Punk rock lives

The Zeros reunited.

The Zeros reunited: Hector Penalosa, Robert Lopez, Javier Escovedo and Baba Chenelle.

It was a perfect meeting of punk minds on Monday night at Maxwell’s in Hoboken when contemporary punk rockers The Choke opened a set for The Zeros, a band from the first wave of original LA punk that’s on a reunion tour.

Javier Escovedo onstage at Maxwell's.

Javier Escovedo onstage at Maxwell's.

Between the two bands, the packed room got two solid sets of high-energy punk, with the opening act paying homage to the headliners by playing their new take on totally old-school ideas.

It was hard to believe that The Zeros hit the scene more than 30 years ago. All four — Javier Escovedo, Hector Penalosa, Robert Lopez and Baba Chenelle — were high school students in Chula Vista, Calif., when they started in 1976. Although they’re often referred to as the Mexican Ramones, they didn’t know anything about those NYC punk rockers when they got their start.

Javier comes from a rock family, and played with his brother Alejandro Escovedo in The True Believers, while Robert has developed an international career as El Vez, The Mexican Elvis (an act that, as I learned at The Zeros set, is heavily influenced by Robert’s high school experience).

Robert Lopez, aka El Vez

Robert Lopez, aka El Vez

Click through to the jump for more photos from Maxwell’s and more on The Zeros.

For more on The Zeros, check out this interview with Javier, and this Los Angeles Times article.

Zeros bass player Hector Penalosa and drummer Baba Chenelle.

Zeros bass player Hector Penalosa and drummer Baba Chenelle.

The Choke’s lead singer, Cameron Eve, had it all, from the controlled-scream vocals to the complete uninhibited stage presence. I wasn’t familiar with this Brooklyn-based quartet, but am glad to have discovered them. They put on an amazing set that crammed at least a dozen pure punk originals into barely 30 minutes.

The Choke's singer Cameron Eve threatened to launch off the stage.

The Choke's singer Cameron Eve threatened to launch off the stage.

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