The Damned’s Paul Gray rejoins the band in time to record their new album.

BRITISH PUNK ROYALTY THE DAMNED REVEAL
UPCOMING ALBUM DETAILS AND MORE
TONY VISCONTI SET TO PRODUCE NEW DAMNED ALBUM SET FOR RELEASE 2018 
FORMER BASSIST PAUL GRAY REJOINS BAND 
 
Photos: Dod Morrison
As reported in early spring, legendary punk band The Damned signed a new label deal with Search & Destroy and announced plans for their 11th studio album. Now the band is pleased to announce that preparations are underway.
The band’s raw, primal and macabre energy will see its match in the studio this October in Brooklyn, NY with famed Producer Tony Visconti who for over five decades has produced some of the world’s most influential artists and their greatest albums (David Bowie, T.Rex, Morrisey, U2, The Stranglers, Iggy Pop and Thin Lizzy). On Engineer duties is four time Grammy-winning Producer /Engineer/Mixer Kevin Kline, who has also worked with Bowie and has spent the last several decades compiling an impressive list of credentials featuring premiere pop artists Peter Gabriel, Elvis
Costello, Burt Bacharach, Bryan Ferry and Brandon Flowers.
The New York Observer proclaimed, “The Damned are a band of infinite depth and a wide variety of pleasures… high-quality blurs of melodic punk, Beach Boys-ish flowery psych-pop, chiming, bittersweet post-punk, Moody Blues-ish bombastmopherics, spiraling goth and soaring faux soul, all brilliantly executed…”
It’s rather fitting that the band who in 1976 launched an alchemic, heady new British rock sound collaborates with one of the most important and influential producers in the history of rock.  “We want to do the unexpected,” noting that the new album will offer some of the old and a lot of the new. “We’ve never been predictable and well, neither has Tony. There will be a measure of experimentation and we know he’ll do his best to artistically challenge us. He’s been at the top of our producer list since we first started thinking about recording the album, dream come true he’s on board!” The as-yet-unnamed new album will be their first new album for nearly ten years and is the follow up to, ‘So, Who’s Paranoid?’ which came out in 2008.
This news also comes with a change in The Damned’s line up. The Damned  announce the bitter sweet news of the departure of bassist Stu West. “We had a great time with Stu on this long journey. We have infinite respect for him and are forever grateful for his contributions to The Damned. As a result of this mutual understanding, we respect his decision, support him wholeheartedly and wish him the best of luck and success.”
Furthermore, The Damned reveal that once again they will reunite with their former bass player Paul Gray (Eddie and the Hot Rods/Johnny Thunders (New York Dolls, Rob Tyner (MC5)/UFO), who was an essential part of the Damned during the 80s and who played bass on previous Damned albums “The Black Album” and “Strawberries”. Gray will be joining the Damned in the studio this fall.
A dizzying mix of dedication, creativity and stubborn will continues to fuel Dave Vanian, Captain Sensible, Monty Oxymoron, and Pinch.  While The Damned’s 40 year journey has been challenging, rewarding and shocking at best, they continue to reign as Punk’s original connoisseurs and feel very positive about what lies ahead in the future.  That evidence will be heard on their new album and in venues worldwide as the blitz continues on their Evil Spirits Tour set to rock intimate venues through out the UK this January.
The Damned ‘Evil Spirits’ 2018 UK Tour Dates:
26 January Newcastle O2 Academy
27 January Dundee Caird Hall
28 January Glasgow O2 Academy
30 January Leeds O2 Academy Leeds
31 January Manchester Academy 1
1 February Birmingham O2 Academy
3 February Leicester O2 Academy
4 February Nottingham Rock City
6 February Folkestone Leas Cliff Hall
7 February Southend Cliffs Pavilion
9 February Cardiff Great Hall
10 February Bristol O2 Academy Bristol
11 February Bournemouth O2 Academy
13 February Southampton O2 Guildhall
14 February Bexhill De La Warr Pavilion
17 February London O2 Forum
About The Damned:
Formed in 1976, The Damned really need no introduction…  As well as releasing the first ever British punk single and album, they also broke further new ground as the first UK punk act to tour America. The Damned still receive their dues in the US, where they are often cited as a major influence on many future rock acts, including bastions of the nascent US hardcore scene such as Black Flag and Bad Brains plus heavy metal heavyweights such as Green Day, The Offspring and Guns ’N’ Roses. The band recently celebrated four decades together with a deluxe reissues package and a world tour.
About Search and Destroy:
Raw Power Management oversee a roster of internationally successful acts which include: Bring Me The Horizon, At The Drive In, While She Sleeps, Of Mice and Men, Don Broco, Mallory Knox, and others.  The company’s record label Search and Destroy is home to, among others, Bullet For My Valentine & Atreyu.  Search and Destroy is a joint venture with Spinefarm Records / Universal.
Follow The Damned:

