Monday, May 28, 2012

The Dickies-House Of Blues,Anaheim,CA-5-20-12

   Hooray for winning free tickets all the time! Early show at the House of Blues in Disneyland. Nothing more fun then silly Punk Rock while watching kids walk around wearing Mickey hats and eating $20 churros. The lady at the door only wanted to give me 1 ticket,tho I won 2. After bugging the hell out of her she finally gave me one.

   Thanks to that lady I missed the first 3 bands. Luckily Casey Royer of D.I. showed up and was my good luck charm to make that lady get me in. I got in just in time for every ones favorite Clown band, The Yeastie Boys! As soon as the circus music ended they threw like 100 beach balls at us.. Of course we threw em back,at each other,and at the staff. They did some great clever covers like The Weirdos,"We Got The BOZO(Neutron) Bomb),Descendents,"I'm not a Jokester(loser),and Ramones "Bozo (Blitzkrieg ) Bop. And some of the old ones I heard from last time. Casey Royer of OC Legendary band D.I (and OG member of Adolescents and Social Distortion) got on stage in clown gear. He told the crowd he was Caseys brother "Clowney Royer". He sang a jokester version of DI song Bozos(Johnnys) Got A Problem and Adolescents Kids Of The Black Hole(Clowns on The Tight Rope).They seriously put on another great show. Nothing more fun then singing silly covers while wearing a clown nose throwing beach balls at the band. Great jobs clowns,great freakin job!
After the clowns it was Knocked Out Cold. A local Street Punk/Ska act. I thought they were ok but a lot of their fans where there cheering them on. I give em mad props for giving all their merch away for free. They ended with an Op Ivy cover. Great ska punk. Check em out.
  Casey came back to introduce the next band,Amerikan Made. They reminded me a lot of Pennywise and they a good solid set. They gave me a demo after,pretty cool stuff.
 Up next was legendary and super underrated 2tone Ska band The Untouchables. And I ain't gonna lie,I had more fun seeing these guys then when I saw The English Beat. The moshing stopped for this band and the dancing began. People where actually dancing and singing along for this band(as well as clowns). The songs were catchy,fun,and everything it takes to make a great Ska band. You must check this band out. Very good and underrated.
 LA's Own Briggs where next. The Briggs have gotten huge over the years with radio play,Warped Tours,and even had one of their songs be used for the official theme song of the LA Kings. I expected the place to be packed for them but hardly anyone showed up to this show. They started and die hard Briggs fans got upfront and sang a long. Fights broke out,little girls sang,it was awesome,They put on a great show weather its for 50 random dudes or a big ass crowd when they're opening for Bad Religion. They're a really great band. Check out their album Numbers. Chances are they're coming to a town near you.
 My first ever show was The Adicts back when I was 13. My cousin took me and he told me "Hey The Dickies are opening,they're real fun live" and he was beyond right. The lights dimmed and they all came out playing the theme they're most famous for "Killer Klowns From Outer Space". Of course the Clowns already there went super nuts and we all sang a long. The Dickies are a band everyone must see live. If you live in California I'm sure you've seen em open up for someone,if not their act involves Blow up dolls,dog puppets,penis puppets,goggles,and big hammer,and much more. I really don't wanna ruin the show for you but its really something else. The Dickies rule. And if you don't have The Incredible Shrinking Dickies in your're missing out big time. This is a band that use to have Guns N' Roses open for them,to be signed by a major record label,and have had The Ramones wear their merch on stage. The Dickies are legendary.

Integrity-The Glass House-Pomona,CA-5/19/12

 Scion brought Integrity to Southern California for the 3rd time. Since then Scion shows have been moved to a bigger venue in Pomona. More room. Got there,got in line,picked up some free CD's and socks. Now that this venue has ins and outs I could grab a bunch of free vinyl now and put it in my car. Glass House is cool.
         First band was Blackened Crust band from North Carolina, Young And In The Way. They set up the stage with candles and a random stage prop. They played a slow creepy long song then busted out to the loud fast evil crust. The lead singer had so much stage rage he head banged all over and kept flipping us off. The music was a great Black/Crust vibe with Mayhem and Doom influences. After throwing beer at us,he took the sheet off the prop. It was animal head(I think  a pig). He burned a bit with a lighter,then threw at the audience. For being the first band to play,they where seriously the best and my favorite. After the set I bought a shirt/patch. This was their first West Coast show and I really hope they come here more often.  Listen to "I Am Not What I Am."
Next band was Southern California's own HxC act,The Love Below. None of my buds liked em,but I thought they were ok. Vocals where high pitched and sounded like he was going thru puberty but I thought it made em unique. Reminded me sort of Gorilla Biscuits. A ok.
Next band was sludge locals Seven Sisters Of Sleep. They play and have quite the fan base. Tho I'm not a fan of Sludge metal at all,they did a cool set. Check em out if your into that stuff.

