Key: (JG: Jeff Greenback)(RK: Rich Kroneiss)(EL: Eric Lastname)(TK: Todd Trickknee)(MCP: Matt Coppens)

Crime Fest: Criminal IQ Records Showcase @ Kraftbrau Brewery, Kalamazoo, MI - 12/3-4/04
Friday 12/3: I arrived at the Kraftbrau in record making time. It took me thirty-five minutes to make the usual hour or so drive, driving ninety miles an hour and swigging down cheap beer the whole way. Rock & roll animal? You bet your ass, jack! The Krunchies already had their equipment set up on the stage when I strolled in semi-drunk with a shit-eating grin on my face. I ordered a couple beers right away, talked at whoever wanted to listen, and checked out the merch table. Darius, Criminal IQ Records head honcho, brought along a slew of records with him both from his label and several others. I didn’t buy anything though, I was drunk and in the mood for action.
Not too long after annoying everybody I came in contact with, the Krunchies jumped up onstage to kick things off at the second ever Crime Fest. They came out swinging right away, getting people moving almost immediately to their fast retarded brand of punk-rock. One guy in a Casualties t-shirt even tried getting a two-man circle pit going which KK Krunchie commented on right away. They broke out older songs off their single that they normally decline playing live and even dedicated “Douche Your Brain” to me. Sweet kids. Their set this night wasn’t quite as good as the one I’d seen a few weeks earlier in Chicago but still one of the best sets of the entire weekend. See this band play at all costs.
Vee Dee hit the stage next and turned off every light in the house. I’ve seen Vee Dee play great sets and bad sets and this particular night they played a great set. They stuck to most of their faster songs like “T.V. Police” and “Blood Zombie”. I was up front jumping up and down like an ape and pouring beer down my throat, getting very worked up, when they did slow it down a bit. I ran up to the bar to drink while things were getting sludgy and luckily for me not long after, they picked up the pace again. They played around 10 songs to end their set but the screaming and clapping from the audience brought them back out to play the only encore of the weekend. Best Vee Dee set I’ve witnessed yet.
By the time M.O.T.O. hit the stage I was very fucked up. Something tells me I’m not the only one. Paul Caporino and crew hopped up onstage and started in on their first song, which they had to start over two separate times. Despite being somewhat sloppy, due to too much beer and lack of a full time drummer, M.O.T.O. still managed to bring the goods. Their Chinese guitar player even had to leave the stage to take a leak which he’s now done all three times I’ve seen them play, truly unprofessional. I love it. They had everybody cheering, dancing, and drinking the night away.
After the show I did a sloppy, obnoxious, drunken interview with Vee Dee backstage where members of M.O.T.O. and the Krunchies sat in. This interview will surface in the near future. We were told we had to leave by the promoter around two a.m. The people we were told to follow to the party left without us leaving my designated driver and I to retreat back to Butt Town to get a little rest but not before I apparently yelled obscenities out the passenger side window of my car at nearly everyone I saw walking down the street for a good block or two.

Saturday, 12/4: We got to the Kraftbrau the second night with a lot of time to kill so I once again checked out the merch table to see if there was anything I’d missed the night before. There was. I picked up a PVC disc, the High School Rockers 7” released on Alien Snatch, and the Gazelles 7” released on Goodbye Boozy.
I stood around drinking beer as fast as I could and gloating over my new record purchases when the Manhandlers started setting up. Their drummer couldn’t make the gig so Brian Costello of the Functional Blackouts filled in for them. I own the Manhandlers full length so I knew I was in for a pretty much straight ahead punk set with Jenna Tyrade-like vocals. What I didn’t know I was in for was a singer who not only sounds a lot like Jenna Tyrade but also acts quite a bit like her on stage. That shit doesn’t just happen. What Jenna does onstage is not thought out, it’s just her way of playing music. This annoyed me a bit. They did sound pretty good though. BC did a good job filling in on drums and the rest of the band was pretty right on. Maybe some day when their singer gets some moves of her own I might pay money to see them play again.
The Functional Blackouts were up next. Not many people have seen these guys play since their big lineup change but this was my second time. What they’re doing now is kind of hard to compare to what they used to do. Musically they’re even more chaotic, fast, and abrasive. As a live act they’re far more energetic, fun, and even confrontational. They opened up their set with “Raw Dawg, Raw Deal” which got the entire place going crazy. The three main vocalists up front seemed truly insane while Costello was up to his usual antics of crowd-baiting and jumping up from behind his drum kit adding a fun and comedic touch to their live shows. They ended their intense set about nine songs in leaving the entire crowd wanting more. I’ve written great things about these guys in the past but if you think the Functional Blackouts are done you’ll soon find out you are sadly mistaken.
Chicago punk legends the Effigies got up to close out the second night. I’ve always thought the Effigies records I have were okay but nothing to really rave about. There was a lot of hype from many Chicagoans about how great these guys still were. Live I found them to be a bit boring to tell you the truth. The band sounded very tight and they did look like they still believed in what they were doing but despite sounding great they just lacked the live energy they may have possessed in their youth. I’m not going throw out my Effigies records and tear their pin off my sweat shirt or anything but I’m certainly not going to drive up to an hour just to see them play. After the show I was drunk and wanting to find a party. But, I was shit out of luck as there weren’t any parties going on anywhere in town. We drove back home where I kept my buddies up drinking until 7 a.m.… fuck all you party-blockers!(MCP)