Dion Lunadon – self-titled

As the story goes, Dion Lunadon, known to many as the bass player and co-mastermind of A Place to Bury Strangers, was feeling restless during a break in APTBS’ tour schedule. So, he poured that restless energy into his first solo album and gave the world a frantic, wild piece of noise-punk that has some fun surprises in it.

The album’s opener is a raging piece against something we all have to deal with – “Insurance, Rent, and Taxes.” The song flattens you with squelching sound and Robi Gonzalez (who used to play for APTBS). Lundaon sings, “Much too young to get any older.” on the swinging “Reduction Agent.” Lunadon reveals his love of dirty juke joint blues in the track in both the rhythm and lyrics (“I’ve got the mark of death. It won’t leave me alone.”). The organ and bass on “Fire” burns as hot as its namesake, building to a crazy blender-like frenzy. “Com / Broke” is your new favorite song for trying to beat rush hour traffic. Just be careful, as Lunadon’s lyrics do involve car crashes, fires, and self-destruction.

“Hanging By a Thread” is a post-punk (and nearly instrumental) surprise with guitars that sound like industrial saws. The industrial grind continues on “Move,” and Lunadon’s vocals sounds like the Borg has assimilated him. The drums blast the doors off the song around the 1:30 mark and you’re holding on for dear life by that point.

“Eliminator” is fierce noise-punk, and “Howl” is about Lunadon’s joy in expressing himself in the spotlight. It’s like something Lou Reed blasted out of his speakers when getting ideas for Metal Machine Music.

Believe it or not, “Ripper” is a psychobilly cut and Lunadon and crew have a blast on it. I couldn’t help but grin through the whole track. “White Fence,” on the other hand, is more fine post-punk with weirdly angled guitars and desperate vocal stylings. The closer, “No Control,” brings Lunadon’s album back into weird psychedelia before a quick, distorted fade out leaves you gasping for breath.

This debut solo record is quite a statement. It’s powerful, brash, and even fun. More debuts need to be this self-assured.

Keep your mind open.

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Protomartyr share new single, “My Children,” and tour dates.

PROTOMARTYR SHARE NEW SONG “MY CHILDREN”

ANNOUNCE BROOKLYN HEADLINE SHOW ON SEPT. 13TH

RELATIVES IN DESCENT OUT SEPT. 29TH ON DOMINO

photo credit: Daniel Topete
Today, Protomartyr share “My Children,” the second single off their forthcoming album Relatives In Descent (out 9/29 on Domino). A song about legacy, about what we pass on to those that come after us, ‘My Children’ is an urgent follow up to the first single, the gloriously epic “A Private Understanding.”
LISTEN TO “MY CHILDREN”
Youtube: http://smarturl.it/MyChildren
Streaming: http://smarturl.it/MyChildrenStrm

Protomartyr have announced worldwide tour dates in support of the album, including a hometown album release party on the Detroit Princess, a 4-level historical cruise ship. The party, which will feature performances from Protomartyr, Adult, Metz, Tyvek, and Preoccupations, also includes a scenic cruise. Tickets available here.

