Pirate Cat Radio

Gig Reviews

Fleshies, The Bar Feeders and Black Elk @ El Rio 8/5/2006

I got to the show in the middle of Black Elk’s set. Those guys RAWK. Man rock. They sounded like Helmet, but a bit slower and with the growling vocals that Amphetamine Reptile Records loved in the 90’s.

BTW, I forgot to bring my camera to the show, and in hindsight I’m very glad I didn’t because it would’ve been smashed up in the pit. I was on a budget, so I brought in a flask and bought a bud. Then a couple of friends bought me drinks.

The Bar Feeders came on and as always they kicked ass. Wyoming, More Beer for the Bar Feeders and other classics by the best drinking punk rock band EVER! Cecil the drummer is in Berlin, but their back up drummer was steller.

They challenged the crowd to do karaoke to a cover and if they weren’t good they would get kicked back into the crowd. Everyone was timid and no one stepped up.

They gave it another try, taunted the audience for not stepping up to the challenge and started playing a punk rock version of “Everybody’s Workin’ For the Weekend” by Loverboy.

I got up onstage…my friends know, but some don’t, when need I to I can harness the power of a demon from deep in my abdomen and HE will cometh….and my true calling is to be a lead singer of a death metal band. I don’t have enough hair, so I settle on DJing. Anyway, I didn’t get kicked off, they let me go the whole song and lots of people patted me on the back. Later in the night the guitarist for The Fleshies even said, ‘dude, you rock’.

By the time The Fleshies came on, Dude, I was drunk. I’ve seen The Fleshies maybe 10 times and the two best shows I’ve seen them do is at El Rio. There’s just a vibe about the place.

If you haven’t seen them, lead singer Johnny Nomonicker loves to stage dive and interact with the crowd through the whole set. I’d hate to be his health insurance provider in ten years.

One funny story, when I saw The Fleshies @ Mighty Ruckus and we were in the pit I found a pair of glasses and grabbed them before anyone stepped on them. I held them in the air and they turned out to be my friend Lester’s from The Yes Gos. Lester was at the El Rio on Saturday. During The Fleshies, my glasses flew off and he grabbed them off the floor before they were stomped on. I know, it freaks me out too. And if he’s a Cancer, then I’m totally going to start believe Astrology isn’t bullshit. No, I’ll still believe that.

As for the venue, I can’t say enough great things about the El Rio. It’s a friendly place…punk rock friendly. And every show is a good vibe.

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Film School live @ Slim’s SF, June 10th, 2006

Film School makes me proud to be a San Franciscan. Their performance last night at Slim’s here in their home city only reinforced that sentiment. The show was the last of a their national tour in support of their self-titled release and the
culminated their national tour in support of their self-titled release by playing at Slim’s

Fellow San Franciscans, Film School returned home from touring nationally (in support of their self-titled release)

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Mutilators, Arnocorps, The Swillerz @ Another Hole in the Head party @ Annie’s June 8, 2006

The Mutilators, Arnocorps and The Swillerz played Annie’s Social Club for the benefit/opening party for Another Hole in the Head, a festival of horror films presented by SF IndieFest.

The Mutilators kicked ass with their horror rockabilly sound. They came on after midnight and unfortunately most of the crowd took off after Arnocorps. Their loss.

With songs like “I Fucked a Zombie” and “Dead Girls Don’t Say No” the few of us that stuck around danced, jigged, and grooved to those sick fucking bastards. I love them.

Arnocorps! I smelled cigar smoke and looked to the stage where three guitarists, a bass player and drummer tuned up as the lead singer waved a flag and started talking in an Austrian accent while smoking a fat stogie.

They gave me a boner from the first song. Very metal sounding and witty banter from all the “Austrians” in between songs about their home country and various rituals. Fucking ROCK!

Towards the end of the set they did a song where they tried to make the whole audience do a running dance and the drummer did a five minute drum solo which completely killed it for me so I drank more beer. By the time they got back to the metal they’d lost most of the crowd.

The first 2/3 of the set was sooo worth it. They’re doing a tour of Europe, but they’re really from, uh, here, so don’t miss them when they come back.

The Swillerz busted out their blue collar drinking songs. Jim, the lead singer, was fighting a cold, so vocally he was hurting, but even with that they still rocked. They just didn’t explode like they usually do live. Still a better set than most bands whose lead singers aren’t fighting colds.




