Blow (on) me. It's too hot. Not because it's 95 degrees out, but because I've been playing Bantam's self-titled album ever since I got it. Bantam are singer/guitarist Gina (of Lunachicks fame), drummer Pete, and bassist Doug. They make punk rock 'n' roll that's nipple-deep in heavy-metal bass lines and wicked hooks. The disc has a Lita Ford-brand of passion that slugs you in the gut. Alternately sinister and sexy, the songs aren't rushed. The album is more murky than punky, but it packs enough energy to power all of downtown Manhattan.
Girls Against Boys at the Mercury Lounge, June 12, 2002
You know you're hot shit when Courtney Love checks out your show at the South By Southwest Festival. I must say, Girls Against Boys are my kind of boy-band a bunch of handsome, well-dressed gentlemen that sonically punish the psyche.
At the Mercury Lounge, June 12, I figured said gentlemen bassist/keyboardist Eli Janney, drummer Alexis Fleisig, singer/guitarist Scott McCloud, and bassist Johnny Temple would mostly play songs from their new CD You Can't Fight What You Can't See, but they opened with "Tucked-In" and "Cruise Your New Baby Fly Self" from 1995's Cruise Yourself. The explosion of thick bass lines and extravagant noise was enough to buckle an elephant's knees. McCloud's raspy, smoldering vocals ran like lava, and I pitied the fools who didn't bring earplugs. This band is hard and loud as ever. No garage rock gimmicks here. GVSB play heavy stuff, and I don't mean Slayer-heavy. This kind of weight lands its energy in your pelvis. Let's call it "loin rock." Ooh la la.
The mojo is probably to blame for the strange dance moves that were on display. The crowd went from bobbing their heads, to flinging their heads, to busting loose and bucking their bodies.
(Remind you of any other physical activity?) Janney helped instigate the party. The guy lunged across the stage and did his trademark weird mule-kick-type thing while pounding away on the keys. The band rocked through songs including "Basstation," "Click Click," "Let Me Come Back," "All the Rage," "Disco 666," and did an encore of "Kill the Sexplayer" and "The Kind of Music You Like."
The Makers and Bangs at the Bowery Ballroom, June 15, 2002
The Makers are the closest thing to the New York Dolls to come out of the latest '70s punk revival scene. But somehow, like the Dolls back then, the Makers haven't been included in the recent media brouhaha along with the Strokes et al. As I stood among a crowd of no more than 75 people in the Bowery Ballroom, I shook my head. Granted, I was here to see Bangs, but that doesn't mean I wasn't very happy to see the Makers on the mismatched bill.
The Makers' music is a mix of Rocky Horror theatrics and drag-queen histrionics. Their albums are so-called "conceptual recordings." There's a setting and a plot somewhere in them, but I never paid enough attention to follow it. The gaunt and glammy boys Donny Virgo (bass), Michael Machine (vocals), Jamie Jack Frost (guitar), Jay Amerika (drums), and Tim Maker (former guitarist who may or may not be back in the band, I have no idea) sported their best Bedford-scenester suits with lots of velour, denim, and polyester. The hair was sprayed up, the sunglasses were on, the pants were tight, and darling, their pretty faces were going straight to hell.
The Makers' latest album and tonight's set list, Strangest Parade, has quite a preoccupation with distress and dying. The foreboding mood of the songs was nonetheless lavishly executed, with big props going to Mr. Jamie Jack Frost for the guitar mastery. Michael Machine was simply fab at relaying the desperation to the audience. Holding a hand to his brow, he'd alternately cower and crouch into a little ball or he'd stretch his limbs and try to look larger than life. With chunky silver rings on his fingers, he'd hold the mic with his pinky extended and oh-so-carefully deliver the drama. The agonizing eroticism mimicked Prince, Jagger, and every queenie here to Hoboken.
Unfortunately, Strangest Parade doesn't have as much rock-n-roll bravado as their previous album Rock Star God, making this set kind of a downer. An entertaining downer, but a downer all the same. When the Makers exited the stage and the scattered folks were clapping for an encore, some guy yelled out "Play 'Sweet Child O Mine!' Haw haw haw!" Honestly, I don't know how I felt about that.