Additionally, Protomartyr have announced another New York headline show, at St. Vitus in Brooklyn on Wednesday September 13th. This more intimate affair will give NY fans a chance to see the band before their Music Hall of Williamsburg show on Oct. 28th. Tickets will be on sale Friday, August 18th.

Anxiety about the precarious nature of reality is a recurring thread on Protomartyr’s 4th full-length and Domino debut. Though not a concept album, it presents twelve variations on a theme: the unknowable nature of truth, and the existential dread that often accompanies that unknowing. After months of rehearsal, the band decamped to Los Angeles for two weeks in March of 2017, to record with Sonny DiPerri (Animal Collective, Dirty Projectors), who co-produced the record and helped capture the band’s long-simmering vision for something more complex, but no less visceral.

Previously shared track “A Private Understanding” is the album’s opening statement and a wellspring from which the following eleven songs flow. At once beautiful and brutal, it mutates from drum-led oddity to unlikely anthem, with some of Casey’s most potent lyrical work at its center.

PRAISE FOR “A PRIVATE UNDERSTANDING”

“There is an entire short story’s worth of action here, but this sentence turns it into something else — a frozen pose, a single moment we can gaze at indefinitely.” – The New York Times Magazine

“‘A Private Understanding’ is another Protomartyr song that rewards repeat listens—to sit with its poetry and tease out its generous hooks” – Pitchfork

“Frontman Joe Casey’s brand of dour, erudite charisma has never been more engaging, with allusions to Stalin and the beliefs of the Greek philosopher Heraclitus sitting next to pained, direct outbursts (“she’s just trying to reach you,” Casey sings over and over as the guitars build into a typhoon at the end).” – Noisey

“A five-minute slow-simmer that captures Protomartyr at their most unsettling and their most accessible.” – Stereogum

“Over an off-kilter drumbeat, bellower-in-chief Joe Casey gives a vision of America in 2017–’this age of blasting trumpets, paradise for fools’–before heading into murkier waters.” – SPIN

Watch the video for ‘A Private Understanding’ here.
Stream ‘A Private Understanding’ here.