Last time scion brought Cleavland Ohio's Ringworm,I missed it and I was bummed. Luckily they came back. Ringworm is like HxC for metalheads. Great Hardcore with a total metal vibe,which made them the legendary band they are. As soon as they started kids started hardcore dancing like crazy all over the floor.  They played a lot songs off Birth Is Pain which is my favorite album. If they're ever near you,u gotta see em live. Ringworm and YAITW where the highlights of the show for me.
Finally kids got all bunched up for Integrity. As soon as music started the hxc dancing continued. Unlike the last time I saw em people where hardly there. Good to see more of the fans came out this time. Bunch of stage diving and singing along to my favorite songs in System Of Overload. After a long set. The place shut em down. They kept telling to crowed to keep yelling for one more song. They eventually gave it to them. Integrity did a WAY better job than the last time I saw em. Fans of Hardcore/Punk must love em. After they gave out stickers and did a secret show next door I heard. Sick show was sick.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Weekend Nachos-The Mime,Los Angeles CA 4/27/12

Ive been looking really forward to this show. Last year due to lack of funds I missed Weekend Nachos when they came to town. I couldn't miss em this time. I made sure I went. My buds took forever to pick me up but when they did we drove fast over there. The place was literally a nice pretty hole in the wall which felt like the inside of a volcano. We missed locals Disapproval and Duke Nukem Forever(who ive seen twice) but no big deal.

First band we saw was Chicago HxC band Spine.  They have members of Harms Way/Weekend Nachos and the demo they have out is pretty sweet. They started a kids started moshing and dancing in the little place (including the singer who jumped on people). A few crowd surfs and what not. They're sick. Hopefully they come back soon. Listen to demo here!
Next touring band was Dead in the Dirt from Atlanta,Georgia. Maximum Grindage with Crust/Sludge/HxC vibes. Once again the kids where moshing and what not. Really fuckin good. Go see em if they're your town. Download their bad ass EP's here!
And again for the millionth time I went upfront and saw ACxDC,who are obviously one of my all time favorite bands. They played the typical set,with a new song and me grabbing the mic for Milk Was A Bad Choice. Stage diving,craziness, and stuff that will never get old for me. Fun every time. As I write this,Sergio's daughter went through surgery. I heard it went positive which makes everyone happy. Positive vibes to you and your family Sergio.
Another band that ill never get tired of seeing is Lack Of Interest. They always start with Never Back Down and always end with their Infest cover of Mindless.Cant say anything other than I feel sorry for you for not living in LA cause we get to see Lack at almost every Powerviolence show.
Finally it was time for Chicago Powerviolence act Weekend Nachos. By then a lot of people had left early due to the fact they couldn't take the heat of the hot ass little venue. Some of my friends even went outside to sit this one out. I bought a WN t shirt(it has Freddy Kruger on it!) from the singer himself. Gave it to my buds to hold and I went upfront myself. Their singer announced how it was so fucking hot that if anyone passes out to let them know right away so they can stop. They started and we all went crazy and nasty. Stage Dives and Hi Fives where all over the place and getting my buds to pick me up so I crowd surf. Sing a longs and getting crushed. It was like raging waters in there. WN are very fun live. After they finished I told the singer to come again,he said "For fucking sure". They later bragged how this was the craziest show of the tour. Check out their latest album,Worthless. Amazing Powerviolence.

Vesterian-The Joint,Los Angeles,CA 4-14-12

My good friend Roger is the drummer for LA's  Black Metal warriors Vesterian. He recently joined this band and his first show was the day before this one. Due to my car being messed up plus the rain I wasn't able to go. Next day he needed a ride to this show. We got there,helped moved stuff and sat down to see the band in this place.

