The Arlene Francis Center, located in Santa Rosa’s downtown Railroad Square, is an essential venue for Santa Rosa’s underground music scene. You’ll never go there and just see a band play- there’s always local artists putting up new pieces, fire dancers, creepy transients mingling with underage girls, etc. Monday night was no exception.

Santa Rosa hardcore favorites Strike to Survive opened the evening with a quick and hard-hitting set, including an awesome cover of the Beastie Boys’ “Sabotage.”

UK boys The Arteries played hard and fast. This wasn’t their first journey over the ocean from their homeland of Wales, and it definitely won’t be the last. Their performance reflected all of the grit and intensity that I have come to expect from British punk bands, but with surprisingly original song arrangements that were still catchy as all hell. Imagine hearing intricate harmonized guitar riffs juxtaposed immediately with constant unison riffs on the low E string that bash you over the head with their simplicity. It was like that.

With all the line-up changes Dead to Me has had over the past few years, it was easy for me to forget that I had already seen them about twelve times, especially since their newest line-up is the strongest one yet. Ken Yamazaki and Sam Johnson both came through hard on guitar duties and Johnson’s snotty vocals put a new shine on some of DTM’s older songs.

The outspoken singer/bassist “Chicken” gave his usual fierce and fiery eyed performance, proving once again that he is the most flexible bassist in punk rock.

Chicken getting low.

People from Santa Rosa (and especially Ukiah) love Broadway Calls. This is a fact. Literally minutes after Dead to Me ended their set, the boys from Portland had already plugged in and started playing while everyone was still outside smoking cigarettes. Bodies instantly began to flood the main stage room, and it was then that I remembered how hard people rage at BC shows. I mean, I shouldn’t be surprised — they write great songs with immediately memorable lyrics, e.g., “But I don’t have that passion, just an ego and moderate talent. Please understand, I know nothing of being a great man.”

The crowd knew every single word of every song, and it seemed like there was a constant competition to see who could crowd surf the highest and scream the loudest in frontman Ty Vaughn’s face. Their set was short and sweet, but everyone walked away pumped. Not bad for a Monday night.