One thing I'm sure of more people showed up to see Olympia, Washington's Bangs. Led by singer/guitarist Sarah Utter and singer/bassist Maggie Vail, this five-year-old band recently recruited Peter David Connelly on drums making him drummer number four. The battery-charged punk gems got the crowd excited enough to actually move their bodies and sing along. Utter's upper lip would curl slightly a la Billy Idol as she sullenly shouted from a throat that sounded like it was lined with a few rusty razor blades. Vail's sweeter spurts bounced off the trio's wicked-sharp musicianship. Their set was pulled mostly from 2000's Sweet Revenge, and included "Fast Easy Love," "Train Wreck," and a cover of Cheap Trick's "Southern Girls."
Although the songs rocked, the band's chemistry was a bit strained, but you can blame that on all the driving they've been doing.
Before Vail could finish telling the crowd about their upcoming EP Call + Response, Utter and Connelly launched into a song. Then, on the next number, the band stopped five seconds into it because Utter was in the wrong key. By the time their too-short set was over, Utter looked pissed and Vail looked bummed. Don't take it so hard, guys, hey, it's only rock 'n' roll and we liked it.
Send This Page to a Friend Join Our Mailing List Current Stories
Classified Ads Music News NYC Gig Listings
More NY Rock Confidential Installments:
by Jeanne Fury:
Jun. '02: Slut Em Go, Darediablo, the Liars, the Chromatics, Lovelife
May '02: Hellacopters, Gaza Strippers, Lunachicks
Apr. '02: Distillers, Nekromantix
Feb. '02: Metropolis Fest, Bianca Butthole Benefit, Le Tigre
Jan. '02: Sam Bisbee
Dec. '01: El Vez and Tammy Faye Starlite
Nov. '01: Tracy and the Plastics, Crowns on 45
Oct. '01: Reid Paley
Sept. '01: Ladyfest East
Aug. '01: Betty Blowtorch and Candy Ass
Jul. '01: Porcupine Tree
May '01: Ladyfest East Benefit, the Bellrays and the Greenhornes
Apr. '01: She-Rock-O-Rama, Blast Furnace
Mar. '01: Babe the Blue Ox, the Gossip, Knoxville Girls, White Stripes
Feb. '01: Sarah Dougher, Glen Phillips and John Mayer
Jan. '01: Melissa Ferrick
Dec. '00: Joy Askew
Nov. '00: Natasha and the MGB
Oct. '00: Heather Eatman
Aug. '00: Miracle of '86, Ultimate Fakebook, Sit n' Spin
July '00: Chickfest 2000
by Mistress Persephone:
Apr '00: Joan Jett and Reverend Horton Heat
Feb '00: Elvis tribute at the Continental featuring Mr. Monster, Needlehead, X-Possibles
Dec '99: The Serpenteens
Oct '99: Misfits
by Miss Adena:
Aug '99: Cabaret
July '99: Ancel and the Electric Church
June '99: Tuuli from Toronto rocks CBGB
May '99: The Rise and Fall of Bikini Contest
by Didi Delicious:
01/11/99: the Velvet Mafia
12/04/98: the Misfits
10/19/98: Didi interviews DJ Chumley and DJ Quick
09/01/98: Hellfire '98 (benefit for NY Underground Film Festival) featuring Double Dong and Go-Go Pup
07/28/98: Mad Daddys, Nina Hagen, Blondie
06/04/98: the first annual New York City Tattoo Convention
05/02/98: Didi's S&M Special with Flesh Fetish
03/28/98: No More Tears and Soft Parade
02/27/98: Ace Frehley, Sebastian Bach, Mick Rock, Lenny Kaye, ex-Foreigner Mick Jones, ex-Hanoi Rocks Michael Monroe, the new Max's Kansas City, Joy Ryder, Misstress Formika
01/30/98: King Norris, Karen Black, more
12/26/97: Ramones, The Dictators, The Undead, more
11/29/97-12/11/97: Sexus, Princess Superstar, more
09/19/97-10/26/97: Blowtop, Crazy Raymond & the Watchdogs, more
05/21/97-08/17/97: Toilet Boys, Nashville Pussy, Turbo A.C.s, Waldos, Sisters Grimm, The Independents, more
01/18/97-03/30/97: Sea Monster, Speed McQueen, Bombshell, Dee Dee Ramone, Jayne County, more
09/19/96-12/19/96: Coyote Shivers, The Living Daylights, more
07/23/96-09/09/96: Electric Frankenstein, The Wild Bunch, more
Visit our friends at NY Waste!