The Testors, featuring Sonny Vincent, first blitzed my brain with the 2003 Swami Records release Testors: Complete Recordings 1976–79. I was instantly hooked on “You Don’t Break My Heart,” “Let’s Get Zooed Out,” “Sick on Yesterday,” “Bad Attitude,” and their other catchy, raw punk gems. A year later, Sonny performed at the Horizontal Action Blackout in Chicago with members of Rocket from the Crypt as his backing band. Unfortunately, I missed that show as well as several other national appearances throughout the years, including the 2011 Atlanta Mess-Around.
When I recently learned that Sonny would be playing in Chicago with the Bad Reactions a week after this year’s installment of the HoZac Blackout (May 17–20), I resigned myself to the fact that I’d never see him live. But fate threw me a bone in the guise of a friend’s baby shower in San Diego that turned out to be pretty miraculous.
Certainly, it was wonderful hanging out with my oldest friend and eating my weight in tacos and decadent chocolate cake. But Sonny and the Bad Reactions also played at the Soda Bar that weekend. In addition, my first nephew emerged a week early, about an hour after the final chord of “Phantom” rang out and a mere four miles away from the venue.
It’s funny to think that I’ll forever remember April 28, 2012, as my nephew’s first birthday, my best friend’s baby shower, and the night I shot Sonny Vincent with my fisheye lens. Crazy.
Anyway, Sonny and the Bad Reactions (Josh of Ex-Humans/Carbonas, Jon of Beat Beat Beat, and Luis of Sorrows) tore into a slew of Testors classics and a couple of new numbers. Sonny’s voice hasn’t changed a bit and the songs were spot on—I was totally blown away. I also liked the opening band, the Widows, and their fist-pumping garage punk that reminded me of Radio Birdman.
Here are a couple of shots from the show. You can see more here, or catch them on their current tour, which ends May 28 at the Burlington in Chicago. (Speaking of the Blackout, I’ll be showing some photography at the art show/opening party on May 17 at the Volcano Room. Stop by and say hi! And in case I don’t get a chance to squeal about the upcoming Blackout, Redd Kross, or Roky Erickson, you can look back on last year’s misadventures here.)