January 3, 2016
Mike Palm and his two partners in crime held court in the confines of the intimate performance space downstairs, which proved to be a suitable forum for their reverb-drenched, fuzzy, angst-ridden pop-punk.
When Agent Orange started out, they were ahead of their time: They pioneered a distinctive melodic sound and thereby laid the foundation for what was to eventually became labeled as "pop punk" some 10 years later - cue The Offspring's bloodstained plea to come out and play.
Sure, the biggest reference was definitely "surf culture" grounded on a reverb-drenched guitar, but calling Agent Orange just a "surf punk" band would not do them justice.
Apart from having a knack for "spy-vs.-spy" melodies, a preference for the Fender amplified "wet" spring reverb, love for Blue Oyster Cult and a poppy appeal, the alienation and at times Wipers-esque melancholy that pervades their oeuvre is what made their songs a tad more compelling than those of their peers.
With surf culture being an integral part of the Australian national fabric, it does not come as a surprise that Agent Orange and their ditties speak to Australian punk rock aficionados.
The audience lapped up every chord as the trio delivered a good selection of songs around the classic hits of the Living in Darkness era, inevitable cover versions and ornamental, rolling instrumentals paying homage to the likes of Dick Dale sprinkled with more recent compositions.
Photo by KAVV