by Bao Le-Huu
OFF! at Backbooth (photo by Christopher Garcia)
OFF! (Aug. 13, Backbooth) kicks legitimate ass. It’s maybe the most stacked punk band going and it’s the best, most relevant thing Keith Morris has been involved with since his O.G. days. But I’ve already seen the supergroup a couple times already. I made this performance a special point because the Melvins’ Dale Crover was filling in on drums. I suppose I knew better than to expect the band might shift shape around him but, I ain’t gonna lie, the fantasy existed. Well, they didn’t do anything of the sort, but they tore it up like they’ve always done so far.
Dale Crover pounding for OFF! (photo by Christopher Garcia)
Southern California longhairs Bad Antics were also good. A rubber-burning punk squad with the technique of a serious rock band, they’re fast enough to qualify but not so breakneck that they can’t flash some flair and throw some fiery licks. And since the early crowd was still shy, the singer just decided to use the floor as his personal performance zone. No bitching, no begging the audience to move closer – he just got down there and warmed it up himself. That’s how you do it.
Bad Antics at Backbooth (photo by Christopher Garcia)
But the surprise standout of the night was Phoenix’s Gay Kiss, whose dark, dense sound is one tough, paranoid and intriguing beast. Imposing a very welcome expansion to the narrow hardcore spectrum, their raging punk invoked bleak and provocative atmospherics found more in noise rock and deathrock. And it made a huge difference in their sum total. Even by orthodox hardcore metrics, Gay Kiss is a real force. But with their effective twists on the form, they’re a band to take serious note of.
Gay Kiss at Backbooth (photo by Christopher Garcia)
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