Punk Past and Present

I know Television was considered "punk," and it's probably likely that was because they hung around the punk clubs in NYC and had punk friends, and played those same punk clubs and shared the bill with other punk bands, but Television was always kind of an outlier: four guys who were actually masters of their instruments and craft. Still, after I went and saw the Richard Lloyd Group a couple of weeks ago, I could see why you might have called his own band punk: there was a ferociousness to the performance, the songs and the set that would fit on any good punk rock bill.

Of course the set was littered with Television favorites ("ya gotta play the hits") and the Shank Hall crowd voiced their appreciation once they kicked into Elevation, followed by a sweaty version of Marquee Moon that justified a punk label, but still retained the exacting but exciting precision that other guitar player in TV usually puts forth.

The night opened with a local quartet of shoe gazers called Sleepersound. They were a good pick: their songs rode a rollercoaster of melody and dynamics. They seemed to drift into their songs, and right when you'd be ready to think they were some kind of ambient combo, they'd subversively crescendoe into a blistering chorus or bridge. Here's a whole album of that night. 
The Roosevelt Dolls

So a couple weeks later, in fact, this past weekend, I bookended it with a visit to the annual Kenocore Punk Piknik. As usual, I'm good for about four bands at this wonderful community event. I applaud the local diehards who stay to the bitter end. The nice thing about my experiences is that I usually get to see at least three, sometimes four bands I had never seen before, and there's at least one or two that I make a note of to see again. This year was no exception. The first band I caught was the Roosevelt Dolls, a band I've been meaning to catch for some time since local legend (and MATA horror movie host) Dr Destruction is a key member. True to what I expected, they had a bit of horror movie to them, combined with a 70s glam songwriting style, tuned to downright rock and roll/punk. Very enjoyable, and I'm sorry I haven't seen them sooner. They had the guts to bring up a slower (I'd want to call it a ballad, but, well, in contrast to everything else that was playing, you might call it a ballad but ..... no) called "Dorian Gray" and capped off their set with a rocking tribute to the New York scene called, of course, "New York" which could have easily been done/written by the Dolls (the NY Dolls, that is) themselves.
Revel in Rot
Up next was Revel in Rot, who at first sounded like they were going to be a thrashy speed core band with Cookie Monster vocals -- which I'm good with in small doses. I'd heard this gig was their second show ever, but one song in and they won me over. They had everything you'd expect, dressed in all black, lead singer with long hair whipping around between verses, but with a level of charisma and stage presence I wouldn't have guessed for a relatively new band.  I'd even mentioned to The Size 5s Rob Mojica and Juan Avalos (whose set I shamefully missed) that this sort of band doesn't normally appeal to me, but Mojica nodded, "They have a groove going...." and I realized, yeah, and they understand about melody, too.
Full Shred Ahead
I'm trying to decide if the next band, Full Shred Ahead, purposely took forever to get on stage, knowing the torrential downpour of rain that would threaten to interrupt their set would instead show how badass they are: because two songs in, that's exactly what happened. True to their name, they didn't miss a beat and plowed on, as it goes, Full Shred Ahead, while other folks rushed to drape tarps over the PA speakers and other electronics. As it was a warm summer shower, there was plenty of moshing going on in the pouring rain, and if I didn't have a camera I was concerned about ruining, I would have been in on it. Good metal speed punk happening here. Well named band: from the moment they finally did start playing they did not let up until the rain did.
Army of Cretins
Army of Cretins wrapped up the day for me, at least. They've been around forEVER in the KenoCore scene, and they're one of those bands with a revolving door of personnel that have floated in and out of other KenoCore stalwarts like the Yates Kids and Phrenology. And like the Roosevelt Dolls, I can't believe this is the first time I've seen them. They delivered what I expected: tight, slamming and dependably hardcore punk that serenaded me to my car to drive through more storms headed north back to Milwaukee. The Punk Piknik always makes me happy: like I write every year, I'm so glad we have KenoCore to keep this scene going, whether its old or new. Here's an entire album of my time there: (I'm sorry I missed "Big Dick Danny and the Hemorrhoid Stitches" cos I love a good snotty joke name.) 



Popular Posts