Live Reviews

CRIME / SALEM LIGHTS / KILLER’S KISS, 10-1-04

 

I went to a reunion of “San Francisco’s first and only rock and roll band”, CRIME, over 12 years ago. This review, from my old Agony Shorthand blog, is the story of that night.

CRIME / SALEM LIGHTS / KILLER’S KISS, 10-1-04, Thee Parkside, San Francisco…..

My evening started at a high-society benefit/Q&A with “Curb Your Enthusiasm”’s LARRY DAVID, which I had to high-tail it from in order to find a way to crash the massive, big deal, ultra-secret-but-everyone’s-talking-about-it CRIME reunion show.

The Larry David thing was packed with black-clad matrons in pashmina wrap-arounds & 5-inch heels, former mayors, back-slapping titans of industry, and glistening glitterati as far as the eye could see. Obviously I was a tight fit with that crowd, my people. Storming the Crime thing right afterward, I found a great American (CO) had thankfully secured me a rare ticket, and that there were plenty to be had regardless.

Apparently they kept the reunion of San Francisco’s first and only rock and roll band a little too secret, but by the time the band got on there were a bunch of hooters & hollerers amped and ready for ‘77-style action. There was even a posse of awesome leather-clad, mirror-shaded Japanese hipsters right out of the Shinjuku underground & straight off the JAL flight from Tokyo, as there always seems to be whenever there’s a big “garage rock” festival in San Francisco. This was the kick-off night of a 3-day “Budget Rock” fiesta, so let’s quit the gawking and start talking about the rocking.

It was great to see KILLER’S KISS back up this year’s loud-ass 45 with an equally tough set. They’re probably the closest thing this coast has in spirit and approach to the REIGNING SOUND, but with a little more in the way of 60s-style growling & pummeling. One guitarist is all about propelling the song forward, the other about jarring feedback and screech, and there’s a anarchronistic female keyboardist pounding away to make herself heard above the racket. A fine way to get the eardrums in shape and my game face on.

I was really surprised by the SALEM LIGHTS, not simply because that was my Mom’s 1970s brand of choice. These guys reminded me of nothing so much as one of my drunk-era early 90s faves, THE HUMPERS, with a glammy Small Faces/Mott The Hoople overlay to big, bombastic, meaty hooks. Another blow-the-sockets rock band, one with one killer crunching song often another. I thoroughly enjoyed them with only a mere sheet to the wind, and in response to the inevitable question – were they simply a “middle band”? I say no way! I’m calling in my pint orders ahead of time next time these guys hit a local stage.

I’ve vacillated on my I-don’t-do-reunion-shows stance after seeing Mission of Burma a couple times, but after CRIME’s flat, lackluster set I’m thinking of clamping the lid back on. I figure these guys – these Crime guys – really don’t deserve a ritual flogging; I mean it was 2/4th of the godlike legends CRIME, right, and you have to throw out some big props just for trying to give it another go. But perhaps it never really dawned on me just what an outstanding guitar player the deceased-since-1996 FRANKIE FIX was, and how that patented ungodly wailing guitar sound was his & his alone. JOHNNY STRIKE, bless him, was and remains a competant rhythm guitarist, but you lose Fix’s incredible 3-second leads (leads that make tracks like, oh, say “Hot Wire My Heart”, unlike any punk or rock & roll band ever) and you lose a LOT.

Pat Ryan from the NUNS stood in tonight but it just wasn’t there. Was there really ever anything more to the Nuns than a beautiful girl, “Decadent Jew”, and friends in the right places? Maybe. I’m feeling generous. But when they tried to play “Hot Wire My Heart”, it was almost unrecognizable without that squealing guitar squirting out like molten toothpaste after every lyric.

They also did “Murder By Guitar” and “Piss On Your Dog”, and maybe another one from the olde days, but it appears this new Crime are going to give the reunion thing a real college try, and that this was the first of several shows to come. Thus, they’ve written a whole suite of new songs, none of which stuck out as particularly memorable nor annoying – songs that just sort of flopped around on the floor begging for attention.

