Rock'n'Roll Bloodfeast IV - October 8th & 9th @ Mohawk Place, Buffalo, NY
Among all the Blackouts, Shakedowns, Garageshocks, and all the other fests out there, BUffalo has actually been the focal point of quite a few great two-day blowouts of it's own. There were the Rust Belt Revolts (which I sorely miss), which gave me the chance to see tons of great bands, but the Revolt seemed to leave town about the same time the Baseball Furies did, oddly enough. But we still have the Rock'n'Roll Bloodfeast, now in it's fourth year running, and one of the events I've probably had more fun at than any other. Basically the brainchild of The Blowtops, every October/Halloween bands come from all over the States to this down-trodden and shambolic pit we call home and give us a bit of the old rock'n'roll. Making this year's event oh-so extra-special was the fact that it was also the release blow-out party for Big Neck's "Pain in the Big Neck" compilation CD, a labor of love that included tracks from just about evry band that played over those two nights. Bart Hart, despite the fact that he no longer lives here, still gives it back to our fair city in spades, as he rolled out one of the best rock'n'roll spreads I've ever seen. Twelve bands over two days for a measly six bucks a night. Now that's value. I'll attempt to recount the two evenings as best I can for posterity, and because I know you really care.
10:00 pm: I arrive at the Mohawk at the exact same time Bart Hart does, coincidentally, and run into some locals as well. We check out the write-up the local paper did on Bart, and the Bloody Hollies displeasure at not being invited to play is tossed about, and we marvel at the fact that they are touring Europe, opening for the Scientists, and are slated for a Peel Session somehow. Wow. But they didn't get asked to play the Bloodfeast. Hmmmm...Anyway, I got the drinking started early and watched the bands pour in, while the house band finished up their traditional Stevie Ray worship. Tyrades, Furies, a bunch of dudes I didn't recognize who I assumed were Tractor Sex Fatality. Bart set the merch table up, and record scum that I am, I ransacked everything before anyone got a chance. Found Lookers and Double Fudge singles among a lot of others, and I even got a bunch of Solid Sex Lovie Doll singles for $3 a pop! Thanks Bart!
11:30 pm: A little bit late of course, but the first band finally begins. Long standing local band the Barrel Harbor were slated in at the last minute when The Rabies dropped out, and I think that worked out for the best. Not many outside of Buffalo have heard of them, I'm sure, and they're not your standard garage fare. Kind of a Bad Seeds-ish typre deal, with a wicked country flavor. Bill, their frontman and Mohawk place barkeep, has a pretty commanding growl that permeates the musical proceedings with a nice demented flavor. I thought they were good, although the countrier stuff loses me, but when they pound it out, they really pound it out, in a noise-thud kinda good way. Mike, the bass player, wore a scowl so mean that not even a shot of A-Ron's ass cheeks could get him to crack a smile. I was pretty impressed.
12:15 am: I was outside smoking a cigarette when I heard the the Radio Beats begin the rock portion of the night. I rushed in to catch these kids, as I dug their single, and also have a strange habit of reading Steve's live journal for some reason. So I felt like I already knew the guy, in that gay internet kinda way. They churned out the finest in shirt and tie with Chuck Taylors garage rock, and I enjoyed. Steve's got some quick and witty between song banter, they moved around a lot, did the expected cover (the Devil Dogs' "Babysitter"), and ended with an unexpected cover, a rousing rendition of "Sooprize Package" that the crowd ate up. They got everyone on their feet and got the adrenalin and alcohol flowing for what shaped up to be a long night.
1:00 am: Getting pretty drunk at this point. If you haven't seen the new Blowtops line-up yet, let me tell you, they're a different band. They've dispensed with a bass player altogether and recruited Tracy from Concubine Forming to supply low end via Yamaha organ. It works out real good, trust me. The newish drummer practically sits on the floor, and has various hardware items in his kit. Overall, they sounded great, the most rhythmic I've ever heard them. Abrasively pounding. Creepy Dave put on a great show, of course, pacing about, breaking bottles, hitting the floor, and just acting the fuck up. He began accosting some chick in the audience, wrapping her up and singing seet Blowtop nothings into her ear. She seemed to be digging it too, since she didn't run for the door as I've seen other objects of Dave's onstage affection do. At some point he started bleeding. I don't know if the chick bit him or scratched him or what. But he bled. Then he stoled a page from the Short Eyes tour diary, and begged for a girl to punch him in the face. The last sound heard during the Blowtops set was that of a girl fist popping Dave in the jaw. Cool. As Bart remarked afterward, "That's just not right."
