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The Ataris at The Blue Lamp in Sacramento

So let me tell you a little story that may or may not be entirely factually accurate, depending on how well my memory has held up.

I was 17 (I think) and in love with a band called The Ataris. The band's pop-punk tunes of crushes, heartache and life's complications just like so totally resonated with my teenage soul. The band was coming to Sacramento and my then boyfriend, or possibly "ex-boyfriend, but still friends," John and I were so stoked. I had saved up my money and then I got grounded, per usual.

John went without me. Cue crushing of my teenage soul. I don't remember how I dealt, but I probably blasted The Ataris in my room and ranted to my friends on AOL Instant Messenger, in typical teenage protest.

Whether from lack of funds, lack of ride or permission, missing any show sent in me a ranting Livejournal rage at that age, but this one especially stung.

Fast forward in time and I kept missing opportunities to see The Ataris. I was devastated again when in 2003 they were the main band I wanted to see at Warped Tour, having seen just about everyone else I cared to before, and they ended up playing first. I was late and only caught the last few songs.

I did see the singer (and driving force of the band) solo once at The Boardwalk in Orangevale. I don't remember what year it was or a whole lot about the show, but I do recall Mel, formally of Luckie Strike, opening the show. Fun (and not at all embarrassing), mini, uber specific to the Sac scene history lesson: Mel used to give Teenage Laura love and life advice, which inspired her to start the Mel, the Punk Rock Love Doc website. But I digress.

Last year, The Ataris announced a reunion tour, playing the mainstream album, "So Long, Astoria" in its entirety, but that album just isn't my jam, at least not in the way the earlier albums are. My response was basically, "No one cares. Play Blue Skies or End is Forever!"

Well that's what the band -- and really, that means lead singer Kris Roe -- decided to do in 2015.

So on a Monday night, I found myself up front at The Blue Lamp, singing along at the top of my lungs to "Blue Skies, Broken Hearts ... Next 12 Exits." And it was glorious.

Thirty-something Laura had a blast enjoying a night Teenage Laura bitterly missed out on.

The familiar songs rocked harder live, and Kris' vocals cut with a raspier edge. The crowd ate it all up, singing along and letting loose in the pit. After Kris belted out "Broken Promise Ring" solo to end the "Blue Skies" set, the full band closed out the show with a Misfits encore that sent the crowd into a frenzy not often seen at 21+ shows.

Sacramento showed up and represented on a Monday night, even packing the club for the Bay Area swamp-rock openers, Andalusia Rose. Sactown's own punk trio, The Secretions, followed with a short set that showed a bit of rust and nerves, but it's not like anyone singing along to the three-chord anthems really cared.

The Ataris have some new music on Bandcamp, which you can download for free, or do the way cooler thing, and actually pay for it.


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