Protomartyr will tour the US in September and head to Europe in November including a string of UK dates.
PROTOMARTYR TOUR DATES
Wed. Sep. 6 – Pittsburgh, PA @ Cattivo w/ Melkbelly
Thu-Sep. 7 – Baltimore, MD @ Metro Gallery w/ Melkbelly
Fri. Sep 8 – Raleigh, NC @ Hopscotch Festival
Sat. Sep. 9 – Asheville, NC @ Mothlight w/ Melkbelly
Sun. Sep. 10 – Cincinnati, OH @ Northside Yacht Club w/ Melkbelly
Wed. Sep. 13 – Brooklyn, NY @ St. Vitus
Thu. Sep. 14 – Cambridge, MA @ Middle East Downstairs w/ John Maus
Fri. Sep. 15 – Jersey City, NJ @ Monty Hall w/ the Gotobeds
Sat. Sep. 16 – Hudson, NY @ Basilica Soundscape
Sun. Sep. 17 – Cleveland, OH @ Mahall’s w/ John Maus
Fri. Sep. 22 – Detroit, MI @ Detroit Princess Riverboat w/ METZ, Preoccupations, ADULT., Tyvek
Sat. Sep. 30 – Long Beach, CA @ Music Tastes Good
Sun. Oct. 8 – Chicago, IL @ Lincoln Hall w/ Failed Flowers
Mon. Oct. 9 – Minneapolis, MN @ Turf Club w/ Failed Flowers
Thu. Oct. 12  – Seattle, WA @ Chop Suey w/ Hurry Up
Fri. Oct. 13 – Portland, OR @ Doug Fir w/ Hurry Up
Sat. Oct. 14 – Eugene, OR @ Hi Fi Music Hall w/ Hurry Up
Sun. Oct. 15 – San Francisco, CA @ Great American Music Hall w/ Lars Finberg
Tue. Oct. 17 – Phoenix, AZ @ Rebel Lounge w/ Lars Finberg
Thu. Oct. 19 – San Antonio, TX @ Paper Tiger w/ Flasher
Fri. Oct. 20 – Austin, TX @ Barracuda, TX w/ Flasher
Sat. Oct. 21 – Dallas, TX @ Dada w/ Flasher
Sun. Oct. 22 – Houston, TX @ Secret Group w/ Flasher
Tue. Oct. 24 – Atlanta, GA @ the Earl w/ Flasher
Wed. Oct. 25 – Charlotte, NC @ Neighborhood Theatre w/ Flasher
Thu. Oct. 26 – Washington, DC @ Rock n Roll Hotel w/ Flasher
Fri. Oct. 27 – Philadelphia, PA @ Boot & Saddle w/ Flasher
Sat. Oct. 28 – Brooklyn, NY @ Music Hall of Williamsburg w/ Flasher
Thu. Nov. 2 – Prague, CZ @ Futurum w/ METZ
Fri. Nov. 3 – Wroclaw, PL @ Klub Firlej w/ METZ
Sat. Nov. 4 – Warsaw, PL @ Klub Hydrozagadka w/ METZ
Mon. Nov. 6 – Berlin, DE @ Bi Nuu w/ METZ
Tue. Nov. 7 – Copenhagen, DK @ Loppen w/ METZ
Wed. Nov. 8 – Hamburg, DE @ Knust w/ METZ
Thu. Nov. 9 – Groningen, NL @ Vera
Fri. Nov. 10 – Utrecht, NL @ Le Guess Who?
Sat. Nov. 11 – Rotterdam, NL @ Rotown
Sun. Nov. 12 – Brighton, UK @ The Haunt w/ Sauna Youth
Tue. Nov. 14 – London, UK @ Dome Tufnell Park w/ Sauna Youth
Wed. Nov. 15 – Manchester, UK @ Deaf Institute w/ Sauna Youth
Thu. Nov. 16 – Newcastle, UK @ The Cluny w/ Sauna Youth
Fri. Nov. 17 – Glasgow, UK @ CCA w/ Sauna Youth
Sat. Nov. 18 – Dublin, IE @ Whelan’s w/ Sauna Youth
Sun. Nov. 19 – Leeds, UK @ Brudenell Social Club w/ Sauna Youth
Tue. Nov. 21 – Brussels, BE @ Rotonde w/ Heimat
Wed. Nov. 22 – Tourcoing, FR @ Le Grand Mix w/ Heimat
Thu. Nov. 23 – Nantes, FR @ Pole Etudiant w/ Heimat
Fri. Nov. 24 – Angouleme, FR @ La Nef
Sat. Nov. 25 – Paris, FR @ La Maroquinerie w/ Heimat

Relatives In Descent is available to pre-order now on limited edition purple/white starburst vinyl, CD, and digital download:

Domino Mart pre-order: http://smarturl.it/RIDMart
iTunes pre-order: http://smarturl.it/RIDDownload

Protomartyr Online:
https://www.facebook.com/protomartyr
https://soundcloud.com/protomartyr
http://pitchperfectpr.com/protomartyr/
https://protomartyr.bandcamp.com/
http://www.dominorecordco.us/artists/protomartyr/

Rewind Review: Ty Segall – Live in San Francisco (2015)

Ty Segall is so prolific that I’m surprised it took him until 2015 to release a live album. He seems to put out a new record every month, so it feels like he should have three live albums by now.

The psych-fuzz whiz kid opens his live set with, oddly enough, “Wave Goodbye.” It starts out with low bass and then kicks into squealing high gear that has the small crowd cheering in joy. It sounds like something Tom Petty wishes he could release on his new record, but fears it would alienate his long-time fans. “Slaughterhouse” (from the album of the same name) is pure freak-out punk rock with a little Nirvana vocals sprinkled on top for good measure. “Death” mixes stoner rock with punk so fast it might give your ears friction burns. It’s one of the best cuts on the record.