1:45 am: Tractor Sex Fatality were up next, and I'll admit right now, I can do them no justice with words. They just chugged and pummelled their way through a set I wished would've never ended. The played as a standard four-piece, but I've heard they have up to seven guys on stage at at time. They were so good as a quartet, I imagine the seven-piece line-up would be enough to induce pants-shitting. The closest thing I can say they sounded like was Monoshock. Fuzzy, powerful, but with less psych and a lot more pummel. The bass player was a fucking maniac, the singer had some moves, and the drummer flat-out owned it that night. It was thirty minutes of total fucking frenzy, and I didn't know any of the songs, but they were all amazing. Really damaging, and I mean that. Nice guys too, from what I remember after drunkenly babbling to them how shit-hot I though were. And the best thing was: they flew in to just play this show. Wow. Thanks a lot, seriously. The single they have out does them no justice, wait for the Big Neck release. I bet it's gonna be good.
2:25 am: I do believe at this point I was making pals with the Radio Beats, and yukking it up with their entourage outside while we smoked. The Detonations were up next, and I didn't have my hopes up because I though their LP blew dicks. But despite that, they were friggin' great live. I was feeling the rock. Great low-end stun guitar sound, the lead guitar player was pretty wild, and they just sounded good and raw. It comes off a lot better live than on record. I wholeheartedly endorse their live show, as a matter of fact. They were pretty sharp dressers too. Keith from the Drags bears an uncanny resemblance to Richard Ramirez, so much so that I was scared off of approaching him and asking him what the hell happened to CJ & Lorca. Best comment: "That guy's a loose cannon." said by Peter Envy as the Detontations guiarist high-kicked the cymbals right off of the kit, and then proceeded to dismantle the rest of the drums, and himself, in a self-destructive set-ending fit. Fantastic.
3:20(?) am: Rounding out the night, were Buffalo's lost sons, the Baseball Furies. The Furies coming home is always a big deal, as weirdos you haven't seen in ages come out of the woodwork. Their set consited mostly of stuff off the upcoming LP, and was of the choicest quality. The had drinks, heckles, and toilet paper thrown at them. A mosh pit of sorts erupted, consisting basically of dudes in their thirties injuring themselves and tearing the shirts off of the much smaller Radio Beats. Bottles got smashed. Bart caught some glass with his flesh. Mic stands got tossed. "Secret Club" got aborted. Odie got pissed. Someone yelled "Ladies and gentlemen, The Makers!". They launched into "Breakdown". Someone started setting off a fire extinguisher, which I at first thought was a fucking smoke machine. More shit got thrown. Lots of fun. More fire extinguisher, until Matt and most of the gear was pretty well coated with flame retardant material. It was like a fucking riot.
4:15 am: As we stood outside the Mohawk, and watched the smoke from the fire extinguisher clear out (you couldn't even see inside the place) I smoked a cigarette and was happy. We contemplated tomorrow's festivities, and were pleased we had another night of revelry to go. I went to work half-drunk and hungry.
9:30 pm Got to the Mohawk early. Re-scoured Bart's records to make sure I didn't miss anything the first time. Listened to all the old men recount their war wounds from last night's slam dancing. Started the drinking right away. Bought some shit. Functional Blackouts were already there. Trailerpark Tornados were too. So were a lot of beers.
10:30 pm: Concubine Forming were first. I kinda skipped out on their set a bit, but they sound great with a live drummer on top of the drum machine. Very propulsive. I think they're alot better live than on record.
11:20 pm: MHz were nowhere to be seen until about five minutes before their set. I was kinda excited to see them, as I'd seen 'em at a previous Rust Belt Revolt and liked their single. I wasn't sure that they were still around or not. It turned out they were quite a treat. They got the futuristic thing going, along the same lines as Devo, but less wave and more rockin'. They had a gigantic set list. Gigantic as in it was the size of the ebtire stage. Pretty funny. I thought, maybe they're playing on a giant set list to make it look like they're a miniature band? I think that was the pills talking on that idea. I still thought it was pretty funny. Anyway, they were real tight, and herky-jerky, and smart. Lot of songs about techology, and matching grey work shirts/pants. Andy plays the dorky front-guy role great, the rhythm section was tight (and had me thinking Halo of Flies tight, but maybe becuase I thought the bass player looked like Mac), and they even whipped out some two-fingered keyboard action. Really good punkier kinda stuff that I wasn't expecting, they flexed a little muscle, and had a lot of fun. I wish they played around more. They have a new CD out that I'm pissed I forgot to buy. I was drinking heavily.
