THE MUTANTS @ CAFE DUNORD
by Gordon Zola

mutants

A great Saturday night I thought I was just gonna finish mopping the cheese floor and go home on Saturday night. I had wanted to go to Bombshell but [info]ginoushka told me it would end around 9:30 and I wasnít getting off until around 9:15.  Gary Fembot had e-mailed earlier about a mysterious Mutants reunion show,  but I wasnít even sure it was that night. He hadnít called back and the info was murky and mysterious. Like the cheese floor when the mats are removed.

Then Ms. Fembot called. I was tired and looking for excuses to not go out but I had none when I found out the Mutants were playing at Du Nord, all of two blocks from my house. And Sally was performing too. She was missing at their first reunion show. My first chance to see the whole band since 1984.

Before last night I might have equivocated about this, but Iíll say it now. The Mutants are one of the most underrated bands in the entire history of punk. They were from before the uber-masculinization of the scene, when it was full of women and commies and queers. Theyíre í79 art punk, the kind that got watered down to make so much bad new wave a few years later, but they were the real thing. Musical and catchy but loud and snotty too. Obliquely political and not didactic. Every show an event.  Fun punk not dour backpack punk. Costumes!

Like the last reunion, it was an old crowd. The Mutants are the only band that can make me feel like a kid again. The "pit" moved slowly. The pogoing had a little less lift. There was no violence because all the morons from back then are sober, dead, in jail, or have replacement hips.  The Mutants have no new fans; I would guess that 90% of the people there had seen them back in the day. And since that day was a long time ago there was a lot of gray hair thrashing around. Also, I think Bonnie Hayes ordered a drink over my shoulder while I was sitting at the bar.

Over the life of my LJ, a few folks have referred to me as "old school" punk. I have always denied this, and I wish you folks could have been at this show. Man, I knew almost no one and they all knew each other.  Hell, half of them could shop at our store and Iíd never recognize them. They were also all going nuts and having fun.

I love seeing bands when I know all the songs. And geez, Iíve been listening to these songs for over 20 years. If The Mutants had played continuously, Iím sure I would have been bored of them by now. Or mad about some sell-out album that they would have made in 1994 or something.  But because no one had been playing these songs for 20 years they all sounded fresh again. And unlike the last show, the singers dressed up for this show. Suits! Polka dots! Big spiky hair!

They only downer was the announcement of a show they are playing at the Fillmore in April: The Mutants, Avengers, Flipper, and Dead Kennedys. I donít know if itís sad or an abomination. I mean without the DKs I might
have gone because, for one thing, it wouldnít be at the Fillmore. But supporting the DKs without Jello is just wrong. I donít care what he did (or didnít do) or if people think heís a jerk (and heís never been anything but nice to me). If Jello had never been in the Dead Kennedys, they would be about as memorable as No Sisters.*

Who?

Exactly.

 

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