“I Bought My Eyes” is one of Segall’s biggest hits, and he lets it rip on this live album. The guitars seem to come at you from all sides while Segall’s vocals are somehow gentle in the din. “Feel” borders on arena rock territory at first, but the sleeveless denim jacket riffs cut it off at the front door (which is a good thing).

“The Hill” follows the band’s friend, Julie, telling a joke, and next up is “Thank God for the Sinners,” which sounds like something Buzzcocks cooked up at their second jam session. Segall claims “Standing at the Station” “is about the cow trade.” I don’t know if that’s true, but I do know that it’s a swaggering, wild blues-influenced tidal wave coming out of your speakers.

The album ends with another of Segall’s hits – “What’s Inside Your Heart.” I’m sure the fans at this gig told him how their hearts were full of palpitations from being shaken by so much rock. It’s a strong ending to a strong record.

I know this entire review has essentially been me saying this record is non-stop blaring madness, but that’s the best way I describe it. You’ll understand once you hear it. Ty Segall is making crazy records, and we should all be grateful to him for doing it. The world needs more live records, and live performers, like this.

Keep your mind open.

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The Damned announce UK winter tour dates.

British punk legends the Damned have announced winter tour dates for the United Kingdom.  They put on a great live show, and catching them in their homeland would be outstanding.  Tickets are on sale now for the Evil Spirits tour, so don’t wait to snag some if you’re in the UK or planning a trip there this winter.

Keep your mind open.

Pitchfork Music Festival artist spotlight: Priests

Washington D.C. punks Priests have unleashed a lot of post-punk / no wave protest music in the last year, and the world is better for it.  They’re smack dab in the middle of the current political climate’s hotbed, and they’re not just speaking out, they’re shouting out.  A lot of their songs build to high tension, which is an apt reflection for much of the country right now.

Priests open the Green Stage at the Pitchfork Music Festival on July 14th.  It’s sure to be a raucous way to start the day.

Keep your mind open.

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Castle Face Records to release a rare live U.S. recording of French punk legends Magnetix.

LEGENDARY FRENCH PUNKS MAGNETIX ANNOUNCE LIVE IN SAN FRANCISCO

OUT JULY  14TH ON CASTLE FACE; LISTEN TO “LIVING IN A BOX

Magnetix’ Live In San Francisco is out on Castle Face Records on Bastille Day, July 14th

THE COUPLE THAT SLAYS TOGETHER, STAYS TOGETHER

LOOCH AND AGGY, LIKE THE MONIKER OF AN INFAMOUS KILLING DUO
THE F*CKING BUTCHEST BAND FROM BORDEAUX
LOOCH, WITH HANDS LIKE BUNCHES OF BANANAS
AND SONGS LIKE FLAMING ARROWS
THE LOVELY AND TOUGH AS HELL AGGY
CRUSHING THE KIT
HEAVY WEIRD ATTACKERS FROM OUR SISTER COUNTRY
SLUDGE DRIPS
MURDER THE GUITAR
USURP THE AMP
FRY THE MIC
HOWL LIKE BEASTS
MELT THE CROWD
MAGNETIX
WE WERE LUCKY ENOUGH TO GRAB THEM ON ONE OF THEIR RARE U.S. SHOWS
TO RECORD IN A BASEMENT IN SAN FRANSISCO
HERE IT IS IN ALL ITS GORY GLORY
LETS GO TRIPPING……..”

– John Dwyer

 

LISTEN TO  “LIVING IN A BOX”
http://bit.ly/2sUyuuV

LIVE IN SAN FRANCISCO TRACKLISTING

1. Growing Up
2. Feel High (When I Die)
3. Lawn Mowers Attack!!!
4. Mort Clinique
5. Impaction
6. Living In A Box
7. LR6
8. Rest Of My Life
9. Break Up The Phone

 

Pre-order Live In San Francisco – http://bit.ly/2sBy9Kp

Keep your mind open.