12:00 am: Up next were my all-time favorite local band, the Trailerpark Tornados. Especially relevant this evening was the fact that they did not have to open one of the nights, as they had for seemingly every Revolt and Bloodfeast previous. They took advantage of the slot and played like drunk men on fire. Although they didn't play "Crowbar", which always leaves me disappointed, they were great. Buffalo legend and Voodoo Alley CEO Mr. Ski-mask himself even hopped on stage to lay some Moog down on a few tunes. Nice. Check them out if they ever wander into your town, and hide the prescription meds. Best line: "Great, another dago who can't handle his liquor", says Dave Pee after Aaron Blowtop throws a drink on him.
1:15 am: Spent some time in the alley smoking and chatting with the Radio Beats. I seem to remember Steve getting into a heated football/Steelers argument with someone, Steve getting punched in the balls by his bandmates a few times, and Steve hopping in on some strangers joint circle. Steve was pretty active that weekend. It was here that I first heard the infamous Mike Cynic story. Lots o'fun. Functional Blackouts started up and I rushed inside. I'd seen them before the Nervous brothers left the band, and was suitably impressed, so I was interested to hear the new line-up. Dr. Filth handled most of the vocal chores, new bassist Rob fit right in, Costello broke out some Moon-styled drumfoolery. Mac Blackout broke a string like two songs into the set, and it took one of the Black Lips going all the way out to the van to get the guy a replacemnt. C'mon, let the guy use your guitar fer chrissakes. Anyway, they just pretty well destroyed, BC made with the funny stuff (I love it when drummers get involved and don't just sit there), and I think they're doing just fine as a four piece. They played some stuff I didn't recognize, and ended with the lengthy opus I believe to be entitled "Chemical" that had everyone chanting cult-like. Pretty damn cool.
2:00 am: Tyrades time. Best live band on the planet? Probably, but a lot of bands gave them a run for their money that weekend. Still, they were awesome. Seeing them back in Buffalo, at thye Mohawk, I was reminded that they've come a long way from their modest Buffalo beginnings. They've evolved quite nicely into a ferocious band, and honestly, I never would've thought they would've turned out this good. They're the total package: agressive, dangerous, they never stop moving, catchy songs, punk as fuck, great image. They keep improving too. I was just kinda mesmerized by the whole set, and Jim played well for being a car accident just days earlier. You could tell he was hurting, but the guys a fucking trooper, man. Awesome. After and during the set I had a great conversation with Aaron Blowtop about the merits of early Nineties Buffalo punk, which I hope to turn into an article for the site soon.
3:00 am or so: One band left, The Black Lips, who I think didn't even show up until around midnight. They had a new guitar player who sported silver fronts. Wild. Anyway, I wasn't sure whether we'd get the complete puke/cock/piss fest of drunken tackling and no songs like we did at the Blackout, or if they would actually play. It turns out we got both. They played, and played well. Great versions of "Wild Man", "Jack the Ripper", "Freakout" and more. Honestly, I think I enjoyed them the most of all the bands I saw that weekend. And that may be because I was the most drunk at that point, but either way, their shambling version of garage went right to my soul and proved to me why I loved music. They were out of control, and sounded great doing it. Not sloppy mind you, but loose, and feeling it, in that kind of groove. Young kids getting their rocks off playing rock'n'roll. I was loving it. They played "I've Got A Knife" and I like to think it was because I was screaming it out between evry song. Just really great, and nothing like the mess I saw at the Blackout. But they still had some treats, as the guitar player whipped it out and started with the whizz. Some chick was trying to take his picture and I don't think she noticed until it was a little too late. He then proceeded to stuff the tip of his wang into a beer bottle, fill it a quarter of the way with piss, drink some and spit it into the crowd. Unbelievably disgusting and somehow awesome. Fuck. I hope I didn't get any on me. Great set by a great band, and a killer way to end it all.
4:00 am or so: All done. Drunk as fuck. I saw thank-you and good night to anyone who's face I can make out. I seem to remember a juke box dance party going on, and everyonr heading to an after-hours party, which I had to excuse myself from. I heard it was pretty wild. Maybe you did too. Anyway, it was two days of great music that rank right up there with any Blackout I've ever been too. You should've been there.
Extra special thanks go out to Bart Hart, for being a swell fella in general, and for caring about the music enough to make all this shit happen, and all the bands that played.
Article by Rich Kroneiss
Pics by Dale Nixon
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