The current iteration of the Vibrators came across the pond from merry old England to play Bowery Electric last weekend and I made it out. It was an uncharacteristically good weekend for punk rock in NYC this one particular weekend with Fear playing Gramercy Theatre the night before (Friday) and Leggs McNeil lecturing the following Sunday evening.
Alas, I missed both of those events and in retrospect, I must admit I kind of question my choice to see the Vibrators which was more a matter of convenience than anything I guess.
Friday night I had plans, Saturday night (when the Vibrators were to play) I happened to be free, and Sunday evening I was tired (from aforementioned Vibrators show), so Vibrators it was.
Just before the Vibrators was a kind of Misfits like band, the Undead who kicked into high gear with their first song and things went downhill thereafter with wailing and playing that I just didn’t dig.
Not that they are bad or untalented, I just wasn’t into their music or the whole comic book meets zombies meets psychobilly meets punk thing. With exception of a rare few bands, I’ve never been into that stuff.
It felt kind of incongruous and didn’t have the charisma of the Misfits or a Cramps show but again, this was Bowery Electric and tickets were $15 at the door so I guess I was expecting too much.
By the time the Vibrators hit the stage I was kind of soured on the whole evening but made my way up front in hopes that these blokes from across the pond could salvage the evening. I mean, the Vibrators are after all legends from punk’s early days and these guys were appropriately enough old(er). But I knew as well that there was only one original member (the drummer) and while the other two were old(er) and looked and sang the part (the vocals were split among all 3 bandmates) there was something… a punk edge… or something missing.
Maybe I was just in a foul mood or spoiled from a recent trip to Colombia where Punk Music is raw, energetic and chaotic and it still means something. Compared to Colombian punk, the Vibrators’ entire repertoire seemed poppish and kind of toothless with lyrics about girls and love and stuff. Did I misunderstand them? It didn’t seem very punk rock. Maybe I should have known that the Vibrators was more garage rock than punk rock.
The Vibrators were kind of big deal back in the day yes? I mean the name is cool, the logo is cool the old sound was cool and Stiff Little Fingers was inspired by them, right? Well, some of the songs were cool just not that hardcore GBH sound I’m used to or was expecting I suppose. They did, in a way, remind me of the SLF show just less umphh.
I don’t know, maybe I’m being unfair and surly and was just tired, having very recently been pretty sick. That infects more than the physical body, it infects the outlook and the whole week I was like “meh” for everything.
So don’t get me wrong, they had their moments but overall, I kind of wished I’d gone to see Fear the night before, but hey that’s just me being honest and expressing a personal music preference. Others in the crowd seemed to enjoy the evening and performance immensely, so who am I to judge?
Anyway, here are some pics and a video from the night. Enjoy?