The scene Sunday night at the Celebrity Theatre in Anaheim had less to do with St. Valentine than St. Vitus. The celebration--featuring veteran Southland punk bands the Dickies and the Circle Jerks--called for contact among slamming, stage-diving fans and, for much of the show, between the punks and a cordon of bouncers who lined the stage.
The Dickies relish silliness and have spent 10 years playing virtually everything for laughs. To them, the sight of fans rushing the stage in waves and being thrown back like the Ayatollah's children's brigades was evidently right in tune with the absurd nature of things. Led by Stan Lee and Leonard Phillips--the Flo & Eddie of punk--the band spun out tuneful if monolithic blitz-rockers that made for lightweight fun.
With their penchant for topical thundering, the headlining Circle Jerks aren't the sort to let absurdity pass with a shrug and a smirk. After watching fans and bouncers collide for 10 or 15 minutes, singer Keith Morris called time out and offered a snarling proposal: The band would order the bouncers to the wings if the stage divers would stay clear of the Jerks' equipment and not clog the stage. Like many of the Circle Jerks' lyrics, it was a sensible idea put across in an overbearingly self-righteous and blunt way that was reflected in an uneven set.