By Phil Vorvis
Other than the fact that the fool at the front door didn’t believe I was media, the show went well.
The Night Gallery had a cozy atmosphere, where you could lay back, survey the art on the walls, order a drink, and of course, watch the cartoons and Woodstock documentary projected on a bed sheet spread across the wall.
Headliners, the Murder City Devils featured a guitarist with hyperactive antics, and a mic-swingin’, stage-hoppin’ beast of a singer who effortlessly dazed the crowd with his powerful voice.
No one could have predicted what happened next. Their upbeat sound and hard, punk noise drove the crowd ecstatic to the point where a drunken fool crawled up on stage. The vocalist mounted him and rode him like a horse. Later, after the singer ate the head of his mic a few times, the Devil’s drummer survived an arson attempt on his drum kit. Drum heads, cymbals and all were doused in kerosene and torched between songs. Stage hands scrambled to extinguish the flames.
Many of these experiences can only be realized at a live Murder City Devils show, but the sounds can be taken home on their Empty Bottles, Broken Hearts CD from Sub Pop.
Vancouver’s Black Halos opened with loud, punk rock and plenty of energy to compliment it. Their fast beats enticed a few onlookers to spit on stage and break beer bottles. One piece of glassware made it onto stage and its broken shards ended up in the hands of the lead singer, who, by this time, was shirtless and sweaty.
He later decided to take the shard and slash at his own chest in a bloody fit of rage. All part of the show, of course.
After recounting the story about his first sexual encounter at age 14, he sang a rock-hardened love song about his wife. She also knows about his sexual episode. The Halos currently have a self-titled CD out from Die Young Stay Pretty/Sub Pop Records.
The other opening act for this night’s show were the Browns–a bunch dressed to kill. They looked like they came late from a bank robbery and forgot to change their clothes (you could tell from their ballaclavas). Their set included a cover of "Oh, oh, oh, I’m on fire," and a time count for another that went "one, two, fuck you."
Overall, the crowd was as great as the music—loud and energetic. All vocalists had lyrics that could only be yelled through hard-core, punk guitar riffs, and heard by a hoard of rambunctious moshers.