Live Picks: 06.16.2011 – 06.22.2011

06.17: Nicole Atkins + Sun Hotel – The Parish

06.18: The Unnaturals – Banks Street Bar

06.19: Tombs + Haarp – Euclid Records

06.22: A Billion Ernies + Caddywhompus + The Dongles + The Riffs – The Big Top

Though the ideology of punk rock from the 1980s was essentially defined by bands’ extremely unconventional – even unpredictable – political opinions, the 90s saw a polarization of views when punk/ska scenes nationwide were inundated with musicians from the Christian right. From that time on, individualistic world views were at best an afterthought, and bands did their best to fit judiciously into groups of either “socially conscious” or “Christian” musicians, with the two sides occasionally clashing (there was the infamous ousting of Guttermouth from the 2004 Warped Tour for allegedly not falling into left-wing line).

In that kind of context, the aggressively-yelled beliefs of A Billion Ernies are certainly refreshing, and arguably groundbreaking for being as capricious as they are sincere. Though decidedly Christian, it would be disingenuous to describe the Hemet, CA band’s outspoken opinions as owing to anything “traditional”. On Dumpster Generation, their third full-length album (and first for New Orleans-based Community Records), the unambiguous lyrics of singer Ryan Leavelle reveal a band whose desire to illuminate the modern misconceptions surrounding a Christian God is overshadowed only by a supreme disgust of hypocrisy, both religious and non. A parallel goal, it would seem, is to underlay said lyrics with a genre amalgam of heavy rock, ska, reggae and punk; the result is a moving barrage of impressive guitar and bass work, in-your-face thrash drums and tight, full horns.

A Billion Ernies will be kicking off a near-month-long tour with Caddywhompus at the Big Top. They’ll be joined by the jazz-influenced noise pop band the Dongles and pop-punk band the Riffs. As a bonus, local cartoonist Tommy LeBlanc will be showing selected works.

MP3: A Billion Ernies: “The Existentialist’s Apprentice”

Check out our New Orleans Music Calendar for a full slate of constantly updated live picks

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