First band was Black Mist,LA local Black Metal with members of Hordes Of Hate. I actually enjoyed this band a lot. They where a 3 piece,no bass,Kvlt as fuck band. The songs were catchy and fast. They have an EP out "Nocturnal Ritual". I gotta get it.

Up next was Deminurere. a Black Metal band that was pretty heavy. No corpse paint was worn but they did a swell job. A ok.

Blood Etchings from Washington where on tour and played. People started to get into em . The singer covered his head in a towel or something and sang like that for a while. They played and made heads bang. They have a demo out,try to find it.
Also on tour from Washington was Sacrament Ov Impurity. Now these guys where great. Lead singer was a beautiful young lady. She wore corpse paint (like the rest of the bands) but she had a cape. She wrapped her self around like Batman,stood still,and sang like the rest of the show. It was really cool. Guitar player also sang and had a great  evil voice. Im a fan of these guys now. They have one album out,A World Behind Damnation. Its gotta be good.
Sumeria,another local BM band fogged up the room and had some upside down cross on stage. They had a quite a fan base with kids shouting out songs and horns being thrown in the air. They have some stuff out,i gotta get into it.
My bud in Vesterian headlined the show. They had way too much smog on but the music made up for it. The guitar playing was excellent,the bass was loud,and the drums where fucking hard. The vocals were totally different from any BM I've heard before.  It was an evil screech. They played for a good ol 40 min and had me headbanging. They have a lot of demos out but a full length is coming out soon. If you dig old skool black metal i def. recommend these guys. Not your typical trve band at all. Totally original. Thanks for reading my first full Black Metal review.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

J. Reeferseed & High Rollers Hull Ave Tap 4/20/12

If Christmas has Santa Claus, then national Counterculture Day (or April 20th) has Willie Nelson. Closer to home however, the holiday's official icon just might be Johnny Reeferseed. This past Friday night he blazed into the Hull Avenue Tap with his original gang of outlaws, The High Rollers for what turned out to be one helluva smokin' good time.

There was no need to drive to the bar, I figured. The cops, who by now are well aware of the meaning of the old hippie code 420, would surely be out in full force, combing the streets for any "suspicious"  people and/or vehicles. By the grace of good fortune, the Hull Avenue Tap is a mere three blocks away from my girlfriend's house, which makes for an easy walk when the opportunity arises. As it turned out we were lucky... There wasn't a parking spot within two blocks of the tavern.

We opted to use the back entrance of the bar as it normally is a bit more inconspicuous than walking through the front door. On this particular night, being obscure was merely a pipe dream; there were a hundred people outside the bar smoking cigarettes and (to quote Arlo Guthrie ) "all kinds of things." Immediate entrance to the bar was futile as we bumped into several friends who were gathered outside. There were also a hundred people that we didn't know, and the level of intensity was at a noticeable high. It became evident right away that this wasn't a normal Johnny Reeferseed crowd and while being in danger was never an issue, there was an unsettling feeling of combustion in the air. It was intense and the vibe was slightly rough. People were very drunk and milling about belligerently, weaving in and out of the crowded pockets of the revelers that had formed outside to smoke. Chatter was loud, plentiful and mostly incoherent.The atmosphere was rare... The scene was poppin'!

It was apparently break time as a band called Fruition had just left the stage.

I was unfamiliar with the bands in the lineup except for Johnny Reeferseed. I was assuming that the entire lineup was created with the 4/20 holiday in mind. The bill listed four bands: Dogomite, Fruition, The Bastard Assholes, and Johnny Reeferseed and the High Rollers. Being eleven o'clock we had already missed Dogomite and Fruition. However, having not entered the bar, and because nobody was talking about the bands, we didn't know this yet.

We were hanging out talking to some friends outside the back door. Some dude ducked into the circle we were conversing with, threw his arms back, puffed his chest out and said something along the lines of "Arghurraaagggggulllod!" Then he disappeared.