And despite being lucky enough to share a stage with Johnny Strike and Hank Rank, whose hour this really should have been, the garrulous bass player kept bleating about We’re gonna” this and We are Crime” that. Dude. A little respect! I too once dreamt I’d be standing up on stage as Ron The Ripper, but in my sweat-bathed dream, I kept as quiet as a churchmouse and let the real warhorses bask in the glory they’d earned. So hey, call it first-night jitters or maybe the soft bigotry of high expectations. I truly applaud Johnny & Hank for getting out there on the rock campaign trail again, but I think I’ve seen what I needed to see of the 21st Century CRIME.

fanzine

Dynamite Hemorrhage Fanzine

Dynamite Hemorrhage #3 is an 84-page music fanzine devoted to sub-underground music from the last five decades. Like the previous ones, this is an 8.5″x11″ MAGAZINE with a color cover and B&W insides. I put it out in May 2016, and I’ve still got copies for sale now for $5.99/each.

Order Dynamite Hemorrhage #3 fanzine here.

It features:

– The definitive story of THE VELVET UNDERGROUND APPRECIATION
SOCIETY
, as told through an interview with VUAS founder Phil Milstein.
Find out what it was like to lead the secret society of Velvets fiends
in the 1970s and how Milstein managed VUAS with the fans and with the
Velvet Underground members themselves.

– An epic, Homeric oral history of wiry & jagged 1980s San Francisco pop band WORLD OF POOH, as told by band members Barbara Manning, Brandan Kearney and Jay Paget themselves, as well as choice anecdotes from those who witnessed their rise, reign and collapse

– In-depth interviews with four of the finest acts making rock and
roll music in the year 2016: WHITE FENCE (Tim Presley); Portland, OR’s
LITHICS
; Oakland’s RAYS and Auckland’s THE COOLIES

– An interview with phenomenal lost folk singer SIBYLLE BAIER, whose
early 1970s recordings from Germany appeared a decade ago and stunned
the world. We found her & gave her the Dynamite Hemorrhage
once-over, and then went and interviewed & celebrated five of her
ghostly folk “heirs” (MAXINE FUNKE, JULIE BYRNE, ALLYSEN CALLERY, JOANNE
ROBERTSON
and MYRIAM GENDRON) as well as part of the piece

“BELOW THE FLYING NUN”, Gregor Kessler’s piece on some of the wildest and most obscure New Zealand 45s of the 1980s

– An interview with SARA FANCY, aka “Sara” from early 80s UK DIY acts
Sara Goes Pop and Amos & Sara. You’ll learn about her journey from
the squats of Europe to the bodybuilding competitions of the 90s to the
tranquil equine therapy practice she leads today. A fascinating glimpse
and first look back she’s given on her time spent making music with Jim
Welton (aka L Voag, Amos etc.)

– The first-ever posthumous interview with early 80s all-female
Belgian punk band UNIT 4, who surfaced on the “FM-BX Society Tape” in
1981 with four amazing songs of shimmering Kleenex/Delta 5/Au Pairs-ish
brilliance.

– David Perron’s “FREE FORM FREAKOUT” column of outside and experimental tape & LP releases from the last year

– Jay Hinman and Erika Elizabeth also wrote 82 record reviews devoted
to the nether regions of sub-underground rocknroll and elsewhere

ORDER DYNAMITE HEMORRHAGE #3 here.

fanzine

Levande Begravd fanzine

LEVANDE BEGRAVD fanzine is a new one to me that I was fortunate enough to get a copy of recently, courtesy of one Marko Gillingsmark (the fella who puts it out).

Mr. Gillingsmark’s a Swede from Gothenburg, and it looks like this is the first one he’s attempted in English. Exceptionally well-done small-format mag that’s laser-targeted to those of us who prefer slopped-up, sub-underground DIY punk in many flavors – the stranger and more off-centered, the better. You can learn more about it and perhaps order up a copy yourself at their Facebook page.