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Oh Sees release new single, “The Static God,” from upcoming album.

THEE OH SEES ARE DEAD. LONG LIVE OH SEES

NEW ALBUM ORC, OUT AUG. 25TH ON CASTLE FACE; LISTEN TO “THE STATIC GOD

OH SEES CELEBRATE 20 YEARS OF UNFETTERED EXISTENCE WITH 19TH ALBUM

Oh Sees are the latest incarnation of songwriter, singer, guitarist (and Castle Face fearless leader) John Dwyer’s ever-evolving rock-pop-folk psychedelic group. Dwyer has been active since the late ’90s, working with several bands, including the Coachwhips, Pink & Brown, Yikes, Up Its Alive, and Swords & Sandals, among others, and he formed OCS (which is an acronym for Orinoka Crash Suite, Orange County Sound, or whatever Dwyer decided it was on any given day) initially as a vehicle for the experimental instrumentals he was producing in his home studio. The project entered its 20th year of existence in 2017.

In time OCS morphed into an actual band, and worked under the usual flurry of names, most notably as The Oh Sees or The Ohsees, and eventually as Thee Oh Sees. The band’s lineup has spawned and  re-spawned a few times before reaching their current incarnation featuring Tim Hellman on bass, Dan Rincon and Paul Quattrone on drums.

And now, the newly shorn Oh Sees waste no time in racing headlong into nightmarish battle with their mighty new record Orc (Dwyer’s 19th album as OCS/Thee Oh Sees/Oh Sees, etc.), and wouldn’t ya know it, they’ve clawed even farther up the ghastly peak last year’s A Weird Exits stormed so satisfyingly. The band is in tour-greased, anvil on a balance beam, gut-pleasingly heavy form, nimbly braining with equal dashes of abandon and menace on this fresh batch of bruisers and brooders, hypnotically stirred into to the cauldron of chaos you’ve come to expect from, ahem, Oh Sees. Quattrone and Dan Rincon form a phalanx of interlocking double drums, alternately propelling and fleet footing shifting ground to pinion Dwyer’s cliff-face guitars to the boogie. Tim Hellman keeps it swinging like a battle-axe to the eyebrows. More evil….more complex, more narcotic, more screech, more roar, more whisper, there’s even more Brigid Dawson. Less “Thee”, but more of everything else, Orc is out on Castle Face Records August 25th. Listen to the blistering first track “The Static God.”
LISTEN TO “THE STATIC GOD”
http://bit.ly/2s27Yix

ORC TRACKLISTING
1. The Static God
2. Nite Expo
3. Animated Violence
4. Keys To The Castle
5. Jettison
6. Cadaver Dog
7. Paranoise
8. Cooling Tower
9. Drowned Beast
10. Raw Optics

