Britain vs. The Bowery at The Saint in Asbury Park, NJ

Filed under: Events,Live Music,Reviews,Uncategorized — doktorjohn November 17, 2015 @ 3:05 am

Straight To Hell
Rockaway Bitches

disorder at Saint


Three really accomplished cover bands, representing three famous icons of the late 70s and early 80s, converged on this venerable music venue in Asbury to recreate an evening of music of an era dear to the hearts of many. Both those old enough to recall the inception days of punk, as well as those young fans who know enough to revere the epoch gathered to honor the three groups of performers who had joyfully revived the sounds and sights associated with three giants of the time, Joy Division, The Clash and the Ramones, but each performed with a unique, artistic spin of their own.

Placing an exact date on the origin of punk will always be arbitrary and controversial, but one fact will not. The U.K. and New York share equal status in birthing this cultural and musical movement. Here in the States, it was primarily the Ramones who gave it primal form and gained it widespread recognition with their performances at now-defunct CBGB’s on New York’s Bowery. Opening the show and representing these originals at the Asbury event was an all girls quartet from New York calling itself Rockaway Bitch.

Rockaway at saint

Rockaway Bitches

The show opened at around 8:30. The physically imposing lead vocalist bore an uncanny, if feminized resemblance to Joey Ramone, which she enhanced by wearing a pair of eyeglasses similar to his and sporting the same disheveled hair-do and of course motorcycle jacket. They performed 20 songs in all, from the unmistakable “Blitzkrieg Bop” through “KKK” to “Sedated” and “Rock ‘n’ Roll High School.” And, of course, “Rockaway Beach” from which the band takes its double-entendre name. At the beginning of every song, the bass player, in imitation of Dee-Dee Ramone, screamed “1-2-3-4!” imparting the trademark “do-it-yourself” feel of the original band, which never sought to impress with their mastery of the instruments. With their black motorcycle jackets and denim outfits, not surprisingly, Rockaway Bitch proved to be the most photogenic group of the night.

Straight to Saint

Straight To Hell

Contemporaneous with the Ramones, across the pond in the U.K, one of the defining originals was the Clash whose leftist politics and eclectic style helped define the culture of the punk movement. So, up next, and after an interlude of live broadcast from a college radio station, came Straight To Hell, finely tuned cover band for The Clash, performing 18 songs, each one more masterfully than the next, starting with “Clampdown,” off the “London Calling” album (1979) and ending with “Police On My Back” from the “Sandinista” collection (1980). Along the way they performed beloved and recognizable entries including reggae-flavored and country & western-styled numbers from the Clash’s large and influential repertoire, rotating vocalists as necessary and as each song demanded. High points came during “I Fought the Law,” “Should I Stay” and “Death or Glory.”

The largest following of fans was there for the third and final band, Disorder, masters of the British post-punk band Joy Division’s oeuvre. In a stroke of unforeseen luck Joy Division came into existence in 1976 when its members made a blundering attempt to emulate the Sex Pistols, but instead hit upon an unexpectedly imaginative and disquieting musical style that has transcended all genres. Disorder caters to the cult of Joy Division devotees who have survived and grown more avid in the 35 years since the untimely death of frontman Ian Curtis and the disbanding of the band.

Disorder began their fourteen song regular set with an obscurity, “Warsaw” from Joy Division’s debut EP “An Ideal For Living” (1978). Moving through the dark and brooding body of work, they performed meticulous recreations of all the favorites: “Day of the Lords,” “She’s Lost Control,” “Isolation,” “Dead Souls” and more. True to Joy Division’s tradition, they performed with more power and energy, more emotional abandon, than the studio recordings would suggest. Exhausted, the band tried to end with the heart-breaking and melodious “Ceremony,” but were called back by a persuasive and enthusiastic audience, whom they succeeded in satisfying with the pitch-dark, lamenting “Twenty-four Hours.”

In the battle of Britain vs. the Bowery, both sides can claim victory as well as the formation of a gratifying alliance that bears witness to the battle-cry, “Punk Never Dies!”

IAMX – Metanoia Tour

Filed under: Events,Goth Stuff,Live Music,Uncategorized — doktorjohn November 3, 2015 @ 2:43 pm

Webster Hall

October 30, 2015

by Doktor John

New York, NY

IAMX Stage

Berlin-based electro-pop combo IAMX ended their North American tour, termed “Metanoia” after their new album of the same name, on Friday, the day before Halloween, on the big stage at the East Village’s Webster Hall, which was filled to capacity for the event.

Opening band, Mr. Kitty did a spectacular job of warming the crowd with an over-the-top level of energy and a voluminous, hook-laden wall of sound, while frontman Forrest Avery Carney gyrated frenetically on stage in an all-white outfit like a jittery male nurse in a lab coat and mini-shorts that revealed his lengthy, gazelle-like legs sheathed in white stockings. As satisfying as Mr. Kitty was, its effect was to charge up the crowd for an even higher level of enthusiasm for the headliner to come.

IAMX in the form of a quartet roared on stage on schedule at 8:30, opening with “I Come With Knives,” off “The Unified Field (2013), which starts low key then gradually develops into a crescendo. Vocalist Chris Corner was joined on stage by a drummer and two gorgeously and scantily clad keyboardist/guitarist females who also contributed backup vocals. For better or worse, the stage lighting was kept low and monochromatic in reds, blues and purples, in keeping with the dark nature of the music, but I sure would have liked a better look at the whole quartet, Corner, himself as well as the accompanists. The packed hall responded with appreciation and physical agitation that lasted the rest of the night.

Strongly cadenced “The Alternative,” title track off the album of the same name, continued to intensify the mood and was followed by “Happiness,” ironically named from the latest album, “Metanoia.” Also off that album, which Corner represents to be an expression of his release from mental anguish associated with recent depression and insomnia, were “No Maker Made Me,” “Oh Cruel Darkness Embrace Me” and “Aphrodisiac.”

At one point Chris Corner exchanged his kerchief-like hood for a wide-brimmed hat, but maintained an all-black wardrobe throughout the performance.hatkeyboards

The other 12 songs (17 in all) were off the various albums that constitute IAMX’s broad repertoire. The syncopated rhythm of “Tear Garden” off the album “Kingdom of Welcome Addiction,” contrasted with slow paced “Bernadette” off “Volatile Times.” Club favorite “Spit It Out” had the effect of increasing the rhythmic pulsation of the spectators who were too tightly packed to break into actual dance.

“Your Joy Is My Low” ended the regular set, but this audience screamed for more, so after a momentary break, IAMX regrouped on stage for an encore consisting of three more songs which of necessity included “Kiss and Swallow,” then ending with the slow and melodious “I Am Terrified.”

From the opening act, Mr. Kitty, to the last beat and final note from IAMX, the packed-house audience remained totally rapt and kept in constant motion by the compelling and unique rhythms.