Arrived early. Ate at the HOB restaurant, decent food. Fell in love with Lara, the waitress. How was I to know she was with the Russians too?
First band: Five white guys in their twenties, dressed up like a hard rock band from 1974: full beards, shaggy hair, one jewfro, lots of denim. I thought I’d never utter the phrase “Grand Funk Railroad imitation”, but there you have it. The lead singer tried very, very, very, very, very, very, very hard to be wacky. He said they were from Venus. They are called Valient Thorr. THEY BLOW. Grade: D
Second band: Five white guys in their twenties, dressed up like white guys in their twenties who are in a roots music band. They played Americana Punk Rock. Basically it’s the Real MacKenzies/Flogging Molly formula applied to bluegrass and roots rock. Since the Real Flogging Molly Mackenzie crowd is an imitation of the Pogues, who are an imitation of the Mekons, oh forget it. Anyway they were pretty good but not at all innovative or interesting. Would see as an opening band again. They are called the Scotch Greens. Grade: B-
Third band: Five white guys in their twenties, dressed up like the Stooges. Big local following. Lead singer is rail thin, covered in tattoos, takes his shirt off during the third song. Unremarkable Stooges/Sex Pistols sound. Lots of yelling about sex. Girls from the audience pulled up to sing onstage, causing near wardrobe malfunction. Members of Valient Thorr come on stage and sing with them, do the I’m Not Worthy bow, play air guitar. Guitarist has gigantic expensive Gibson guitar. Lead singer removes pants during last song. Constantly ordering various people in the audience to perform sexual acts immediately. They are the 2005 tweaker version of Social Distortion, which was the 1985 surfer heroin burnout version of the Sex Pistols, who were the London prefab fraud impresario version of the Stooges. They BLOW. Grade: D They are called Throw Rag.
Gogol Bordello were great. Five white guys in their twenties, dressed up as Dude Ranch Gypsies. They’re from New York. The Flogging MacKenzies idea is used on Eastern European Roma music to great effect. Plus, they have washboard girls! Who also play big parade drums and shoot slingshots! And they have a mean accordion player. It’s a double pantload of fun. The lead singer is just annoying enough to be a good lead singer. Their schtick might well be very annoying to people actually from Molvania, or to gypsies. I don’t know. It’s like 3 Mustaphas 3 that way: ha, ha, Eastern Europe funny! Yeah, also blood-drenched. Anyway it’s got a great beat, you can dance to it. Grade: B+