Thank the gods we had a flowchart to tell us where to get our kicks for New Year's Eve, and if you answered all the questions correctly, you ended up at The End. Or more accurately, the end of 2010. Whichever the case, the dive-y venue was full of booze-consuming machines and a handful of inexplicably sober punks Friday night trying (futilely) to look attractive despite thunderstorms and getting shoved around like cattle ready for slaughter. And slaughtered they were — by rock 'n' roll.
Voyager, on tour from Minneapolis, warmed up the soggy audience with their invigorated brew of psychedelic synth-heavy instrumentals. Those in attendance the previous New Year's may recall several of the members from the jazzed-out outfit Moonstone. (Yes, that was the band with the guy reading from/dry-grinding on a hardback book.) At any rate, Voyager's triple synthesizers sent rays of sexcellence directly into even the most hardened hearts of the congregation, and soon everyone was in the mood.
Next, Cy took the stage and ripped through their set like champions. Immediately following, Natural Child did their thing before interrupting the end of their next-to-last song for the countdown to 2011. Everyone hugged and kissed as the Natural Children redeemed their otherwise sub-par set with a sloppy but holy rendition of "Baba O'Riley," sending the people into a fit of headbanging and graceless dancing.
PUJOL and Turbo Fruits then battled for our affections, firing three-song sets at each other while the crowd freaked out. Hysterical fans stage-dived, shoved and screamed until their manic faces were purple. We're sure most of them woke up with bruises to complement their hangovers, as we did. What a way to ring in 2011.
We've only got one more year before the Mayans descend from the heavens and blow up the White House or whatever, so we'd better make it count.
When we arrived at Glenn Danzig's House on Monday night, Slammers were already well into a hardcore set time-displaced from 1983. Backed by Mimi from Heavy Cream on bass, Cy Barkley threw the usual Misfitsian playbook aside to tear through a handful of over-in-seconds sloppy hardcore songs. It may have been their first show ever, and it may have been over before we knew what was going on, but they set the bar in the rafters. We just hope that Slammers isn't a one-off thing so we might see them terrorize more basements in the coming months.
Brooklyn's Natural Law followed up with a modern set of spazzcore, which sounded and looked a lot more like the overly technical hardcore we used to find ourselves watching at Rocketown. Both they and fellow out-of-towners Wiccans, whom we overheard likened to both "Black Flag and Black Sabbath" and a "low-rent Fucked Up," were fast and aggro, and got the job done, but didn't leave much more of an impression than that.
Cannomen, however, continue to wreck our world. Last year's "Black Holes" 7-inch was one of our favorite local punk releases with its Cramps-y surf-punk guitar progressions and yelping hardcore vocals. Their new jam, "Sex on the Bleach," sounds more or less like what we expect from Cannomen, except maybe faster. We're not sure. That's the thing with these bands, none of them played for longer than 15 or 20 minutes, and it wasn't easy to get a grasp on them beyond "this sounds pretty all right" before it was over.
Heavy Cream took the stage around 10:30 with a heavily modified lineup. Tiffany Minton has been behind the drums since December, and it looks like she might be staying for a while. Which is fine by us — they've never sounded more together. Well, almost. Bassist and token dude Daniel wasn't around, so the girls recruited Jake Orrall to take his spot. To his credit, he rolled with it pretty well, even if he hadn't played some of their songs before. Yeah, there were hiccups, but they sounded righteous and that's what really matters.
Heavy Cream play to their strengths by banging out bratty fist-pumping Ramones tunes and making it look effortless. Last year was big for team Cream but we've got a good feeling about what's next for the band. The clock hadn't even struck 11 by the time they were done, and Ben Todd was telling us all to go play free ping-pong at Melrose before the neighbors got sick of all the scummy punk kids congesting the roads. Hard to argue with that suggestion.
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