The Dead Boys at The Viper Room in Los Angeles

The most impressive thing about this Dead Boys show in Hollywood was that, against the odds, it didn't feel like empty, nostalgia-fueled fun. There are only two original members – guitarist Cheetah Chrome and drummer Johnny Blitz – in this 2017 version of the Dead Boys, assembled to celebrate the 40th anniversary of debut album Young, Loud & Snotty. So by rights, what we should be getting here is a couple of old punks and a few guys that they roped in to fill out the numbers, going through the motions with some classic punk rock tunes. After all, singer Jake Hout previously fronted a “zombie” Dead Boys tribute called The Undead Boys. This might suck, right?

Not at all. Not even a little bit.

It felt like a fresh, angry young band, hungry to pummel the audience with an energy befitting twenty-somethings stepping on some dive stage for the first time. The crowd helped – there was an insane pit with some fist-fights. This wasn’t a safe, punk-by-numbers show at all. How this misfit combo has pulled this off is a mystery, but it has.

Photos by Brett Callwood