The Swillerz

Another Hole in the Head

Speaking of getting boners, I just realized that using boners for reviews is a very good idea. I’ll do it next time. I think it’ll be:

Flaccid: The band sucked.
Soft-on: The band was alright and blood started flowing to the genital area.
Hard-on: The band rocked and I’m glad I wore loose pants or this would be really embarrassing.
Throbbing Hard-on: Do not ever miss this band and grab tissue from the bathroom before their set because you will make a mess in your pants.

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Billy Childish at the Hemlock April 21, 2006

Billy Childish is the God of garage rock and the Satan of the establishment of corporate artists.

Nick Cave he calls a “professional junkie” and the “establishment’s alternative”. At his solo show Friday, April 21st at the Hemlock he called Tom Waits “Disney’s Howlin’ Wolf”. On that comment the audience guffawed. I guess we’re protective of Tom since he lives in our ‘hood.

When Childish wasn’t throwing his verbal stones at pop artists, he was reading and singing his heart out, a punk rocker whom has aged well and continues to forge out his creativity on his terms. John Lydon looks like a cartoon character in the shadow of Billy and it’s said Billy tried to run him over on his bicycle in the late 70’s when they crossed paths.

Friday night started with him reading poems, one he sang a’cappella. The emotion in his voice is intoxicating. And, knowing his history of being sodomized when he was a kid and his dad kicking the shit out of his mom and him until he started fighting back, makes his autobiographical work all the more touching.

After about an hour of reading he sat at the foot of the stage in front of his wife Julie and people came up to buy books and albums and have Billy sign them. He was gracious to everyone.

Then he pulled out his guitar and sang the blues. During one song he asked his wife to answer back, I forget what the song was, something religious about Jesus. I also noticed he kept his eye on his wife most of the show. If he lost his place or forgot a lyric he’d look at her. And before doing a couple of encores, he’d scurry across the stage to his wife and hang out with her while people still asked for signatures for their books and albums. Watching their interaction was almost as fun as the show itself.

I didn’t recognize most of the songs he sang, and I wish he would’ve played some of his solo guitar covers of Thee Mighty Caesars and Thee Headcoats. He did play two songs from Son House, Grinnin’ in Your Face and John the Revelator (that might be a standard that Son House also covered).

The show was intimate. Billy talked shit about sell out artists, then always came back with a “what do I care, they’re pop stars and I’m not” or something similar. It’s Billy schtick, but everyone ate it up. I have my own thoughts on the matter that don’t necessarily agree with his, but that’s for another article.

My hour interview with Billy will be broadcast on Pirate Cat sometime in June or July.

At the end of the night, he stood and thanked the audience and went to backstage. My wife and I left with the feeling that we had just seen the best show we’ll see this year, of course unless Nick Cave or Tom Waits play San Francisco before December 2006.

Billy reading poetry

Billy and his wife in between sets

Billy singing

Billy singing

Thank you and good night

More info on Billy Childish:

a great article by an excellent writer in the San Francisco Chronicle about Billy Childish

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Blag Dahlia show at Pirate Cat Radio April 22, 2006

When I was a young drinker, I went to see the Dwarves open for L7 at the Kennel club in 1990. I was Djing at KFJC and the Sub Pop record Blood, Guts & Pussy was in heavy rotation.

The Dwarves took the stage, Blag with his long hair, and they fought with the crowd, slamming microphones on people’s heads in the front row and played a little under 15 minutes before destroying the whole stage. I looked on in the distance.

In the bathroom after their set a guy was sitting on the floor trying to regain his composure, blood gushing down the side of his head.

L7 was forgettable after seeing the Dwarves. For the next few years, every time the Dwarves played, whether at the Omni in Oakland or other dives around the Bay Area, I was there. I’ve seen Blag, the lead singer’s, penis more than anyone else I know, except of course for He Who Cannot Be Named, the guitar player and constant penis swinger of the band. They were notorious for playing naked and stage diving in the buck. Crazy ass mo-fos.

About five or six years ago I took my wife to see the Dwarves at the Independent….or was it the Justice League at the time? I can’t remember. While the violence and bottle throwing was minimal, Blag had shaved his head and the band rocked hard.

Now, Blag, still the leader of the Dwarves, is putting together camp counselor type songs, singing solo and playing his own acoustic guitar. He plays some Dwarves songs as well as new stuff he’s putting together.

Blag Dahlia, aka Blag Jesus, aka Blag the Ripper is playing Saturday, June 3rd at Café du Nord for a benefit for the West Memphis Three.

…..and that’s my intro and here’s the shit….

Blag played an acoustic set on my radio show on April 22nd. With a live studio audience, scotch, beer and cameras rolling, Blag busted out songs like “Bitch, I Love You”, “This Jihad” and “Saturday Night”. There were about 12 of us in the studio. It was an amazing intimate experience.

