August 13, 2010: The Zeros / The Rip Offs / The Lords Of Altamont / Muck And The Mires @ The LVCS
"Come with me and have some FUN!" I told Jessica, a precious dear friend I had recently rediscovered a while back on Facebook, of course. . "Everything is taken care of - all we gotta do is show up!" It was days before the kick off date of the Las Vegas Shake Down festival and I was trying to get her to come with me to this gig. Why she was reluctant to go I have no idea. Bands galore all weekend. Booze everywhere. I know she likes that sort of stuff. I know I like that sort of stuff. Seemed like a perfect match! ;-) Yup! The monumental day had finally arrived - the Return of the Rip Offs and the Zeros and Day 1 of a weekend full of shenanigans. Hopefully. Woo Hoo! After picking her up I made a bee line straight downtown, fighting afternoon work hour traffic, park, walk, and sit in front of Hennessey's Pub, enjoying over-sized glasses of Guinness and people watching while waiting for Roxie to get us in.
I'm sitting there in mid-conversation with Jessica when I hear someone calling my name. I look up to see this group of shady looking hoods staring at me, and right about the time that I'm figuring out which one I'm gonna hit first, I recognize the face - it's Shane White and his Brother Jason! hahaha The Rip Offs in the flesh! They quickly sit down, introductions are made, and we catch up with each other and chat like it hasn't been over 15 years since we last hung out. It was while we were sitting there bullshitting that Roxie showed up, put our names on the Guest List, and after saying our Goodbye's to the boys in the Rip Offs Jessica and I headed upstairs to the LVCS to get this shindig into second gear. It was time to face the Music.
I almost wished that I had stayed downstairs at Hennessey's. The opening bands were terrible. I couldn't tell the Slippery Slopes from the Omen from Thee Fine Lines. Every band sounded like the Sonics or the Seeds or the Monks or a variation thereof - predictable dated banality. I didn't see the appeal in any of it, but a few people did. Decent turnout. Good vibe. Honorable mention to Muck And The Mires for standing out a bit above everyone else, with an obscure cover of some song that my Dad used to listen to. Couldn't tell you what it was. I was shooting Patron with both fists and bored to tears. All these bands sucked! When were the good bands going to play, dammit? I was almost tempted to trollop over to the Beauty Bar, but the word coming back from more than a few people who were over there kept me from leaving the safe confines of the LVCS. Of course the Hangmen sucked - They have for years! Electric Frankenstein sucking wasn't a surprise either, as they did the past few times I've seen them. What happened to those bands? Damn. By the time I got back to the LVCS there was a blonde bimbo gyrating away on the stage - Modern day Burlesque I believe they call it, and the Lords Of Altamont were setting up their gear. Fuck me running, I could not catch a break today! LOL I have never understood the appeal of the Lords Of Altamont. Fuck. Once they started to play I wanted to kill myself. The band comes across to me as so... fake? I dunno, but I don't dig it at all. The Lords Of Altamont added to the boringness of their music by having some slutty chicks attempting to go-go dance on stage while the band played. Somebody should of told those chicks that go-go dancing is a little bit more than squeezing your tits together and raising your arms above your head like an orangutan. Just pathetic. I wanted to hear some good music, and I wasn't getting any. There's nothing worse than being drunk and wanting to hear some good music and not getting it. I was in Hell. Somebody save me.
My suffering was about to pay off. The Lords Of Altamont finished stinking up the place, and as people were leaving I queued up to the front of the stage, directly in front of the barriers that had been erected there (WHAT?), and waited for the Rip Offs to begin. Didn't take long for the band to set up their gear and go off stage to re-emerge with their rapists hoods on and ready to rock! 'We're gonna be like an atomic bomb exploding - We're gonna clear this place out! hahaha' Shane White had told me earlier, and although I was secretly hoping he was right, on the other hand I was hoping he was wrong, because I knew I couldn't be the only one who was a fan of the Rip Offs smarmy, limited musicianship, glorious garage based noise not music, I just knew I couldn't be. I'm glad to say I wasn't alone in that thought, because the place was packed. I was standing next to some girl who said she flew in from somewhere in Italy just to see the Rip Offs, and I kinda wanted to believe her, because I heard a similar story from some guy earlier, who said he flew in from somewhere in England just to see the Rip Offs, and some guy supposedly from Ireland somewhere had a similar story. So what's the appeal, you ask? Oh gee, I dunno, how about some REAL PUNK ROCK PLAYED BY 4 GUYS WHO COULD GIVE A SHIT LESS IF YOU LIKE IT OR NOT? hahaha That attitude has always worked for me! So as soon as the band takes the stage, the abuse starts. And by starts I mean it pours down upon the stage like a landslide, just as deadly and just as frightening to see. People are calling them names, throwing drinks at them, spitting on them, hurling beer cans and bottles at their heads, flipping them off, throwing handfuls of change at them and generally any thing you can think of doing to let a band know that you don't like them or their music is being directed at the band, but instead of recoiling in horror and running back to the safety of the back stage area, like most bands would do, the Rip Offs encourage it, nay, they DEMAND it! Damn if I don't believe that the are reveling in it, encouraging more stuff to be thrown, getting on the mic and insulting everyone and their girlfriends, scrounging for drugs, belittling each others Mothers, and when this gets boring they start to play. Opening song: Heat Seeker. Of course. And this is when the Insanity truly begins. For those of us not used to hearing the Rip Offs play through such a kick ass PA as the one they have at the LVCS, it is fucking Heavenly! LOL It's Raw, it's Raunchy, it's Angry, it's Sloppy, it's LOUD, it's everything kick ass Punk Rock And Roll music is supposed to be, and everyone in the place is loving every second of it. The projectile objects are flying in from everywhere, and the Rip Offs are dodging them like they're used to it, which in a way, they kind of are! LOL It wasn't the Purple Onion, but it was close! The band is running through the songs at a quick pace, only stopping in between numbers to insult everyone's musical taste and call everyone in the audience pussies. They're pretty much running through The Rip Offs Got A Record in playing order (Heat Seeker / Rip Your Heart Out / Fed Up / Cops) and sounding fanfuckingtastic while they're doing it. I'm torn between just rocking the fuck out like everybody else is and taking photos, so I end up doing both while trying to keep from getting spit on by the crowd. 