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HorrorPops – [Live]

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Saturday, 16 February 2008

When I walked into Slim's on Friday evening, it would have been far too easy to become jaded. The average age of the crowd had to be no more than 18, and looking around it felt more like I was in Hot Topic at some mall in Middle America, rather than a Rockabilly show. I guess that surprised me because at the last Rockabilly show I checked out the average age was probably 20 years older, not to mention the fact that most of the "Rockabilly types" were ex-punks and bikers, and not a bunch of kids who may or may not have still been in High School. As I walked up to the bar and scanned the scene for someone even close to my age, I realized that it was probably not going to happen, and rather than become a bitter old man with a "holier than thou" attitude, I promised myself I was going to lighten up a bit, order a beer and keep an open mind for a change.

When Rocket, a 5-piece all-girl band walked onto the stage, my first thought was that this was going to be a long evening. I then remembered the promise I had made to myself and decided that I need to give this band a chance, and I'm glad I did, because Rocket pretty much rocked. Hailing from So. Cal, these girls were pure bubble-gum pop, and they made absolutely no apologies for it. Kind of sounding like The Go-Go's meets T. Rex meets Saturday morning cartoons, Rocket delivered 30 minutes of pure entertainment, and won me over while owning both the stage and the crowd. Singer Lauren Rocket has the perfect sugar-coated voice to front this band, while guitarists Lauren C. Rocket and Kelly Rocket, bassist Kristen Rocket and drummer Roxie Rocket showed they all have quite a bit of talent, and together they were much more than 5 pretty faces up there. Now this music is normally not me cup of tea, so I cannot give the reader the names of any songs they preformed, other than a pretty rocking little version of Billy Joel's "We didn't Start The Fire." I'm willing to bet that over half the audience was not even born when this song was first released. Hell, none of the girls in Rocket may have been born yet! At any rate, much props to them, and I can think of more than a few all-male bands that can't rock it like Rocket did.

Up next were The Pink Spiders, a 3-piece hailing from Nashville, Tennessee. Sounding like a cross between Weezer and The Buzzcocks, The Pink Spiders delivered a pretty solid set of "pop-punk" with their catchy grooves and melodic vocals. Guitarist / vocalist Matt Friction was a pretty entertaining front man, and his constant energy really kept the band’s music going. Bassist Jon Decious was constantly prancing around the stage, and surprisingly his Paul Weller inspired mullet seemed to fit right in with the band’s image and sound. Drummer Bob Ferrari was not quite as animated however, and just sat behind his kit smoking cigarettes and flipping off the crowd for laughs, all while never missing a beat. Together the three of them (along with an additional guitarist) put on a brief but entertaining set, highlighted by a rollicking version of The Undertones’ "Teenage Kicks." The Pink Spiders are a band to watch out for in the future.

After a fairly brief changeover, HorrorPops finally hit the stage and immediately got the up-until-then stagnant crowd moving. They may be Psychobilly "light," but this band definitely know how to entertain. Led by their towering singer and stand-up bassist Patricia Day, H-Pops, which are completed by Patricia's husband/guitarist Kim Nekroman and drummer Henrik Niedermeier, opened with "Freaks In Uniforms," and never looked back—they had the sold-out crowd wrapped around their little fingers from the word “go.” As if the three of them were not enough, two wedding-gown clad singers/ go-go dancers were dancing up a storm on either side of the stage, and really brought this band to life with their props, which ranged from heart-shaped pillows to geisha fans. Although they were touring in support of their just-released album Kiss Kiss, Kill Kill, the Pops really mixed up their set list, and played equal amounts from their previous work. New songs "MissFit" (during which Patricia had the crowd singing the Madness-inspired line of "My fist, In The Middle of Your Face), "Heading for the Disco" and "Boot2Boot" sounded great, while "Drama Queen," "Baby Lou Tattoo" (which was highlighted by some pretty awesome guitar work from Nekroman) and "Undefeated" showed that they haven't forgotten the sound that brought them to were they are today. A shredding version of "Private Hall of Shame" brought the evening to a close.

As I walked home after the show and reflected about the three bands I had just seen, I realized that this show was much better than I was expecting, and that sometimes it pays to have an open mind!

More on HorrorPops here: www.myspace.com/theHorrorPops
More on The Pink Spiders here: www.thepinkspiders.com
More on Rocket here: www.rocketrocks.com

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