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The Continental Room, located in downtown Fullerton, has become a quintessential location in Orange County’s music scene. Established in 1925, it’s one of Fullerton’s oldest buildings and hosts some of the best local punk and garage bands that Orange County has to offer. It’s a place I love going to quite frequently and has quickly become one of my favorite venues down here in Southern California (the fact that every show is free sort of helps). On this particular night the lineup included Fullerton locals Leisure World, Audacity and from San Pedro, Toys That Kill.
While looking over the lineup for the night and debating if I wanted to go out to see Audacity again (it was a Monday night so naturally I was more inclined to stay home) I knew Toys That Kill rang a bell but I had never actually seen them or even heard their music before. Now, one can’t discuss Toys That Kill without first mentioning F.Y.P. (Five Year Plan). Todd Congellier started F.Y.P. in 1989 in Torrance, California using nothing but his guitar and a dumpy little drum machine. He began by selling 4 track demos of himself on cassette but eventually went on to release the 7 inch record Extra Credit on his self-made record label, Recess Records. In the decade that followed, F.Y.P. got a larger line up, released over a dozen records, toured the world (Europe and the U.S. several times and Japan) and became a staple in the DIY scene in Southern California. It wasn’t until the summer of 2000 that Todd ended F.Y.P. and, along with longtime band mate Sean Cole, formed Toys That Kill.
After an opening set from Leisure World, the small red venue began to fill up in anticipation of the Toys That Kill set. Throughout the years of attending shows I’ve sort developed a sense of knowing precisely when to arrive at a venue in order catch the band I really want to see and it was easy to tell that most of the audience had it too as the amount of people inside this small room easily doubled right before the band graced the stage. I only had a rough idea on what to expect from their set but can easily say that coming out to a show on that Monday night was the best idea I had in awhile. It’s fairly rare that I watch a band I’m unfamiliar with and walk away with a new obsession. They ripped away at their set with catchy riffs, massive hooks and an energy that had me smiling the entire time. They list Descendants as one of their biggest influences and you can easily hear it in their music. It has a sense of nostalgia to it that I just never feel at punk shows anymore. It brought about such a happy atmosphere and there was just so much joy in this tiny venue even though I was struggling to hold my ground while the pit behind me was going at it. Despite the fact that it was a Monday night and that the band has been going at it for over 15 years, Toys That Kill gave us such an amazing set that left me wanting more and I seriously can’t wait to see them again. I just wish I got around to listening to them sooner.