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The Offspring once said, “The Kids Aren’t Alright”.  Not long after they made that statement, a sound, a style, and a message would [re]emerge in music. This scene was for the kids. Not marketed to them. Not focus-group tested, strategically curated, or manufactured. This scene was a response. Someone needed to remind our future generation that they will be alright.  The Dollyrots are a part of this scene.

Materialized in the form of a DIY-hard, punk-pop duo, The Dollyrots have been letting their freak-flag fly since the early 2000s, forming smack dab in the middle of a re-birth of the punk scene. Fast-forward to 2019 and the release of their newest album, Daydream Explosion, and they are obviously just as much for the culture as ever. Last Saturday, I was invited to witness the release party for this record.  However, last Saturday, something even more special happened - I time traveled.

Now before I continue, I want to shout out Highland Park’s underrated gem of a venue, The Hi-Hat. Since its debut as a live performance venue in 2016, The Hi Hat has become one of the most coveted venues for both local and traveling acts to perform at. Local music nerds know that they can always count on a night at the Hi Hat to bring with it a steady vibe. The kind of steady vibe that can only come from exposed brick, craft beer and good music. Not only that, but as my partner-in-crime and I would find out on this evening, a Saturday night on York St. is host to all kinds of art displays, street food, and colorful characters. Should you find yourself nearby, I highly recommended stopping by.

Now, back to the time traveling.  As the opening track erupted in true volcanic fashion out into the venue, I was transported to a time where I sought refuge in music in a surreal, visceral, hyper-emotional way. All at once I was a tween-age anarchist—starved for understanding and living and dying to every all-consuming emotional roller-coaster.

As the power couple on stage let loose track after track from their new album, the energy they carried with them only continued to rise. Fast-paced, melodic and catchy punk anthems crashed against the brick walls and high-ceilings of the Hi Hat. Humans of all ages danced, connected, and just let go. At one point during the show, they even brought out their 8-year-old son to play guitar with them on stage. It was such a fun and engaging moment that culminated in the crowd chanting for the band to keep a guitar they were raffling off because the boy was sad that they were giving it away. He’d been the one to pick it out.  The whole performance had a certain charm and brought me back to a time when I’d listened to this kind of music all the time.  A very big thank you to The Dollyrots for having me out.  I enjoyed myself immensely.

James Sebastian

Writer - Los Angeles



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