Voodoo Glow Skulls / Buck-o-Nine / The Porkers / Guilty By Association / Light 'Em Up @Backstage Bar & Billiards
Written by GE 138.
The parking lot directly behind Triple B's was near capacity by the time Erika and I got Downtown. I mean, we literally got one of the last three parking spots available in the parking lot, and as we were walking towards the backdoor of the venue we heard numerous people complaining to the attendant that there was no place to park and that they wanted their money back. Suckers. When we got to the sidewalk there was a line of people all queued up standing around going nowhere fast, so we decided to head over to Flippin' Good Burgers for a quick grub sesh, where we ran into Carlos S.F.T. and his lovely wife Christy. We chatted with them for a bit before getting our grub on, and after that we headed back to Triple B's to find that the line was still not moving, WTF? Something didn't seem right, and after debating whether to stand in line to wait to get into a gig to only see 1 band on the bill play, I noticed the people standing in line were a little better dressed and a little better smelling than the usual Voodoo Glow Skulls crowd, and that's when I saw someone cut through the line to go directly into Backstage Bar & Billiards, so we crossed the street and did the same, just in time to hear Guilty By Association playing on stage. Turns out that the reason there was a line was because some comedian Hannibal Buress holding court next door at Fremont Country Club, and that's what people were waiting in line for, not the VGS gig.
As quickly as I could I made my way through the throng of people just standing around looking bored in the back of the venue, heading towards the front of the stage where the action was, Erika in tow, and I only tripped once over someone's feet while doing so. GBA was in the middle of one of their patented fast paced high energy set of tunes, and the faithful in the crowd were jumping and slamming around and fist pumping and singing along to everything Mike was screaming / growling / barking into the microphone. Mike's the consummate pro frontman, and he has a way of charming a crowd into doing his bidding, beer bottle in hand. He did his thing as Bobby and Craig riffed and noodled away behind him, and Craig and David paced it all and kept the bottom end popping and the people moving. They played songs from all their releases; American Decay, Coming Home, and the crowd was digging it big time. Love that they get the response that they do. I never get to see it when I'm behind the kit, so it's kind of cool to watch. Circle pit action was heavy throughout their set and when the band was done playing the applause was well deserved. Guilty By Association always brings it, 100% every time, and this night was no exception. Good stuff.
My camera was acting up during GBA's set, making the process of taking pictures during their set difficult. I tried fucking with my camera while the guys in The Porkers were setting up, but whatever was wrong with my camera was only getting worse, so I didn't take too many pictures of The Porkers while they played, but that didn't matter, because I was so busy watching the band that I didn't really wanna focus on taking pictures of them. They were soooooooooo good! They were energetic, had a great classic Ska sound, top level musicianship all around, and their front man put on one hell of a show. He was engaging, personable, unreserved, and charismatic. It was like you were drawn to him, forced to watch him and what he was doing. The other guys in The Porkers were no slouches, but the bass player had major problems the first few songs of their set, which kind of killed things a bit, but the guitarist, the horn players, and everyone else on the stage were all jumping around and rocking out like Ska players tend to do, and the drummer is that guy who does those 5 minute band career mashup videos on YouTube, for what it's worth. He was really good. The energy in the room was electric, and the crowd was digging the shit out of the band. People were skanking around, just happy and smiling, and The Porkers made it all happen. As if there was any other way to end the set, the band did an Elvis Presley cover, complete with the singer from The Porkers hamming it up and acting like the King himself, posing and posturing it up big time for Burning Love. Yeah, never actually saw The Porkers before (they were background music at some Ska festival I went to years ago) but man, I gotta say, they impressed the ever loving shit out of me with this performance. Gawd damn they were good. I made a beeline after the gig to buy every bit of merch I could get my grubby hands on. I even contributed to the "We like weed" jar on the merch table. ;) The Porkers. Great stuff.
I can only imagine that somewhere in the world there is a huge vacuum strong enough to suck all the energy and good feelings out of a room, and if that vacuum were to have a name, it would be called Buck-O-Nine. Peeeeeeeee-yuuuuuuuuuuwww did they stink!!! I've seen them before and they were OK, but tonight was just not their night, probably because of the crowd though. I stood around embarrassed and horrified watching the crowd of Bro Hymn types put on a testosterone laced display of drunken stupidity, only highlighted by the shitty OPIV and Clash covers the band was mixing in with their original milquetoast tunes. Ugh. They couldn't end quick enough for me, as I was bored to tears during Buck-O-Nine's set. Mediocrity at it's finest. Phooey.
Thank Gawd for the Voodoo Glow Skulls. I can honestly say that I've never seen them play a bad show, no matter how stoned or drunk they were, and I've been seeing them play for well over 25 years now, and tonight was no exception. Sure, Frank's voice is a little rougher, and no drummer ever will be able to fill up Jerry's drunken Vans behind the drum kit, but still, all these years later, they're still fucking phenomenal. Jorge and Eddie are still one of the tightest musical duos you're ever gonna see, and their bass and guitar riffs are what keep the band popping, even after all these years. After clearing the room up of the stink the earlier band filled it up with, the Voodoo Glow Skulls then put on a dazzling display of musicianship that blew everyone else that played before them right off the stage. It was the shit. They may be a bit older and fatter and covered in more tattoos, but the Voodoo Glow Skulls can still bring it anytime they want to, and tonight they brought it. They played all sorts of songs from all throughout their career, Closet Monster, The Band Geek Mafia, Thrift Shop Junkie, Insubordination, etc., and they all sounded great, and the crowd ate up every fucking bit of it, with lots of singing and jumping and skanking and slamming around, with lots of people slipping and sliding in the 1/2" thick layer of beer that was spilled all over the concrete floor of Triple B's. It made for fun people watching, that's for sure. My camera wasn't working for shit, the battery was dead, so I didn't get any pix of Voodoo in action, but that's OK, because I had more fun watching the gig than trying to document it. The band raged on, and when Charlie Brown came around on the setlist, Frank dedicated it to the late great Gabby Gaborno from the Cadillac Tramps, because he said Gabby told him he loved that tune the way they did it, and after a few more songs the Voodoo Glow Skulls called it a night. Nobody left disappointed, that's for sure. It was all chaos and confusion after the gig, and Erika and I made a beeline to the car to get the fuck out of there to head over to Scarlet for their Sisters Of Mercy tribute night. ;)
To see more Pictures of Guilty By Association, please click here. To see more Pictures of The Porkers please click here. Thank you drive through...