CRIMINAL DAMAGE lived up to the favorable reviews I've read in print and online that compare them to an American version of Voice of a Generation era Blitz. Stoic, husking vocalist/guitarist Paul Burdette, better known as the drummer for PDX d-beat standard-bearers Tragedy and past crust-core outfits His Hero is Gone and Deathreat, castigated US media coverage of the Iraq war, PC mudslingers, the ever-growing rich-poor gap and alcohol-assisted "escapism" beneath a gritty hail of second generation UK-inspired punk/oi!. Raven-haired drummer Crystal Fisher's thick-as-a-brick back beats nudged the dancefloor into bouts of slamming while Crim Dam's second guitarist, Tom Wassum, employed up-tempo leads on "Power of Fools," "Everything That Bleeds" and "The Choice is Clear" as melodic ballast.
The SUBHUMANS - possibly due to road-lag from touring the UK, Europe and North America - started their set on an uncharacteristic bum note and flubbed the first song, "Parasites", twice in succession. They picked up where they left off after a brief pause, however, and continued without further mishaps. Newer material such as "This Year's War" garnered a favorable response from the crowd but older classics "Mickey Mouse is Dead", "Work-Rest-Play-Die" and "Religious Wars" incited tumultuous free-for-alls. Guitarist Bruce's bristling scales underscored the vigorously bawled left-anarcho-centrism of vocalist Dick as the backline, bassist Phil and drummer Trotsky, incorporated reggae, hardcore and post-punk rhythms into a moody, volatile mix. The much-demanded encore was preceded by a self-described "punk off the street" climbing onstage to denounce the SFPD in an unintelligible drunken slur. Bemused, Dick toasted him with a bottle of water, shrugging, "I didn't understand a word, mate, but cheers."