Punks Vs. Psychos

Meetings last week went very well. I believe they’ll be bearing fruit soon.

By Friday I was definitely ready for some R&R.; This was provided, handily enough, in the form of a punk rock show, the “Punks vs. Psychos” tour at the Graceland. I was going primarily to see the Business, a classic British Oi band that has been around forever (well, since the early 80s anyway). I took the bus into town and met Rick at the show. Got there in time to catch the last four songs of the first band, the U.S. Roughnecks. From the singers skinhead and Sham 69 t-shirt, and the trademark call and response choruses, it was pretty clear that these guys were all about the Oi. They seemed competent enough, though certainly nothing new under the sun.

Next up was F-Minus. They were more of a hardcore outfit, with a male and female singers trading off. Apparently, their drummer did time in both Conflict and Chaos U.K., though neither of those bands was much of an influence on F-Minus. Both singers played guitar and they flanked the stage, leaving center stage open for the bass player. He took full advantage, flailing all over the place. In fact, from his theatrics, I thought he was the guitarist at first; only later did I realize that was a bass he was slinging about. Ultimately, I didn’t care for F-Minus too much, though they did one slow song with hugely distorted bass line that I did quite like. Most of it was too tuneless for my taste though.

After a short trip to the bar, Rick and I returned for the Disasters, a NY-based band fronted by ex-Agnostic Front singer Roger Miret. With that pedigree, I expected some kind of NY hardcore, chugga-chugga-breakdown crap, but I was surprised that they actually affected an older, more Clash-influenced sound. Roger is still not exactly my favorite guy, as he was behind an incident involving a volunteer run record store, a skinhead with a gun, and me, but I had to admit they were pretty decent. I will relate a further anecdote about their performance and an ex-WotC employee tomorrow.

By this point we had found out that the Business was not, in fact, headlining. I thought that strange, as they certainly have the name for it. They came out, played for 30-35 minutes, closed with Harry May, and then left the stage and did no encores. There was something off about the whole performance. Maybe singer Mickey Fitz is just an old geezer now. He did seem like he rolled on stage directly from a pub stool. Nik and I had seen the Business about five years ago and they were much better at that show. This time the band was a bit ragged, and they didn’t play songs like Loud, Proud, and Punk and Drinking and Driving. Some energy was at least mustered for renditions of the Real Enemy, Smash the Discos, and Suburban Rebels. Considering this was the band I came to see, I was somewhat disappointed.

All, however, was not lost. The headliner was Tiger Army. I had considered leaving after the Business but I stayed and I am glad I did. Tiger Army, it turns out, is a totally kick ass psychobilly band and they ripped the place up. Until they hit the stage, I hadn’t thought twice about the “Punks vs. Psychos” moniker, but once I saw the stand up bass being wheeled out, it suddenly made sense. Tiger Army is a tight three piece that takes rockabilly and punk and smashes them together into a delightful aural onslaught. The crowd went berserk and the dancing was more furious than during the Business’ set. I was surprised and impressed. I didn’t have enough cash on hand to pick up one of their records, but I’ll be rectifying that soon.

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