Material: Just the name Hardship Anchors generates the sort of images and ideas that work as the ideal descriptor for this band’s music. Sailor Jerry tattoo art and muscle cars, greased hair and pin-up girls — it’s all part of that great rock & roll/punk-rock mash-up. So the tunes are a glorious blend of fellow local band Social Distortion’s jailhouse rockabilly punk, and the catchy melodies of a group like Face to Face. That’s the rough-as-hell majesty of these Long Beach boys—the music has a rugged simplicity, yet is utterly infectious and wonderfully unrelenting.
Musicianship: That unrelenting vibe introduces a driving, hard edge to the Hardship Anchors sound and, while it can often be tempting to underestimate the musicians in the group due to the aforementioned simplicity inherent in punk rock, that would be a huge mistake here. Luck and Gillies are a solid rhythm section, a pair of musicians that are perfectly in sync, while also allowing themselves the occasional moment of wild flamboyance. But frontman Lucca holds the attention—he has an expressive voice and fascinating guitar style that, together, allow the songs to both breathe and blossom.
Performance: Honestly, there’s not a lot to see. The three men climb up onto the stage after a swift backline change, plug in, and get on with the job in hand––walloping out their songs. Luck is expressive enough from his stool, while Lucca and Gillies stand on either side of the stage and barely move. But the lack of any sort of big show doesn’t distract from the fact that the band pours all of their passion into the music. Lucca stands, legs spread, right up against the mic stand, closes his eyes, and belts out one life lesson after another.
Summary: This sort of gig, on this occasion opening for Messer Chups in their hometown, is the Hardship Anchors’ bread and butter right now. And that’s just about perfect; the trio can hone their craft playing with name bands passing through town, in front of good-sized crowds that apparently enjoy what they hear. But on this evidence, there’s no reason why the Hardship Anchors shouldn’t be headlining at rooms like Alex’s Bar very soon.