Sunday, July 11, 2010

Psychobilly Luau: Pyscho Charger, The Arkhams, The Othermen @ Bell House

Psychobilly Luau: Pyscho Charger, The Arkhams, The Othermen
@ Bell House
Brooklyn, NY - July 10, 2010

The field of psychobilly (a term for souped-up rockabilly, perfected by the incredible man and band known all the world over as the very good Reverend Horton Heat) gets an annual 2-day luau in New York City and reveals that like all rock n roll sub-genres, it can be a crackerjack bit of diversity. I caught 3 bands:

The Othermen are a wily bunch of cats with an affection and affliction for not just the rockabilly and later 60's garage roots but the perpetual punk revivals of these sounds going back 30 years. This was raw gut punching rock but with a smile and a burp. Your mama would probably run away scared from the ferociousness of the Othermen if she wasn't so busy fawning over their good looks and dorky charm.

The excellently named Arkhams are led by an upright bass-playing doppelganger of young Orson Welles. If that wasn't enough, one of their guitar players could pass for Elvis Costello. For no real reason they have a blondie who dances and strips to her pasties and does it for comedy in addition to sex. I'd have paid more attention to her if the band wasn't so good. But unfortunately for everyone they are. The Arkhams have a deep reserve of powerful songs and they can do mean covers, as they did this time with Fear. This band ought to be hounding the citizens of Gotham for a long time to come. Mwhahahaha - you don't know how happy I am that I can write that.

Psycho Charger do this oft-used method in underground rock: come out and perform in over-the-top scary makeup but turn out to be silly, goofy guys who make no bones about just having some fun. Caked in black make-up almost from head to toe, and decked out only in underwear, the kind of foppish Psycho Charger play the 50's b-movie horror and surf rock. In fact I am pretty sure this its own genre within a genre within a genre and if John Waters ever chooses to remake Ed Wood's "Plan 9", he could make do with this outfit.

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At July 12, 2010 at 10:06:00 PM EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I only disagree to add color, but I would say that the Cramps were the ones to perfect psychobilly. But that's neither here nor there. I will be catching the Arkhams in the future, I think.



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