OH SEES TOUR DATES
Thu. June 7 – Milano, IT @ Magnolia
Fri. June 8 – Ravenna, IT @ Beaches Brew
Sat. June 9 – Dudingen, CH @ Bad Bonn
Sun. June 10 – Nimes, FR @ This Is Not A Love Song
Mon. June 11 – Bordeaux, FR @ le block
Tue. June 12 – Tours, FR @ le temps machine
Thu. June 14 – Manchester University, UK @ Transformers
Sat. June 17 – San Francisco, CA @ Phono Del Sol Festival
Sat. July 22 – Sun. July 23 – Los Angeles, CA @ FYF
Sun. Aug. 6 – Katowice, PL @ OFF Festival
Tue. Aug. 8 – Hamburg, DE @ Molotow
Thu. Aug. 10 – Oslo, NO @ Oya Festival
Fri. Aug. 11 – Gothenburg, DW @ Way Out West Festival
Sat. Aug. 12 – Copenhagen, DK @ Pumpehuset
Fri. Aug. 18 – Saint Malo, FR @ La Route du Rock
Sat. Aug. 19 – Brecon Beacons, UK @ Green Man Festival
Fri. Sept. 1 – Phoenix, AZ @ The Crescent Ballroom
Sat. Sept. 2 – Albuquerque, NM @ Sister Bar
Mon. Sept. 4 – Austin, TX @ Hotel Vegas Outside
Tue. Sept. 5 – New Orleans, LA @ One Eyed Jack’s
Wed. Sept. 6 – Atlanta, GA @ Variety Playhouse
Fri. Sept. 8 – Philadelphia, PA @ Trocadero Theater
Sun. Sept. 10 – Brooklyn, NY @ Warsaw
Wed. Sept. 13 – Cambridge, MA @ The Sinclair
Thu. Sept. 14 – Montreal, QC @ La Tulipe I Le National
Fri. Sept. 15 – Toronto, ON @ Danforth Theater
Sat. Sept. 16 – Cleveland, OH @ Beachland Ballroom
Sun. Sept. 17 – Chicago, IL @ Thalia Hall
Tue. Sept. 19 – Milwaukee, WI @ Turner Hall
Fri. Sept. 22 – Missoula, MT @ Monk’s
Sat. Sept. 23 – Seattle, WA @ Neumo’s
Sun. Sept. 24 – Vancouver, BC @ Commodore Ballroom
Mon. Sept. 25 – Portland, OR @ Crystal Ballroom

Hi-res photos/album art: http://pitchperfectpr.com/thee-oh-sees/

Oh Sees Online:
http://www.theeohsees.com
https://www.castlefacerecords.com
https://www.castlefacerecords.com/collections/thee-oh-sees

Live – Shonen Knife and Shooda Shook It – Tucson, AZ – May 24, 2017

I was delighted to discover Japanese pop-punk legends Shonen Knife were playing in Tucson (at the nice little club / art space 191 Toole) while I was recently there.  I’d never seen them, and their “Ramen Adventure Tour” included original bassist Atsuko, original guitarist Naoko, and new drummer Risa.  Tickets were only $15.00, so this was a must-see.

Opening for them were local new wave / post-punk outfit Shooda Shook It.  They showed up in matching black and white outfits and checkerboard masks that made them look like either luchadors or obscure Bronze Age comic book villains.

Shooda Shook It

They were funky, groovy, and good.  They played a set that started like early Devo, then ventured into early Talking Heads-like stuff, and then a neat blend of surf-punk and P-funk.  I need to track down their stuff.

Shonen Knife came out to a rousing chorus of cheers.

Sisters Atsuko (left) and Naoko (right).

They ripped out a set of stuff from their newest record, Adventure, including “Jump into the New World” and “Green Tangerine” – which was sung by their outstanding (and adorable) drummer, Risa.

They then played a big “food” set of songs related to food, including “Banana Chips,” “Ramen Rock,” “Sushi Bar,” “Wasabi,” “Fruits and Vegetables,” and “Barbecue Party.” I was bouncing like a delighted schoolgirl during “Banana Chips” and the crowd chants during “Sushi Bar” were great.

L-R: Atsuko, Risa, Naoko rocking out “Sushi Bar.”

Other highlights were “Twist Barbie,” “Capybara,” and “Bear Up Bison,” which I thought was a fun addition to a set in the southwest.  Their encore included their cover of “Daydream Believer” and the heavy classic “Bakka Guy,” which proves Shonen Knife could’ve been a doom metal band if they’d wanted.

Encore performance of “Daydream Believer.”

It was a solid set that lasted just under an hour.  They promised their set in Tempe the next day would be entirely different and they’d have different costumes (all of which are designed by Atsuko, by the way).

My wife said I was “crushing on them,” and she was right.  I geeked out for them hard.  I didn’t realize how much I needed a fun pop-punk show until then, let alone how much Shonen Knife material is out there I still don’t have.  I hope I can catch them again sooner rather than later.

Keep your mind open.

Naoko’s foot pedal board. I think she keeps her guitar picks in the Altoids tin.

