Friday, May 31, 2013
Whiplash, Shat, Sardonica, The Unknown and Fever Vein at Dingbatz 5.30.2013
In most ways, Thursday was going to be a totally average day. I got up at 5:30am and went to work. Had a rather average day there, trying to get your local retail store looking spiffy for the weekend rush, writing work lists for the underlings... etc. When I left at four o'clock, I ran to Bagel Boy and grabbed an awesome sandwich (bologna, turkey, mayo, mustard, honey mustard, pepper, lettuce, tomato on a round roll) and an everything bagel with chicken salad for the girlfriend before she left for work. Ate, took a slight snooze and picked up a couple friends to run off to see Whiplash which, I expected, would be you're all too common Whiplash show at their favorite spot, Dingbatz, in Clifton, New Jersey. The bill seemed unremarkable but acceptable. Opener Fever Vein began in average local metal quality. Their set was a mix of Pantera simplicity, and a decent vocalist with a hardcore vocal style. Their bassist was the highlight for me.
We left after a couple songs to catch some food - again - at Dingbatz accompanying bar across the street. Dingo's Den is a place everyone should stop in should you find yourself at Dingbatz. The place is full of eye candy decor and really fills up when shows are going on. Often you'll find a row of motorcycles out front. Their bar-pies are quite delicious though I would stay away from the hotdogs. My chilli cheese dog was not the finest I've had. The Acheron in brooklyn still claims the blue ribbon for "Best Hot Dog at a venue" with their wiener over rajas covered in all sorts of flavorings and goodies. Either way though, there are few locales in the Garden State where a you can go to a rock bar and not get looked at sideways with glaring eyes for putting on metal on a jukebox. Then again, the only place local I go never experienced anything but an unending playlist of Judas Priest, early Fates Warning, Queensryche and Napalm Death while everyone other than my immediate company was trying to hit on chicks and slam back bro-drinks while fist pumping to Kyesha.
We missed The Unknown while scarfing down food but Sardonica was, at least for me, an enjoyable band to watch. Their overt 70's British Punk influence is about as obvious as the need for their bassist, Ron - who you all met briefly in my Whiplash interview a few months back - to get preventative shots for sweating. In the fight for perspiration dominance there is are those that sweat and there are those that simply have no equals. I think there is a three-way tie between Ron, Jesse Bartlett of Penetration and my father doing yard work. Either way Sardonica's set was fun to watch. "Bombscare" was notable for it's blatant The Clash influences and "Fuck Me" was a good crowd participation track. They probably had no real place being on the bill of course being a punk band but I don't think anyone really cared about that. Jose Mangin from Sirius XM was DJ and giving out free shit, beers were cheap, and everyone seemed to be related to Tony Portaro. It felt like a locals only show. I wouldn't be surprised if this was literally nothing but a family function and there didn't seem to be any regulars of metal shows there.
So up until this moment, the night had been everything I expected it to be and my Thursday was still feeling pretty non-exciting. Then Shat:
I had no idea what the band was, who they were, why their disc had fifty tracks about pussy, tits and fucking all aspects of someone's family. My questions were answered immediately as three mostly naked fat dudes and a fourth skinny member all climbed onto stage. You really can't help but laugh, smile and cry when the front man of the band you're watching has sixteen dildos attached to all parts of his bare body and the strap-on he's wearing only covers his penis and leaves his testicles freely visible to everyone. There are no words. Their songs were short, stupid parodies of known melodies such as "Old McDonald Had a Farm" with songs with conspicuous titles like "Blue Balls" and "Show Me Your Tits," which somehow elicited a pair of decent knockers from someone who's probably shown her breasts in public before. Their set was topped off when vocalist and ball-tickler - at least he was during "Crabs," a song about getting, obviously, the little pincers from a hooker or your grandma or something - Jeff Wood stood in the middle of a circular ring of air hoses connected to an air compressor operated by their 'security' man behind stage that blew a large amount of smoky compressed air in a mock-tornado around the blubbery shameless man. Good fun. Go see them if you're over 18 years old. They do the whole Gwar thing way better than Gwar. Best band of the night for some reason.
Whiplash were great after they figured their sound out which, sadly was halfway through their set. The first song which had distinguishable parts was Insult to Injury. Opener "Last Man Alive" as well as "Spit On Your Grave", "Killing On Monroe Street", "Stagedive" and "Red Bomb" all sounded awful. Also hampered was their newly debuted track called "Sword Meets Skull, Skull Meets Sword," which is off their forthcoming album "Old school American Way." The track was actually really good though and I can say that I'm looking forward to the album. Luckily, "Burning Of Atlanta", "Walk The Plank", "Power Thrashing Death" and "Nailed To The Cross" all sound really good.
Also of interest was a bit of spoken banter before "Red Bomb" which Tony Portaro (52) said he wrote when he was seventeen years old. Math proves* that he would have written "Red Bomb" in 1978 if this were the case. This would be the first Thrash song of all time if he can prove it with some recorded demos from that period or some proof otherwise of it's existence. There's also the case that he was just shooting the piss and he wrote it when he was twenty four in 1984 when Whiplash was actually formed. There's a good chance the song was written a bit before but 1978 would be an incredible span of time between writing a song and using it in a band. It's not unheard of however. When I joined Arctic Flame, guitarist Don Dioro told me and showed me video of him playing Steel Angel with his band in 1991, a full fifteen years before the song found it's way to a release. If true about the existence of "Red Bomb" in 1978 / 1979, then Tony Portaro is the most unacknowledged metal musician in the world and New Jersey should be hailed as the cradle of thrash with Whiplash and early birds Overkill also hailing from the 47th smallest state in the country.
* Thanks to Tobestius for pointing this out mid-show. I can always count on you to mathematically calculate random information in the middle of a band's set.