Worst Possible Outcome/Leeches/Lucille/The Shakeys/Blunt Force Trauma
The Rocket Room
Friday, June 29, 2012
The Rocket Room was like an angry red womb, protecting the small but enthusiastic crowd from the cold and the wind outside. It was a packed night of hardcore punk action, and the punters - mostly known to each other, mostly friends of the bands - loved every minute of it.
Punk relies on its speed and its fury, so no one should be surprised that the first two sets only clocked in at around 15 minutes each. Worst Possible Outcome was the first cab off the rank, making their live debut. Combining insistent instrumentation with aggressive lyrics, they managed to cram a lot into their truncated stage time. Singer Adam Hall wasted no time getting off the stage and into the faces of the audience, and a few issues with the bass amp did little to mar what was an impressive opening salvo.
Leeches were up next, and if the three piece act didn’t quite match WPO in terms of intensity, it wasn’t for lack of effort. There’s a definite ‘80s thrash edge to their work that shows in the more complex musicianship and a willingness to experiment a little, as evidenced by their dropping a few chords from Are You Gonna Be My Girl? into the mix - this is punk rock with a wink.
The Shakeys, the all-female garage band fronted by Claire Hodgson, mixed things up a bit by mining a more classic vein of punk rock - think The Ramones, The Stooges, and, yes, The Sure Fire Midnights. Comparisons with the latter are inevitable, and regrettable; it’s a small town, and defining your own musical identity is tough enough all by itself. In any case, The Shakeys’ sound is raw, aggressive, and authentic, and tracks like Chump Change are both viscerally immediate and reverential to their roots, which is a neat trick.
Lucille brought more than a hint of rockabilly twang to the proceedings, with vocalist Johnny Ajax sounding like an unmedicated Mojo Nixon at times. Their big, fast, and guttural sound, perhaps best evidenced by the standout track I Feel Evil, was the perfect introduction to the object of tonight’s exercise...
Chainsaw Hookers. What’s left to say about them at this stage of the game? Seeing them play a venue like this is both joyous and discomforting; a joint like The Rocket Room is pretty much their natural habitat, but still, after the successes of the last year or two, you have to wonder when they’re finally gonna break loose and go large. Tracks like Texas Is Hell and Death Proof are ready made for radio play and a wider audience - hopefully it’s only a matter of time. Their set was typically great - now we just need them to move beyond the typical.
Closing act Blunt Force Trauma took the crowd - by now somewhat thinner - out with a dose of intense, hardcore metal, ending the night on an energetic high. It was a pretty great night, but still there’s that niggling feeling that the Hookers fingertips are just brushing the next level of success. Hopefully they’ll grasp it soon.