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SF punk legends the Avengers headline reopened Oakland club

SAN FRANCISCO -- Pioneering San Francisco punk band the Avengers headline the inaugural show for the long-awaited reopening of Thee Stork Club in Oakland Saturday. sharing the stage with local favorites Very Paranoia and Warp.

Thee Stork Club was scheduled to have its grand reopening during the annual Mosswood Meltdown festival in early July, but a variety of logistical and permitting issued pushed the club's anticipated return to operation back nearly three months. SF punk legends the Avengers might be the perfect band to headline the auspicious reopening festivities. 

They were only around for a couple of years during their initial existence, yet the Avengers have managed to influence legions of punk disciples. Founding guitarist Greg Ingraham and drummer Danny Furious (aka Danny O'Brien) started the band in 1977, inviting charismatic lead singer Penelope Houston to join the group (bassist Jimmy Wilsey filled out the quartet).

The Avengers - We Are The One by Bentley Anderson on YouTube

The band's debut three-song EP We Are the One showed off Houston's ferocious vocal style and Ingraham's fiery riffs. The Avengers opened for the Sex Pistols at the group's notorious final show at San Francisco's Winterland, a gig that led to Pistols guitarist Steve Jones producing a recording session, but the departure of Ingraham in early 1979 was the beginning of the end. The quartet had split up a few months later prior to the release of their second self-titled EP drawn from the sessions with Jones.

Avengers - Uh Oh!! - 1978 by PKPurvis on YouTube

The posthumous Avengers compilation in 1983 would further spread the legend of the band's potent punk songwriting. Houston would reinvent herself as an acoustic singer/songwriter, but the release of the new collection Died for Your Sins by Lookout Records in 1999 led to the Houston and Ingraham putting together a new line-up with bassist Joel Reader and drummer Luis Illades. That version of the group has been playing regularly since 2004, including a tour with Irish punk band Stiff Little Fingers in 2019 that took the Avengers to parts of the U.S. the quartet had never played before. Last year, the Avengers opened the first ever punk show at Stern Grove, providing support for LA punk greats X.

The Avengers will be joined for this Talent Moat promoted show at Thee Stork Club by Very Paranoia. An all-star proto-punk venture, the Bay Area band features Hot Lunch drummer Rob Alper on guitar (he also played in SLA, the Fells and the Sermon) as well as members of late lamented punk/metal greats Annihilation Time (bassist Chris Grande and recent addition Jamie Sanitate on guitar), Assemble Head in Sunburst Sound (drummer Jefferson Marshall) and Dragon Rojo/Salem Lights (singer Cory Linstrum).

Very Paranoia - High Ledge by Cory M Linstrum on YouTube

After coming together in 2018, Very Paranoia released its debut 7-inch single on German psych/punk imprint Who Can You Trust Records. In 2021, the group followed up with their first eponymous full-length that features lean, two-minute blasts of primitive ferocity that genuflects at the altar or the MC5 and Aussie punk pioneers the Saints.

While Alper had to miss a few local live dates earlier this year due to commitments outside the Bay Area, a spot opening for psychedelic power trio Earthless at Berkeley's Cornerstone in February proved Very Paranoia could still deliver the goods as a quartet. Opening locals Warp features former members of Flesh World, Mallard and Blank Square. 

The Avengers with Very Paranoia
Saturday, Sept. 24, 8 p.m. $18-$20
Thee Stork Club

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