He brought his hot girlfriend from Italy and Terry Zwigoff’s wife who he went to school with….which was funny because I interviewed her husband last week. He was supposed to show up, but didn’t.

Blag, still punker than Satan, even if he’s a gay-ass-acoustic-guitar-folksinger, he sings about the ways of the pussy and fucking and everything you’d expect from the punk as all fuck Blag.

Don’t miss his show @ du Nord. And, I’ll have a few video clips uploaded with this review when I get to it.

Here’s a couple of photos of his performance at Pirate Cat Radio:

Blag tunes his guitar in the hallway outside of Pirate Cat Radio

Blag sings “Fuck so Good”

Blag humors my drunken blubbering, we hugged right after this photo was taken, I will never wash again.

Live studio audience member Sammy after 9 beers and the badest assed acoustic punk show he’s ever witnessed. Hail Satan.

For more information about the Dwarves go to www.thedwarves.com or click on the official Blood, Guts & Pussy girl below (who happens to have her poetry published in the anthology Chemical Lust edited by yours truly).

Big thanks to Jim for helping me with sound check, bringing microphones and keeping me from having my usual mental breakdown whenever I put something like this together.

BTW, Pirate Cat Radio IS THE ONLY place for bands to play, to get the respect they deserve, to not have some smooth talking DJ who doesn’t know who the hell you are, just so long as he can get all his commercial breaks in while he talks to you with notes that his ugly ass intern wrote up for him…..and he bows to the call of Cunt Channel so he can have health insurance and keep paying rent.

Some of us DJs at Pirate Cat are homeless and have no health insurance, but we’ll make sure you rock the San Francisco Bay Area as well as Los Angeles and piratecatradio.com webstream to give you the respect you deserve.

Playing live or doing an interview at Pirate Cat Radio should be the first thing on your agenda. Tell your pants-suit-wearing-cunt-publicist, before you go to Live 105 or whatever other sell-out crapola you have scheduled in San Francisco, return to your indie roots for one hour and get drunk with us, play our studio and you’ll still hit thousands of listeners…….it’s demographics, it’s mathematics, it’s, it’s, it’s the smart corporate decision.

Thanks to Blag for playing Pirate Cat…..I’ll have an mp3 of some of our interview linked here as well at a later time…..and video, i said video right? Give me a week or so to square that away.

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Dead Kennedys at the Fillmore – Money Uber Alles

Joel Selvin, Chronicle Senior Pop Music Critic

Like many bands on the reunion concert circuit these days, when the ’80s San Francisco punk rockers Dead Kennedys take the stage this weekend for the soldout Fab Mab show at the Fillmore Auditorium, the group will be missing one original member — in this case, its best known member, vocalist Jello Biafra.

But the Dead Kennedys without Jello Biafra would be like the Grateful Dead without Jerry Garcia. Wait a minute: They’ve done that, too.

Since the death of the first bandleader, musicians have continued to perform in bands without key members. As the rock ‘n’ roll generation moves into senior citizenship, this inevitability is taking a sharp increase. The announcement that the Cars would do a reunion tour this summer, as the New Cars, has prompted much comment.

Not only is lead vocalist and primary songsmith Ric Ocasek MIA from the tour, but the band will also make do without the service of bassist Benjamin Orr, the only other member to ever sing one the band’s hits (“Drive” and “Just What I Needed”). Orr died of cancer in 2000. In their place, the other two members — quick, name them — have drafted, of all people, Todd Rundgren, who typically made no bones about why he is taking the job.

“So now an opportunity has arisen for me to pay my bills, play to larger audiences, work with musicians I know and like, and ideally to have some fun for a year,” he wrote on his Web site.

Also paying their bills on the road this summer without the signature sound of the band’s original lead vocalists are the Doors — who were stopped from using that name by a lawsuit from the band’s drummer in an unexpected display of integrity — and Queen, who solved the problem of vocalist Freddie Mercury having died from AIDS in 1991 by simply appropriating the lead vocalist from another British rock group of the era, Paul Rodgers of Bad Company.

As the ranks of ’60s rockers thin, fans are being treated to such indignities as half a Who, a Four Tops with only two, an Allman Brother band, a Beach Boys without a Wilson. The Creedence Clearwater Revisited led by the drummer and bass player actually outdraws performances by the band’s original singer, songwriter and bandleader, John Fogerty. The other members of Journey have worked their way through a procession of Steve Perry impersonators.