Horizontal Action #14 release show @ the Subterranean, Chicago, IL- 11/20/04
I made it into the Subterranean with just enough time to swill down a beer and meet up with a few friends before Aluminum Knot Eye took the stage. I had never seen AKE before and had only heard a tune or two online (which I loved), so I was pretty interested in checking them out live. Their singer, a confrontational and imposing motherfucker, jumped out into the crowd, threw a beer in someone’s face, screamed at everybody, and slammed into people all before the end of their first song. Musically they were a chaotic yet somehow controlled primitive somewhat arty somewhat punk mess. Perfect. I loved what I was seeing and hearing. Initially I was very intrigued and impressed with their overall realness and character that seems to be lacking in most of today’s bands. AKE are doing what the Piranhas wish they could still pull off. See these guys play at all costs.
The Wurst from Chicago was next. Rob from the Functional Blackouts also plays bass in this band. These guys are a sloppy and crazy in-your-face unit. They kind of remind me of a sloppier drunker version of the Electric Eels mixed with a good unhealthy dose of hardcore punk, not unlike Minor Threat. They seem to be up onstage just to annoy you, scare the shit out of you, and totally alienate you. They did just that. I liked it. Was I the only one? Probably.
After the Wurst, the Krunchies began setting up their gear onstage immediately. By this time I was getting pretty fucked up. After ordering two Pabst’s from the fat girl at the bar I ran up front to catch the Krunchies halfway through their first song. If the only time you’ve seen the Krunchies live is at the BC Show you are definitely missing out. This night it was non-stop one song after the other fast-paced PUNK PUNK PUNK. They got the crowd moving immediately, it was impossible to not take notice. Loud, fast, destructive, obnoxious punk-fucking-rock. Everything a punk band should be live.
The Feelers from Ohio followed shortly after. Their s/t single on Contaminated Records has become a personal favorite of mine as of late so my hopes were very high. They turned off all the stage lights and had a strobe light flashing during the entire set. Their singer immediately struck me as a much younger version of Eric Davidson in both appearance and onstage antics, which was great with the rest of the band’s constant movement. They far surpassed my hopes of how they’d be live. The best and most energetic new live band I’ve seen since the Catholic Boys. That’s saying something. Vee Dee closed up the show. I’ve seen Vee Dee play good sets, bad sets, and just okay sets. This night was okay. Live they’re not the most energetic band in the world but at certain points they lock in with each other and find a groove that’s been described by some as magical. They never seemed to find their groove on this night. Still a tight set but going on after such energetic bands as the Feelers and Krunchies there was just no way for them to keep everybody’s attention. I still wouldn’t count these guys out live as I have seen them put forth some very good shows. I think it may have to deal with what order they’re put in and who they play with.
After the show John from the Feelers poured whiskey on my head. Bouncers beat up the Krunchies and other innocent “victims”. I was almost arrested for being drunk and disorderly. We went to Lastname’s house to drink more. Trickknee gave everybody there a greasy oven mitt hand job. I caught a cab back to the house I was staying at where I passed out at 7 a.m.(MCP)

Krunchies pic by Matt Coppens
Feelers and Functional Blackouts pics by Jay Walker