Live – The Damned and Bleached – Chicago, IL – April 23, 2017

Spoils of moshing: A Damned 40th anniversary U.S. tour poster, a signed Bleached t-shirt, and a broken watch band.

I’ve wanted to see the Damned for a long while and was bummed that I missed them when they played Chicago’s Riot Fest a couple years ago.  Lo and behold, they came to the U.S. again for a 40th anniversary tour, and this time I was able to catch them with Bleached opening for them.  That’s a win-win.

Bleached killing it.

I saw Bleached in October of last year in Cleveland.  They put on a good show, so I figured they’d be solid again.  I did not know that they would be even better in just six months’ time.  It was quickly evident (within two songs when they were absolutely gunning on “Trying to Lose Myself Again” from Welcome the Worms) that Bleached has seriously upped their game in just half a year.  They powered through many cuts off their excellent new EP Can You Deal? and even one I hadn’t heard before (“Electric Chair”).  I was gobsmacked by the end of their set.  I caught up with sisters Jennifer and Jessie Clavin at their merch table between the first and second encores of the Damned.  I told them their set was a home run and how much they’d improved since Cleveland.

“Being on this tour has been really good for us,” Jennifer Clavin told me.  “Playing in front of a lot of people who don’t know us has really made us work on our stage presence.”

“It’s only been six months!” Jessie Clavin said.

“I know,” I said.  “That’s what make it more impressive.”

Speaking of impressive, the Damned were just that.

“We’re back from the mists of time,” said lead guitarist Captain Sensible, “to save the world from shitty music like Mumford and Sons!”

The band tore into literal floor-shaking classics like “Generals,” “Disco Man,” and “I Just Can’t Be Happy Today” before a mosh pit finally broke out during “Love Song.”  The first of two beers went flying through the air during this.  For the record, I’ve been in some wild, fun crowds at the House of Blues.  I’ve never seen cups of beer, hats, shoes, and jackets thrown into the air during a show there until I saw the Damned play there.

The Damned performing “Disco Man.”

I stayed in the pit for “Love Song” and “Street of Dreams.”  The Damned continued a great set (and Captain Sensible kept decrying Mumford and Sons – as well as Kurt Vile, whom he called a “pillock,” Duran Duran, KISS, and Billy Idol) that included such fine tracks as “Eloise,” “Wait for the Blackout,” and “The History of the World (Part 1).”

Of course, the crowd (and I) went berserk during “Neat Neat Neat” and “New Rose.”  Moshing to those punk classics was a dream come true for me.  Truth to tell, I wasn’t sure I’d ever hear “Neat Neat Neat” live, so being in the middle of a friendly mosh pit ten feet from David Vanian as he sung it was great.

The Damned taking us back to 1977.

As I mentioned earlier, they played two encores.  The first included “Jet Boy Jet Girl,” sung by the Captain, “Noise Noise Noise,” and “Smash It Up.”  The last track especially showed off keyboardist Monty Oxymoron’s skill.  The second encore included “Nasty” (the first Damned song I ever heard thanks to them performing it on The Young Ones) and “Antipope.”  A guy near me had been yelling for “Antipope” for the last third of the show, so I was happy for him (and all of us) that they played it.  He went bananas.

It was a fun show.  They haven’t lost anything.  Sensible is still a great guitarist and Vanian (“the Vincent Price of rock,” as Capt. Sensible called him) still commands a stage like few can.  The Damned are touring extensively throughout the U.S. before they head to Europe.  Catch them if you’re near you.

By the way, here’s the list of things I found on the floor during and after the mosh pit: A button labeled “GW,” a spiked bracelet (belonging to a guy in a Misfits jacket behind me), a nickel, an opened (but thankfully unused) condom, a peacock keychain and attached house key (belonging to a young woman I found after the final encore), a hat (owner unknown), and a sweater (owner unknown).  A guy next to me in the pit found a cell phone.  I don’t know if he ever found the owner.

Keep your mind open.