The heavy drinking crowd was in full representation. This was a unique brood... You know the types - The ones who get out once or twice a year as opposed to those who check out the local music scene every weekend. When they do come out they arrive as human wrecking balls, like kids turning 21 on New Years Eve. The Hull Avenue Tap has a reputation for being a rough and intoxicated place at times, and it was certainly living up to it's reputation on this night.

Eventually we made our way into the bar and it seemed to be filled to maximum capacity despite the hundred or so who were still outside. The crowd indoors was equally wound up. It was separated into various groups of people with lots of stragglers milling about. The bar itself was three people deep, and the two bartenders had their work cut out for them. Whiskey was being shot in alarming doses, puddles of Jagermeister were being spilled on the bar, and the bartenders were doing everything they could do to keep up with the demand. They were doing a great job despite it seeming like a  scene out of the old west. We managed to score a couple of drinks relatively quickly and spotted Jacob County standing across the room. He was with his band mates, the additional High Rollers, who all had a look of discern on their faces. It was well past 11:00 and I was wondering why they hadn't taken the stage yet. The uneasy feeling that was so evident outside was even more prominent inside, and the High Rollers had looks on their faces like they were not sure what to expect.

"Kinda nuts in here tonight, man!" I said to Jacob.

"Yeah, a little bit!" he replied with a laugh. "There's still a band paying before us."

"You mean you guys aren't even next?"

The band that was next was TBA, or as they are otherwise known as, The Bastard Assholes. TBA is a three piece outfit, but the amount of equipment they were hauling up to the stage was enough to fill up a semi trailer. Neil Peart's drum set doesn't require as much attention as this kit seemed to, and it was as if the bass player and the guitarist each had about 20 sets of speakers and monitors to load on the stage, each one the size of a washing machine. Watching them make trip after trip with their giant speakers, you began to realize one thing: Pretty soon it was going to get louder than fuck in here.

After taking forever to set their equipment up, TBA finally started to play... Or so it seemed. After a few riffs, and just when the song just seemed to get going, they stopped.

This happened two or three times; they'd play well into what could be considered a song and then just  for seemingly no reason, stop playing. Eventually they must have worked out their kinks because on the fourth attempt, they seemed to have found the sound that they were searching for. It became evident because the song lasted about 25 minutes. There was no singing... Just long droned out bass and guitar riffs amplified with heavy percussion. Iron Butterfly would have been proud. These guys make Electric Wizard sound like Smash Mouth.

After about 45 minutes of the loudest and most intense display of sludge rock the world has ever been privy to witness, The Reeferseeds began to get antsy. They started carrying their equipment to the stage area as if to make a point that TBA was encroaching into their time slot. TBA got the hint and abruptly stopped playing. Then they embarked on the tedious task of breaking down their equipment and carrying it off of the stage.


Ok, back up about 25 years. I'm sitting in Shep's basement apartment in Newton. He and I are polishing off a bottle of Jack Daniels with long careful swigs, talking about how one day we are going to take conquest of the world with our own exotic style of rock and roll. Neither one of us can really play at that point but we are waxing about how in the future we will be packing stadiums and destroying hotel rooms. We'll be as inventive as Zappa, cool as the Stones, as rabid as The Who, and as magnetic the Beatles. We will do whatever we want and draw a crowd doing it... And one day just because we can, we will play a style of mish-mash rock and roll that makes absolutely no sense to anybodies ears. It will be the greatest hustle in the history of music. We will suck as bad as we possibly can, but people will pretend to love it because of who we are. We will piss off the promoters by playing well past the time slot they have allowed us, right up until they walk up onto the stage and unplug our equipment and have us arrested... People will talk about it forever.


I don't know why, but even now there was something extremely endearing to me about TBA's set. Maybe it's because it was a  nice champion to all the times I've wanted to put my middle finger up for the world to see, or maybe just to prove my point that we people are a herd animal not any different from sheep or other livestock. People often perceive something as being cool, not realizing that they are being served a farce.. Andy Kaufman and Frank Zappa were really good at catching people with this act. So was Lester Bangs...

And despite what anybody else might have thought about them, I really enjoyed The Bastard Assholes and their one finger salute. I guess the 19 year old me hasn't left my soul yet.