'We're kind of like the anti-Lords Of Altamont" Greg cracked from the stage, and I couldn't agree with him more. This music was good, and the show was far from boring. People were howling out song titles for the band to play, but the band wasn't having anything to do with that. "We're making $300 a song right now, about $20 a second, so we'll play what we want, you fucking idiots." Shane tells the crowd, and the abuse just gets piled on and on and on even worse than it already was before. When abusing the crowd gets boring, they turn to abusing each other, like when Greg cracked an empty beer bottle over Shane's head for no apparent reason whatsoever. Punk as Fuck. Once they start playing stuff from their handful of classic 7" (Can I Come Over / Now I Know It's You / Leave You Cold / Sleeparound) the audience goes into full moving mode. People are either dancing with reckless abandon and spazzing out to the music, or they are hurling anything an everything imaginable in the bands direction, and spewing verbal diarrhea at every given opportunity, which is often. The best part was hearing it in so many different languages - French, Spanish and I think Italians were all around me and talking shit to the band - where they would mix up 1 English word in with what they were saying, like Blah blah blah blah you fuckeeeeennng Puu-sseeey! Or Blah blah blah you Fagg-eeeeeets! LOL It wouldn't be a Rip Offs set without technical troubles galore and fucked up starts to a few of the songs, but even that didn't deter the band from absolutely wrecking the place. The Promoter was frantically losing his mind side stage, telling the band to turn down and to stop encouraging people to throw things or else he was gonna pull the plug on the set and what do you think the band did? Yup. They turned their shit up even louder and told the crowd to throw more shit, and, of course, they did. The Promoter never pulled the plug on the band though, and the Rip Offs finished their set to a thunderous amount of bloodcurdling screams, jeers and cheers. They came back out for an encore and did Baby Let's Go, Make Up Your Mind and She Said Yeah and that was it. The set was done. The Rip Offs played one of the most amazing sets of Punk Rock debauchery I have ever witnessed, one that I will never forget (Thanks to the magic of YouTube!) and if you missed out on this epic performance just kill yourself now. So fucking awesome. The LVCS stage looked like a war zone. Watching the Sound man come out after the set to assess the damage done to his microphones and stage monitors, almost crying with rage at what had been done to them, and the crowd heckling him and calling him a pussy... Priceless!!! hahahahaha
It wasn't that the Zeros sucked, because God knows, they don't, but they just didn't stand a chance of comparing or competing with what the Rip Offs had done before they stepped on the stage. If they would of went on before them, it might of been a different story, but as it was, the Zeros still did an amazing job of rocking the fuck out of the place - it was just in a different, old school Rock N Roll kind of way. Armed with the incredible musical genius that is Javier Escovedo, the Zeros delivered a set that was a lesson on Coolness delivered by one of the Best ! Mr. Escovedo look muy suavecito in his suit while sporting a yellow Les Paul Special, conjuring up memories of Johnny Thunders, and the way he was hammering those slide riffs in the bands opening song Pipeline, it was easy to see how Mr. Thunders had influenced his playing. Actually, Javier was the only one I recognized from seeing the Zeros in days of yore. I mean, I recognized his little brother Mario, who was plays for the Dragons tomorrow, but the others? Kind of? Maybe? I don't know. I think it was the original dudes, but I'm not quite sure. My intoxication level wasn't helping my thinking process. It's been many many moons since I've seen the Zeros - much too long. Tonight's set from the band was fucking non-stop energy from Note 1, full of the most impressive songs ever written, pleasant examples of supreme musical talent, when song craftsmanship and structure was the rule of the land way back when. The bands straight ahead Punk Rock Glam 60's style of music sounded sooooooooooo good live, in the element that it can be most appreciated in, and even though my body was beat up and almost non-functional from jumping around during the Rip Offs set, I still managed to pogo around a bit during songs like Hand Grenade Heart, They Say Everything, Wild Weekend and Getting Nowhere Fast. Gawd Damn was it fucking amazing hearing these songs again. Even the covers they played sounded Godhead! (The Standells Good Guys Don't Wear White and the New York Dolls Chatterbox) The band was just right on fucking point, and despite the lateness of the hour, the Zeros still managed to deliver one Hell of a performance, from start to finish. It was like watching Masters at Work, like watching Da Vinci paint the Sistine Chapel, or Michelangelo paint the Mona Lisa. The Zeros were the perfect ending to Day One of the Shakedown, summoning up everything that Rock and Roll, and this festival, were all about - the Attitude, the Spirit, and the Love of the Music. Gawd Damn was this gig brilliant. Just. Fucking Brilliant. Wow!!!! Epic Night - Bring on Day Two!!
For more Pictures of the Zeros, please click here. For more Pictures of the Rip Offs, please click here.
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