Trash Fest: Well you can't accuse us of not being diverse!

Nervous Virgins
Originally uploaded by V'ron

Not only does crap come in many flavors, no flavour is exempt from crap, and this year's Trash Fest proved that all too well. The Rundown:

It was the largest lineup I'd seen in a while, and it needed to start at 7:30, 8ish to get everybody in. That means the hipper than thous didn't show up until some five bands had already played, which meant too many people missed an even better-than-usual Nervous Virgins set, led as always by Eric Griswold, fresh from his Burning Man decompression, with their really biting songs and the annual singing of their cynical re-work of Hark the Herald Angels Sing. This year, I could actually recognize the whole band: dressed like they really didn't give a crap, although they played like they sort of gave a crap.

Originally uploaded by V'ron.
The Fugs were one band you could do their songs straight up and still have it come off trashy. Of course, the Chow boys took a step further by evoking George Clinton and funkadelic, but this was strickly east village folky trash. Frank Chandek pretty much looked like a white George Clinton, and he played like it, too. Frank Zappa (who the Fugs would historically jam with, and who the Chow band worships) would have been proud. That guy I'm married to actually looked a bit like Ed Sanders, but didn't sound like him.

Cry, cry Coyote
Originally uploaded by V'ron.
Up next, a bunch of Riverwest cowpunks calling themselves Cry Coyote, who delivered on some snotty inbred punk. Plenty of stage diving from the friendly crowd, who in a somewhat friendly way, proceeded to pelt them with all the crap scattered about the theater. Clearly they knew that at Trash Fest, this is considered a compliment. Problem was, some of the kids crossed the line when they were throwing some of the harder stuff. "Yeah, but these are our friends," one told me when I asked him to kind of lay it off. "Yeah," I replied, "You may not care if your friends get hurt, but that's my friends' gear up there and I don't want it ruined. Said kid laughed with me, and knocked it off. The band turned out to be friends of Dr Chow's Frank Chandek's daughter, and I'm not saying this because she babysits my kids; this band kicks ass. As I told them that night, not only would I like to see them at a regular gig, I might even pay cover to do so.

Vanilla Ice Cream -- Yum.
Originally uploaded by V'ron.

Sixthstation favorites Floor Model tore apart horrid lame ass rap with an incarnation of Vanilla Ice, adding some cream. And the cream was curdled -- Andy struts out and revs up the crowd oldschool, dressed in an ice cream man's getup. Another guest literally scratched some vinyl by letting his damn medallion lean on the turntable. It was very, very bad, and thus drew cheers from the crowd, swimming in a sea of trash by the time their actual music instruments went out of tune.

As somebody who's covered Stunning and Glare myself, I was looking forward to the Louie and Cher show and they did not disappoint. Brother Louie's Louie played foil to Roni Allwaise's Cher, and they nailed the constant berating of each other from the old series. Too bad I was too close to the stage to get a good fix on the sent-up lyrics that Roni clearly took some care to warp, but she had the voice, the mannerisms down -- all the way down to the constant brushing the bangs out of her face that drove me nuts on the real Cher when I was a kid. The costumes were spot on. Oh, and a top trash fest compliment -- did I mention they sucked?

Originally uploaded by V'ron.
A taste of Kenocore was up next -- I've already mentioned in this blog that I'm a fan of Pistofficer, and their performance -- in lieu of the dearly departed Beautiful Bert -- assured me that the future of Kenocore is in good hands. They pounded out four tight, anthemic hardcore hits, and clearly used every scrap of trash as props, as stage cushion, and ran with it. They got it.Trash Fest is half parody, half just trashy good time and they were the latter, and afterward they took it all in, clearly enjoying themselves and getting into the spirit of the festivities. They hit the stage with "Whaaaaatttt the fuuuuuuuuuuuuuukkkkkkkkk...." and left the stage decrying "The End of Our Rights" and I'm sure gained a few more fans in the process.

nursery crime
Originally uploaded by V'ron.
Did I mention that I -- along with a rotating staff of judges that included Whispering Jeff, Bob Jorin and Lars Kvam -- spent the evening sitting in judgment of "America's Next to Worst Band"? I think we all agree that Nursery Crime (Eat the Mystery, making the "poor stage" look like it was set in one of JohnCindy McCain's mansions by comparison) couldn't possibly win the competition because they weren't the Next to Worst Band. They were flat out theworst. The schtick was criminally horrid takes on children's songs and tales, and all I could hear in my head was Leonard Pinth-Garnell shaking his head, saying, "That wasn't so good, now, was it?"
Ekko Galaxie and the Rings of Saturn. Wow. Where did The Fly find these guys? (He said later he ran across them at a Brew City Bruisers event.) Anyway, these glamour pusses hit the state, blew us all away with a Ballroom Blitz and didn't let up as they pounded through T Rex and other British glam greats, saving the king of them all, the thin white one himself, for last. As i mentioned that night, whoda thunk that the band that would get everybody on the dance floor, old school moshing and slam dancing like it was a Black Flag show circa 1982, would be a bunch of 70s style made up glam boys. They were almost too good for Trash Fest, saving them was the fact that they were working an inherently trashy (hollywood trashy, nonetheless trashy) androgynous genre. I need to find out their real name and keep a lookout for them. Binky Tunny and Miramar Proprietor Bill Stace filled some time with some great, trashy Ramones hits, and Bill's presence behind the drums reminded us all that we wished he'd get back there more often, and his sound men that the havoc that was being wreaked didn't faze the owner one bit, so why should it faze them?

Tradition kicked it, in the form of a dependably performance from Mark Shurilla and the Electric Assholes, complete with Mr Shiny Pants on guitar (he's really good -- Mark needs to pull him out more). The Kenocore kids especially appreciated the annual polkaing to "Blitzkrieg Over Kenosha." I have to yell at Miles on bass though. (You may think I'm being hard on him, but he's normally Mr I Never Get A Chord Wrong that I will seize any opportunity to give him a hard time on those rare occassions when he actually does blow it.) And blew it he did -- Shurilla was going off on one of his improvised current events commentaries, set to the tune of Country Joe and the Fish's "Fixin to Die Rag" OK, I'll give you this, the bridge and the chorus have a bit of a tricky little progression there, but nothing a quick google search for "Country Joe MacDonald Bass Tab" wouldn't have solved, lending more biting humor to Shurilla's necessary update to the antiwar classic. On the other hand, this was trash fest, and up until that point, they weren't sucking one single bit.

Dave loves the dead
Originally uploaded by V'ron.
I gotta say, though, usually you can count on Shurilla to be the most tasteless jokester of the night, but that honor really had to go to Dave Alswager's Bad Alice. From a pathetic "Only Women Bleed" to a Binky-as-Sexual-Zombie take on "I Love The Dead", Alswager had the Coop's voice down, with almost as many stage props and antics as ol Vince himself. Simulating a one-man bukkakke, a brain eating adventure, and (at least he wasn't beheading chickens) it closed one of the more varied (from punk to cowpunk to glam to cabaret to everything) I'd been at. Don't tell me Milwaukee isn't a diverse town.


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