For anyone who doesn’t know the geography of the Bay Area, the East Bay isn’t very close to Petaluma. It’s just far enough to be considered annoying to drive to, and it’s further away than San Francisco. My friend Ilya and I sat in the typical sludgy 101 North freeway traffic and slowly crossed a bridge, which took a little over an hour and a half. We passed cows and farms… Petaluma seems to be in the middle of nowhere. However, in the center of this hub is The Phoenix Theater, one of few Bay Area’s legendary punk venues that is still standing and running.
We parked in the lot across the street and walked to meet up with Andy, the current guitarist of Tsunami Bomb. He met us out front and led us through the venue to the back area. Looking around it still felt a little surreal, with the high ceilings, the balcony, and the skateboarding ramps that lined the old theater’s walls. Some time had passed since I had last been to The Phoneix Theater and place definitely felt bigger than the last time I was here in 2003. The backstage looked the same with graffiti on the walls and couches and equipment strewn about the place. As the bands were consolidating their things and the opener began their sound check, we talked to Dominic – the bassist and an original member of Tsunami Bomb.
The Exit Plan opened up the show with some straight forward Punk Rock. With their tight performance, it was obvious that they are veterans of the genre. They also mentioned that they are Petaluma locals. The drummer’s kit was pretty cool; it was covered in Batman comics. The most notable thing about this band was their energetic performance. These guys were all over the place and practically doing laps on the large stage. By the end, they didn’t even look tired and were still having so much fun.
Kepi Ghoulie is one of my favorite people and one of my favorite performers to watch. It is always a treat to see him and he never disappoints. With Rock and Roll melodies, Chupacabra and Bigfoot statues, streamers and balloons, Kepi always knows how to bring the party to any show. He also gives really good hugs!
Due to a quick band photoshoot for Tsunami Bomb, as well as my bowels not agreeing with me, I missed The Phenomenauts.
Anyway, as much as the bands were great that night, this show was very much about Tsunami Bomb. Getting to meet everyone and talk to them throughout the night really shed light on how much playing together and playing at this venue means to them. Some of the members grew up in the area and attribute The Phoenix Theater and its owner to who they are today. Once they finally hit the stage, you could in every member of the band that they felt at home. To continue the sense of community ties this band has, they mentioned that this show was a benefit and the proceeds from the door would be going to organizations and programs to aid in the losses the area too due to the massive fires that happened last fall in 2017.
A note about the new lineup of the band: I never got a chance to see any of the older versions of Tsunami Bomb. However I did catch their reunion show in San Francisco a few years ago. This was a whole new monster and it was destroying the stage in the best of ways. The lead singer, Kate, nailed tons of the old songs and they showcased new material as well. The band leaped around the stage to an adoring crowd that knew the words to every the songs. They were having so much fun, you could both see and feel it.
Once the show ended and everything had settled down, the bands all loaded their gear up and everyone finally had a chance to sit down for a second. “No really, how was it?” both Andy and Dom both asked. I could only tell them that it was awesome, because anything other than that would be lying. Tsunami Bomb is back, everyone.