The Avengers and Kid Congo Powers
Great American Music Hall
January 10, 2024
Photos by Raymond Ahner
San Francisco Punk Rock icons The Avengers headlined the Great American Music Hall last week, showing the packed crowd they can still put on as high energy of a show as they did when they opened the Sex Pistols final show ever at Winterland in San Francisco almost 46 years to the day later. Everyone in attendance most certainly seemed to agree.
Vocalist Penelope Houston and fellow original member James Ingraham (guitar) took the stage with bassist Joel Reader and drummer Luis Illades, and immediately launched into ‘”Cheap Tragedies.” From there the band ripped through all the classics, including “We Are the One,” “Teenage Rebel,” and “Car Crash.” They also played “Glad I’m a Girl,” a “newer” song written by Houston back in 2002.
By the time The Avengers wrapped up their set with their cover of The Rolling Stones “Paint it Black,” and “The American in Me,” it was clear the band are as still as relevant today as they were 47 years ago.
Support for the evening came from the one and only Kid Congo Powers, who was fronting his longtime band, The Pink Monkey Birds. Although Kid Congo has more than a few songs in his back pocket from his time with The Cramps, The Bad Seeds, and The Gun Club, he, along with guitarist Mark Cisneros and drummer Ron Miller, performed a 14-song set that was heavy on Pink Monkey Birds material. “Silver for my Sister,” “Psychic Future,” and “Ese vicio delicioso” (during which Kid encouraged the crowd to sing along in Spanish) were all highlights. Of course the crowd wanted to hear some of the songs Congo is most known for, and he and the band didn’t disappoint, playing “New Kind of Kick” (The Cramps), “Goo Goo Muck” (Ronnie Cook and the Gaylads), and “Sex Beat” (The Gun Club). It was an extremely entertaining set by a very humble legend, and was the perfect band to get the crowd pumped for the headliners.
Opening the show was another San Francisco punk rock institution, Frightwig. A seminal act in the early days of the punk rock scene, the band brought many O.G. San Francisco punk rockers out on a rainy weekday night, and had them at the front of the stage while they belted out “War on Women,” “Ride Your Bike,” and “The Redistribution of Wealth.” Closing their set with “A Man’s Got to Do What a Man’s Got To Do, Frightwig more than got the ball rolling on what ended up being a great night old school San Francisco style punk rock.
Here’s a slideshow with more photos of all three bands by Raymond Ahner: