Perhaps summer isn’t the best time for live shows in San Luis Obispo, as flocks of Cal Poly students head home and vacationers spend their time at the beach. But luckily, there’s always the remaining crowd of older students and locals that gives life to the deserted college town. While the Fremont Theater was notably less than sold out for Enjoy’s stop in San Luis Obispo on their West Coast tour, the crowd was always moving for an evening of punk music on August 18.
Since the early 2010s, Wyatt Shears has gained a cult following for his work and consistent releases under his solo project Enjoy, and also as one half of the experimental punk duo The Garden. The smaller but excited crowd at the Fremont was a representation of this loyal following the musician has garnered.
The two openers put on performances of raw punk reminiscent of a DIY show in an alleyway or garage, a sound and energy not necessarily found in a theater setting.
Bad Vacation was first to take the stage shortly after the doors opened. Looking around, the general admission standing area was hardly filled, let alone the rows of seats in the back. Still, the band brought a high-energy set of fast, heavy punk that showed influence from The Ramones, Bad Brains and glam metal.
Dumb Fucks was another heavily punk performance. Like Bad Vacation, Dumb Fucks is hardcore punk in their music, demeanor and lyrics. Walking on stage, the band’s vocalist Dutch Faro held two modelos and a red solo cup and continued cradling them in one arm with the microphone in his other hand.
Years after forming the band as a group of friends in high school and releasing their self-titled album, Dumb Fucks showed that they still carry the same attitude that’s long-defined their essence. They played previously released songs such as “Scumwall,” “Dumb Fucks” and “a.c.a.b.,” as well as some new unreleased tracks.
As the stage lights turned off, Enjoy came out to the excitement of an energized crowd. While being the solo project of Wyatt Shears, Enjoy performed as a full band, with Shears on bass and vocals, as he does with The Garden. The band encompassed a unique lineup of instruments featuring drums, an acoustic guitar and two basses — which explained their merch that read “BASS, BASS & MORE BASS.”
Preceded by two traditionally punk acts, Enjoy was punk in its own way. The music deviated from the constant fast-paced distorted sound and appreciated softer moments of acoustic guitar and sung vocals. There were still plenty of mosh-worthy riffs with the heaviness of two bass guitars, as fans can expect from a Shears project.
As the band played through their 17-song setlist, the entire crowd seemed to become one big moshpit. People crowd-surfed, and Shears tossed his microphone back and forth with the audience. The group played a mix of older crowd-favorite songs and newer ones from Enjoy’s latest album, “Exploitation.”
At the end of their set, Enjoy returned for a quick encore.
“We only got one for you ’cause that’s all we know,” Shears told the crowd. They saved their most popular song, “I’ve Wasted So Much Time,” for last.
At first look, the night may have only appeared like a lightly sold show, but it evolved into a special intimate event, well-appreciated by a crowd that stuck around SLO for the summer.