Punk Rock Surprise

I went to a punk show at El Corazon with Rick and Jimmer tonight. I only knew the headline band, the show was on an off night, and the crowd was pretty thin, so I wasn’t expecting much. I’m totally glad I went though, because it turned out to be a great show from start to finish.

Here’s something I never thought I’d say: I saw a punk band from China tonight. Beijing to be precise. They were called Brain Failure and they smoked. Sharp musicianship, enormous energy, and a fierce desire to kick ass and take names on their first American tour won me over by the end of their first song. They mixed up punk, hardcore, and even a bit of ska. I guess you might call them China’s answer to Rancid. Good stuff.

The River City Rebels were up next. Originally from New England, they relocated to Tacoma six months ago so it seems like I’ll have more chances to see them. They were a total glam punk outfit, a modern distillation of New York City, circa 1974. Think New York Dolls and Johnny Thunders and the Heartbreakers. Hell, you could practically see the ghosts of Johnny Thunders and Jerry Nolan floating above the stage. There was also some glam hair in effect and hints of cross-dressing. They hit all the right notes stylistically. More importantly, they also rocked. Good trashy songs delivered with lots of attitude. They dragged out their last song a little too long, but otherwise it was a fun set.

The Street Dogs headlined. They are a fairly new band featuring Mike McColgan, the original singer of the Dropkick Murphys, and a couple of guys from the Mighty Mighty Bosstones. As their name indicates, they do straight up Clash-influenced street punk. No surprise then that they covered “Career Opportunities” in the middle of their set. I’ve heard both Street Dogs records and they are pretty decent, but the band is better live than in the studio. I haven’t seen McColgan perform since 1996 or so and he’s developed a commanding presence. Great voice too, with a lot more range than the Murphys’ current singer. The band was tight, the songs were catchy, and the crowd was into it. I would definitely go see them again.

Now I’m back home and I’m packing for GenCon SoCal. Nicole and I have to leave at 4 frickin’ am. Another grand adventure in air travel I’m sure. I counted up tonight and realized this is my 11th trip this year. Jesus H.

Before I go, I must share a few choice quotes from an article in the Stranger, one of Seattle’s free newspapers. The new issue came out today and it has a one-page story on Worldwide D&D; Game Day. It’s pretty funny, though I doubt this is the sort of PR WotC hoped would come out of the event.

Every once in awhile comes a rare press release hyping an event to which we wouldn’t send our worst enemy. Until now.

“This translates into vaginas healed over from disuse, penises ignored in favor of 20-sided dice, and just one…more…magic…missile!

“Can I crush my enemies and drink deep of their life force while laughing and toasting my allies?” I asked her.
“Sure!” she replied
“Can I live forever?”
“Of course! If you die, you can be resurrected!”
“Can I have sex?”
“Um…sure,” she said. “If it’s intrinsic to your character, or if you need to, I guess.”

As we left the Science Fiction Museum, Craig beautifully summed up our experience with the highest praise possibly paid to D&D;: “Had I discovered this game in adolescence,” he said, “it probably would have spared me from many a Saturday night spent masturbating alone in my parent’s basement.”

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