Suburban Clampdown 3: Gorilla Biscuits, Strife, Ignite, Firestarter, The Venomous Pinks, Sweat, Godhead, Bent Blue, Major Pain, Strung Out
December, 2022 saw the return of Suburban Clampdown 3 to the Garden Amphitheater in Garden, Grove, CA, and this year the lineup saw seminal NYHC band Gorilla Biscuits headlining, supported by Strife, The Venomous Pinks, Strung Out, Ignite, Back To Godhead, Firestarter, Bent Blue, Sweat, and Major Pain.
The night was plagued by a rare winter storm, which proved problematic both for showgoers hoping to catch the earlier sets (for anyone outside of SoCal, traffic becomes an impossibility with the appearance of water from the sky) as well as for those in the audience of the open air amphitheater. But, in spite of the weather, the show went on and bands alternated performances between the main amphitheater and the smaller venue within the venue, the Locker Room. The use of both venues allowed for back-to-back sets, making the most of a stacked bill of hardcore and punk favorites.
The Locker Room is a small capacity venue, and Bent Blue, Firestarter, and Major Pain played to a room overflowing with wild energy as each set ramped up the anticipation for the night’s headliners. Later in the night, the action would return to the Locker Room as Sweat and The Venomous Pinks closed out the evening after the 10pm noise curfew saw the end of action on the main stage.
On the amphitheater stage, Back To Godhead, Strife, Ignite, and Strung Out all played to an increasingly frenetic crowd, everyone enjoying the night despite the rain, with the venue becoming more and more packed as the evening wore on. By the time Gorilla Biscuits began their load in, the air was electric with excitement as showgoers young and old eagerly awaited the opening horns of Gorilla’s Biscuits familiar anthem, “New Direction.”
A sign from the hardcore gods, the rain that had plagued the evening ceased almost at the exact moment that the trumpets began to blare the introduction that has become synonymous with one of hardcore’s greatest bands, and bodies overtook the stage as one after another they began to dive for the band that, for so many, started it all.
GB played a solid hour long set, though they hadn’t played for more than ten minutes by the time the entire stage had become engulfed by the audience and bodies swirled around Civ, while the rest of the band played from atop the drum riser to keep from being swallowed by the crowd. As the show continued with the wild energy of a runaway train, Joe Nelson joined the band to sing Uniform Choice’s “Use Your Head,” leading into a GB cover of “Minor Threat” that had an already frenzied crowd storming the stage to sing along.
The set ended where everything began with Gorilla Biscuits playing “Start Today” to a crowd that had now completely absorbed the stage. Stage diving bodies flew from the drum riser and Civ was barely visible amongst the crowd, sharing the mic as if it were Gorilla Biscuits karaoke. As Civ thanked the audience for an amazing night in Orange County, it was clear everyone in attendance knew they’d witnessed a show for the ages!
Photos by Matt @ Today Forever