THE DICKS, THEE MERRY WIDOWS, TEENAGE HARLETS, THE TWOTS
The Eagle Tavern
by Dave Negative

Dicks

Finding myself in a situation where I can no longer legally drive (don't ask...) I was left with two options for transportation to The Eagle for this show: A) A combination of BART and cab, or B) Bumming a ride from someone else. Luckily, I was able to arrange for the latter at the last minute and avoid having to deal with being stranded in SoMa overnight as BART stops running at 12:30am.

The Twots were a new(ish) '77 style punk rock band from Oakland that I had been wanting to see for a while but for one reason or another hadn't until now. British expatriate vocalist "Boozy Suzy," who, as the busty "Knockers," is also a member of SF's queer-punk Clown Porn troupe The Drunk Clownz (who, incidentally, booked/promoted this event), lead her bandmates into "Damaged Goods," "Fuckstruck," "Illegal Alien," "Walk Of Shame," and "Oakland Boys" wearing full make-up with her Adam Ant inspired "Oh-way-oh" harmonies and tongue-in-cheek ruttish stage persona adding just the right levity to guitarist Sebastian's jarring chords and drummer "An!m@l"'s frantic beats. As a warm-up for their song "Nicotine" she asked those of us pogoing upfront "Have any of you got a spare cigarette?" Inciting fellow Clownz "Oopsie" and "Gropee" to pelt her with several while giggling "Smoke those ya 'Twot!'" To which she quipped "It's a good thing I said "cigarette" like a proper Yank instead of "fag" or YOU TWO STUPID POOFS would have thrown YOURSELVES." Not bad. Not bad at all. 

I've always felt ambivalent towards the Teenage Harlets, who've acquired a sizeable following in the Bay Area over the years. Their fusion of garage-punk and surf owing a palpable debt to Dead Kennedys' early Fresh Fruit sound but eschewing socio-politically driven rage for a "sex, booze, and rock 'n roll" induced giddiness that, although moderately amusing, fails to hold my interest for long. Tossing beachballs above our heads for us to swat around, vocalist Johnny "Dismal" bounced offstage as well to squall "My Thrills," "I Said Yeah," "Katie," "Best Dae," and "Mary Mary" off their self-titled E.P., Trash, Trash, Trash, Some Kinda Girl, and split single with The Juvenals from within the audience. Being pushed, pulled, and genially sent sprawling as guitarist Chris Van Dyke, drummer "Atom Bomb," and newcomer bassist Mikey Quatro (aka. "M-Tone," the guitarist for instro-surfers The Coppertones) played behind him in mock preppy frat boy "costumes" consisting of Bermuda shorts, polos, and matching sweaters tied around their shoulders. Like I said, if nothing else, they were moderately amusing.

Most of the time Thee Merry Widows can be counted on for a tight presentation of BD/SM/Fetish, Hollywood Babylon noir, and B-movie horror themed psychobilly, but after a few songs it became obvious that vocalist "Miss Eva von Slut" (a renowned West Coast burlesque artist and pinup model) had had one drink (or ten) too many and was in no condition to perform. Her normally pitch-perfect boom-swagger croon sounding way off tempo as she slurred through "Cruel Mistress," "Grave Robbers (From Outer Space)," "All Of Them Witches," "Talk Shit, Spit Blood," and "Black Widow" from their self-titled E.P. and Revenge Served Cold. Undaunted, upright bass slapper "Nikki Nightbreed" and hyperactive drummer Andrea kicked out the graveyard boogie-beats to the aforementioned songs without a pause. Even after Eva nearly stumbled off her platform stiletto heels into the drumkit during a cover of Demented Are Go!'s "Holy Hack Jack". Guitarists Nishone (lead) (also in The Vaudevilles with The Harlets' Johnny Dismal) and "Mistress Mandy" (rhythm), on the other hand, were noticeably perturbed, withdrawing in silent protest to opposite ends of the stage where their respective hot rod/surf riffs and licks were executed with little enthusiasm.

To say I was looking forward to this, a second reunion of the remaining members from Marxist agitators The Dicks' early 80's Texas lineup - vocalist Gary Floyd (formerly of Sister Double Happiness and currently of The Buddha Brothers), bassist "Buxf Parrott," and drummer Pat Deason (both presently in the neo-bluegrass Shootin' Pains with flatpicker Brian Magee, who was filling in for the late great guitarist Glen Taylor), would be an understatement. I was delirious with anticipation. Commanding the stage like a queer preacher-diva for the radical left addressing his flock, Gary drawled sarcastically "I was NEVER a "punk rocker" like y'all, so I thought I'd come here and be one for tonight..." before he and the band launched into the hardcore punk/amphetamine blues vitriol of their first E.P., the Live At Raul's split with the Big Boys, and Kill From The Heart ("Dicks Hate The Police," "Rich Daddy," "Shit On Me," "Fake Bands," "Anti-Klan," etc.) with a raw, howling vengeance. In response, the densely packed crowd; punks, leather bears - The Eagle being a gay biker hotspot, old "Rock Against Reagan" Yippies, and other assorted weirdos and wingnuts, erupted into a roiling mass that left the bar in shambles. Buxf and Gary threatening to stop the show if we didn't "simmer down" after an overhead light was kicked out by stage divers. It was intense, exhilarating, and hands down the best live set I've witnessed so far this year

 

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