Johnny Reeferseed and the High Rollers finally took the stage. This night it was special because the original lineup was playing together for the first time in a long time. For whatever reason, the band had been on hiatus and it was great to see them together onstage again. The lineup was Johnny Reeferseed on vocals and guitar, the legendary Jacob County playing lead, Keef Hashman also on guitar, Beth Spaniel on the bass, and Joe McGillicutty on the drums.

L-R Jacob County, Keef Hashman, Johnny Reeferseed, and Beth Spaniel
(Photo by The Bigfoot Diaries)

This was the lineup that three times was named the winner of the Marijuana Music Awards, and was once awarded High Times Magazine's Unsigned Band of the Week. This is Iowa's greatest party band, and on any given night, Johnny Reeferseed and the High Rollers are potentially the greatest rock and roll band in the world.

I'm dead serious.

The atmospheres inside the bar was still insane. The clock was pushing midnight, and people were as wound up as I have ever seen them at the Hull. A human conveyor line was formed throughout the crowd which was assisting TBA with unloading their equipment from the stage and out through the back door. This continued even after the High Rollers began playing. It was reefer madness. The place was completely full and people were cramped together like pigs in a slaughterhouse. It was becoming evident that the 4/20 holiday was in full effect. Marijuana and Jager Bombs make for strange bed fellows, and a cloud of weirdness seemed to settle above the crowd. And just when it was reaching it's fiercest peak, the band started playing.

There's a little ole place across from city hall
That's where some fucked up people come to have a ball
Everybody's getting high, they're feeling alright
Cause it's Mother's Day on a Friday night

There sits Tyrone, he's the king of the block
and he likes to drink Mad Dog round the clock
Don't step on his toes, don't give him no funny looks
or he'll beat your ass down with his vicious left hook
Then he'll take your woman home without even a blink
cause all Tyrone wants to do is fight, fuck and drink

Here come East side Sally from the wrong side of the tracks
Folks say she's got a mattress attached to her back
She's high on whiskey cocaine and ludes
and if you got a big ol' rock, she might go home with you
then you better get ready to swim or sink
cause all sally wants to do is fight, fuck and drink

"Fight Fuck and Drink" was the perfect song to start the night. This song was written as a parodied tribute to Des Moines' East Side, and has since become somewhat of an anthem for the band. Looking around during this song, I noticed that the bar was beginning to empty out a bit. Maybe it was because it was now after midnight, and people had to get home in time to relieve their baby sitters at a reasonable time, or maybe TBA scared everybody away... Whatever the reason, it had suddenly become much easier to breathe inside the Hull Avenue Tap. Those who stayed were treated to a quick but very good set by Johnny Reeferseed and the High Rollers. It is a treat to see this band play live in any venue, as they absolutely bring it every single time. This night was certainly no different. Whether it was the band's extended wait to take the stage or my own mental illusion from the copious amounts of whiskey I had been ingesting, it appeared that the High Rollers came out firing with both chambers spinning.

Jacob County, Keef Hashman and Johnny Reeferseed onstage with a prop

Beth Spaniel gave another demonstration of why she is one of the finest bass players in Des Moines, especially during the band's version of  the Stones' "Miss You." Joe McGillicutty as always played with an unmatched style and relentless energy. During "Miss You" and "Wild Horses" Johnny Reeferseed, Jacob County, and Keef Hashman traded leads back and forth like a cosmic three way between Mick Taylor, Keith Richards, and Ronnie Wood. The only thing that was more raw then the trio of guitars was Johnny's made-for-singing-honky-tonk voice. The lyrics flowed like a smoke cloud of sonic utopia.  It's a damn shame that this band isn't the house band somewhere.

Whether they are playing Stones' covers, or one of Afroman's, or even one that they rolled up themselves, Johnny Reeferseed and the High Rollers know how to throw a party. While this particular night might not have showcased their greatest effort compared to some I've seen in the past, it was still better than anything else I've seen lately.


Set list (based off memory):

Fight Fuck and Drink
Wild Horses
Miss You
Light 'em Up/ Thank You For Letting Me Be Myself/ Light 'em Up
Brother Can You Spare a Dime
Because I Got High
Dine and Dash


Pertinent Links:

Johnny Reeferseed and the High Rollers (Reverb Nation)

Johnny Reeferseed and the High Rollers (Facebook)

Bigfoot Diaries Interview with Jacob County