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Punk-O-Rama 

Featuring U.S. Bombs, Fenix TX, and the Deviates. Sunday, May 27, at the Agora.

Some folks visualize the pop/punk divide as a meaningless boundary, an arbitrarily drawn line in the sand. Really, it's more of a towering, ominous cliff stretching out over the end of the world: Load up on too much TRL-ready, kiddie-baiting pop gloss, and you fall right off, plummeting helplessly until you land in a steaming pile of Blink-182 poop jokes -- a fate worse than death, certainly. So meet the dashing boys (all boys, of course) of the Punk-O-Rama tour, a three-band Epitaph showcase for all those who couldn't get the day off work for the Warped Tour. Headlining honors go to U.S. Bombs, the remarkably unattractive patriotic punkers with noisy tunes about the Civil War and puppy love (for evidence of the latter, try "So in Fuck With You"). Fenix TX toured extensively with Blink-182 and sounds extensively like it, with top-shelf punk production and seemingly computer-generated harmonies. Still, they've got a few good song titles ("Pasture of Muppets") and a few good songs ("Phoebe Cates," addressing the singer's autoerotic tendencies while watching the pool scene in Fast Times at Ridgemont High). The Deviates are young hardcore studs shilling their sophomore release, Time Is the Distance. Toss 'em all together and you've got a cliff-diving pop-punk occasion, but one inevitably doomed to get a bit monotonous. These bands would serve better as background music while you're, say, watching Fast Times at Ridgemont High.

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