The surviving members of INXS probably still have mortgages on their Italian villas, and it’s not their fault that vocalist Michael Hutchence’s 1997 death ended their careers prematurely, so they did that dumb reality TV show. Judas Priest replaced that band’s original vocalist with someone from a Judas Priest tribute band, before bringing the original guy back.

The surviving members of the Grateful Dead had the decency to retire the name with the death of the group’s centerpiece, guitarist Jerry Garcia, although after a few years of touring under the unwieldy name of the Other Ones, the musicians decided to reclaim at least a portion of the old name and call themselves the Dead. Just because Garcia went and died shouldn’t mean that the other guys in the band have to give up their not unsplendid livelihood, especially if there are still fans willing to pay to see them.

But the Kennedys is a somewhat different case. With its fiercely independent stance and resolute viewpoint, the band stood for something and mouthy Biafra was its fearless spokesman. Confronting censorship or political issues, he was always frank, pointed and slyly humorous. The other three members could easily be seen as semi-competent instrumental backing to his inspired agitprop ravings. But they won a lawsuit against Biafra in 2000 that has been a sore subject for Biafra since the day it began.

He issued a statement concerning the latest reunion concert. “These are the same greed-mongers who ran to corporate lawyers and sued me for over six years in a dispute sparked by my not wanting ‘Holiday in Cambodia’ sold into a Levi’s commercial,” Biafra wrote. “They now pimp Dead Kennedys in the same spirit as Mike Love suing Brian Wilson over and over again, then turning around and playing shows as the Beach Boys. They despise everything our band ever stood for.

” ‘Money Uber Alles’ is what all these bands used to stand against. Back in Mabuhay days, no one was more upfront about not selling out to Bill Graham than Dead Kennedys and Flipper, especially Will Shatter (RIP). (Another S.F. punk group also appearing in the Fillmore reunion show without a key member.) Now Bill Graham Presents has been swallowed and the name is being used as a front for Clear Channel, as nasty a corporate predator as Fox News and Wal-Mart.”

The Dead Kennedys issued a statement, too: “We’re sick of hearing the tired and baseless claim that the DK lawsuit was motivated by our desire to put music into a commercial. Our record label was stealing royalties from the band! Do we need anymore motivation than that? Are folks just suppose to lie down and let the school bully steal their lunch money? And have you noticed any Dead Kennedys’ music in any commercials lately? Or ever? News Flash: Jello uses rumors and misinformation to cover up his own wrongdoing!”

But to Biafra, this is not a simple betrayal by former associates, but nothing less than a global matter of corporate collusion and capitalistic greed. And that’s why Jello Biafra is still the real deal and, without him, the Dead Kennedys aren’t.

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Junkload and The Swillerz at Kimos April 1, 2006

The Swillerz were the first band to take the stage. Jim, the lead singer belted out the vocals as any punker, but on a couple of songs he surprised me with the range of a Mike Ness or Mark Lanegan type vox, before digging back into his bass and the band blasting their next punk rock chorus.

They were the first band on the bill at Kimo’s on April 1, 2006. At one point in the set, Jim, the lead singer ripped his guitar off his shoulder, during a song that sounded like the Pogues on speed, and ran right into the crowd starting a pit, then jumped back onstage and continued where he left off. It was brilliant.

I said hi to him after the show and he gave me a vacant ‘I’m too drunk to drive home and I might throw up on you’ stare.

Swill they will.

The next band was some moody, woe is me and aren’t we cute with our same haircuts crapola. They were from Atlanta I think and they seemed pretty young, so maybe they were just singing about puberty and their problems soaking their sheets with wet dreams or something. But, hey, they were sandwiched in between two rocking bands and I probably would’ve loved them if they played with Kenny G. I won’t mention their name because I’m being way too hard on them and I hate bitchy rock critics. So, moving on….

Junkload took the stage, and when I say took the stage, they commanded everyone’s attention. Their heavy sound reminds me of Helmet, Cows and an influence of just about every band that ever recorded for Amphetamine Reptile records in the early 90’s. They hit it hard and heavy. Picture going to see Helmet, but with a lead singer who actually knows how to perform. Get this, they don’t have a bass player. It’s just a guitarist and drummer. Some similarities to 400 Blows, I think these guys are going to continue to build an audience fast, so go see them while you can at the small clubs. They’re based in Los Angeles and play San Francisco once in a while.

The Swillerz: myspace.com/theswillers

Junkload: myspace.com/junkload

Swillerz photo taken by Jahmai Castillo

Junkload photo taken by Andrea Markle

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