D.O.A., THE RAZORBURNS, 5 DAYS DIRTY, THE ROOF RATS, SNACK TRASH @ BLAKE'S
by Dave Negative 

DOA

SNACK TRASH, three nerdy college students from Japan who currently reside in SF, playing pop-sweetened, Descendents-style hardcore tunes about the joys and pains of food and girls, weren't too bad. The intentionally juvenile predisposition of their music, when vocalist/guitarist Donkey Tat would sing in English and I could understand him through his accent, didn't move me one way or another. But the rattling drive of Anal Huye's bass lines was respectable, especially since he was suffering from a cold that caused him to lapse into bleary-eyed coughing fits between songs. The most entertaining aspect of their set, however, was Theo Logian, the bassist for The Razorburns, heckling them from the sidelines in what was apparently some very poor Japanese judging from drummer Horny Shige's peals of laughter and confused facial expressions. Tat eventually throwing a plastic pint cup at him before exclaiming in mock anger, "Shut up, you retard! Your Japanese is shit!"

I've liked ska for as long as I've liked punk, but my opinion of it's various modern incarnations when compared to the music's traditional Jamaican roots and second wave British 2-Tone has always been low. The PBR-fueled ska-core of anarcho drunk-punks, THE ROOF RATS, being no exception as they stumbled back and forth from vaguely metallic thrash to scratchy guitar filled faux-riddims with their faces concealed behind matching bandanas. Looking more like down and out cowboys than molotov-tossing "black blocers", except for vocalist Ugly in his Bush-cum-Hitler "Same shit different asshole!" t-shirt. Not knowing or simply not caring about the club's strict "no moshing" policy, guitarist Twomom incessantly groused about how few of us there were on the dancefloor. Demanding to know, "What's wrong with you people? Is it that you just don't know how to mosh or skank, or what?" In response, a few teenage crusties - this was an all-ages show - tried to start a pit and were promptly 86'd one by one by security. Which, as you can imagine, didn't exactly go over well with the rest of the punks in the crowd.

Vocalist/guitarist Justin O., bearing more than a passing resemblance to "Jay" from director Kevin Smith's "Jay and Silent Bob" related films, prefaced 5 DAYS DIRTY'S set of hackneyed, MTV/commercial radio friendly mall-punk by announcing they had finished a week of dates on the Vans Warped Tour and were featured in this month's Thrasher magazine. Neither of which meant shit to me, losing interest in skateboarding when it's ethos changed from Wild Riders of Boards chanting "Skate and Destroy" to X-Games jocks shilling for Nike and never having much to begin with for the usual bands showcased by the former. A smattering of baggy-pantsed newschool skaters and blonde UC Berkeley co-eds, on the other hand, who were obviously there to see them and only them, cheered enthusiastically as they congregated around what little stage there was. Hollering and tittering along en masse to "Jessie is a Punk Kid", "Still I See" and "Best of the Years". Another unnecessary confrontation involving security occurring when some skin who had been boisterously heckling the band refused to hand over an open bottle of Jameson he'd smuggled in, putting up one hell of a fight before he was wrestled to the floor and dragged out. 

THE RAZORBURNS, a last minute addition to the bill featuring former members of Fabulous Disaster and Teenage Harlets, may rely on tongue-in-cheek catchphrases like "We're irritating" to describe themselves but their dulcet alt rock/pop-punk sound, and especially vocalist/rhythm guitarist Dana Muse's cloy onstage demeanor, were the exact opposite. Which struck me as amusing in an ironic sort of way considering the grim subject matter of their songs. I mean, how do you not laugh at up-tempo, finger-snapping ditties about abusive relationships, wasting one's life and alcoholism? Lead guitarist Squeaky, on the other hand, was no joke. In opposition to her bandmates, she jumped, kicked and spun circles around them while pulling brisk power licks from a leopard spotted Fender strat on "London Bridges," "Run Girl" and "Makeup". Even D.O.A.'s Joey Shithead took notice, nodding in approval while making his way from the bar to whatever was passing for a "green room".

According to him at least, Randy Rampage has a longstanding warrant in SF, so this was the first time D.O.A. had risked playing the Bay Area in years. And they were easily better than I've seen them in years. Trimmed down to a lean three-piece featuring Shithead on vocals/guitar, The Great Baldini on drums and the aforementioned original bassist, older and newer material from Something Better Change and Hardcore '81 to '02's Win the Battle was plugged away at with equally matched vigor. Joey's crude, West Canadian accented growl, Rampage's feverishly warbling bass and Baldini's steady pummeling inciting a fractious circle pit in spite of the entire security staff's aggressive attempts to quell it. A buzz-bomb version of "The Enemy" and covers of the Ramones' "Blitzkrieg Bop" (dedicated to Dee Dee, Joey and Johnny) and "Fuck You" by fellow Canucks the (Vancouver) Subhumans providing the catalyst for a fierce exchange of blows at the edge of the dancefloor between said goons and a few of us oldschoolers who had had enough of their endless browbeating.


 

All words 2006 Dave Negative
Photo Credits: Snack Trash, snacktrash.com; The Roof Rats, Jessi; 5 Days Dirty, Kyle Torres; The Razorburns, Barb Rocks; D.O.A., modernguitars.com


 

 

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