Two of my favorite music genres (Psychobilly and Punk) squaring off in head to head combat just a short train ride away in Brooklyn? I couldn’t miss it.
Rebel Angel Productions continued their busy summer of bringing psychobilly and punk acts to the great NYC area with the big psycho vs. punks show last night at Public Assembly in Brooklyn. Because of travel, I missed the big annual 3 day psychobilly luau bash which is Laura’s (from Rebel Angel) signature event, so I didn’t want to miss this one.
I got to Public Assembly in time to see the Midnight Saints, not to be confused with the psychobilly band of the same name from California. These Midnight Saints are a young punk band from Vermont with lots of energy and angst. They bemoaned the current state emo music encroaching on the punk music scene in Vermont, which is a shame because that area has a rich history for punk music. From the sound of things though these guys are doing a good job of holding down the scene as best they can. I really dug their cover of “Nervous Breakdown”, but all their tunes were high energy, straight ahead punk that started the evening off right for me.
Next up, repping the psychobilly side was the “Tex Ralier’s Doomtown” from Boston, Mass. Now I don’t really like Boston that much (or any place further north or east of NYC for that matter). Maybe because Harvard, Boston College and other schools of their ilk that have contributed so much to the trend of our country’s best and brightest heading to that wonderful field of “Wall Street Finance” so that the sons and daughters of millionaires can become billionaires while the rest of the world suffers as a result..or maybe because every incompetent clown I ever met in the media industry hailed from Yale or Harvard or maybe.. Oh wow sorry, off on a tangential rant here! whew..
Back to Tex Railer’s Doomtown. I don’t think these guys were Harvard grads but they weren’t talentless dummies either. The lead vocalist and guitarist reminded reminded me of the stylings of Nick 13 from Tiger Army and they did a good job of avoiding a confrontation with some dumb ass heckler (an obvious non psychobilly fan who must have stumbled in off the street) who drunkenly demanded a drum solo over and over and over (maybe he went snuck down from Harvard). Never could figure that one out.
Next up was the most non punk looking punk band I think I’ve ever seen, which just proves what I already knew, you can’t judge a punk book by it’s non punk cover. The guys from NYC’s own (Brooklyn?) “45 Adapters” may not have looked like the meanest punks you’ve ever seen (but the kind you’d love to have a beer with) but they played like it.
Most known for their hatred of the Yankees and support of the Mets, I wasn’t really expecting much (I hate baseball period). Though I had heard the guys were tight and they were.
They had the biggest fan base (also the only local band I saw this evening) of the evening and the lead singer was a witty character. I only wish the guitarist would have let the lead vocalists talk to the crowd without constantly tuning his guitar and stepping on the guy when he tried to speak.
But then again, the guitarist was completely off the hook, so when you’re that good, I guess you do whatever you want. I thoroughly enjoyed these guys’ set and will definitely put some video up so you can check out 45 Adapters yourself.
The highlight of the evening for me was hearing psychobilly band “The Henchmen” who hail from the U.S. hotbed of psychobilly culture, Los Angeles. A few years ago when producing American Latino & LatiNation TV I had set up an interview with these guys to be featured on the show (I think they are all Mexican American and I was trying to inject a little underground cultura into the shows at the time) as I had heard of them even as far back as 2006.
But alas, a freelance LA producer we had hired at the time to shoot the interview, dropped the ball somehow (F***ing freelancers!) and it never happened. Our loss.
Things got off to a shaky (and funny) start when the stand up bass player dropped his bass on the floor, almost hitting the lead singer / guitarist in the process. But the guys kept it professional and kept on playing and by the end of the set, the sparse crowd was chanting and demanding “one more” song.
If you like your psychobilly mashed up with classic rock sounds then The Henchmen are for you. Their songs are long and almost ballad like coursing off on long guitar solos and jams with some songs clocking in at 5 or 6 minutes long. And I thought I could hear some AC/DC and Black Sabbath riffs in some of their songs, but not being a big classic rock fan couldn’t be sure. Whatever it was about the Henchmen, it worked.
The highlight of the Henchmens’ set came when they did a kick ass version of “The Ace of Spades” and set off an energetic, if small, wrecking pit that had me running to the side to get a couple of frantic but low quality pics.
The guys are coming out with a CD soon and are on tour for the next few weeks so be sure and check them out if they roll through a town near you.
Pscyho vs. Punk? So who won? Not sure and I’m pretty sure that was not the point. I’m more punk and more punkabilly than psychobilly but I certainly appreciate a good psychobilly band and the night had plenty of that to go around. I’ll put up some of the punk video as well later so you can be the judge maybe, but in the meantime you can check a video of one of the Henchmen’s shorter songs of the evening (I know about your attention span!) and as always you can view all the pics at our FLIKR site.
And of course, the big GBH show is coming up on Friday, so stay tuned for that as well. Enjoy!