorities are. "It's all the hits and nothing but the hits," she says of the set list, laughing, then brushes off the notion of creating any new Avengers songs. "I'm saving most of my new writing for my band, because that's kind of where I'm going."
You've got one chance, here, kids. After this, no more whining.