Music » Livewire

The Avengers

With Pansy Division and Cheap Tragedies. Sunday, October 21, at the Beachland.

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The original Avengers only released a few singles in the band's lifetime (1977-'79). What's more, the group's first posthumous collection, 1983's Avengers, quickly went out of print. Nevertheless, the San Francisco band has influenced scores of West Coast punks. (The 1999 compilation Died for Your Sins serves as the perfect primer.)

Led by the fierce vocals of Penelope Houston, the quintet's first-wave punk echoes its British peers, sounding like the Damned if they hadn't kicked out Chrissie Hynde. This isn't surprising. The Avengers opened for the Sex Pistols in '78, and guitarist Steve Jones even produced several tracks.

At the same time, the roots of West Coast pop punk can be discerned in the rambunctious youth anthem "We Are the One" as well as "Thin White Line," whose dueling boy/girl vocals and decadent subject matter presage SoCal counterparts X.

After a smattering of shows over the last few years, the reconstituted Avengers are undertaking their first-ever national tour, offering glimpses of a blueprint 30 years late. Thanks to Houston's crackling vocals, it's none the worse for wear.

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