Off! - Crescent Ballroom - 4/22/2014
Melissa Fossum The Crescent Ballroom got Off! on Tuesday, April 22. See the full slideshow here.
Holy punk rock, Batman!
So, like many of you -- some who have earned it, some who have not -- I am not easily impressed these days. Whether you call it "jaded" or "been there, done that," it really doesn't matter, as long as you call it like you see it, with honesty and conviction. If I can do those things for you, dear reader, it is all good.
So here is what I saw and heard.
Tuesday, April 22, saw Off!, Cerebral Ballzy, and NASA Space Universe bring the awesome sauce to Crescent Ballroom. The cool kids who were there are going to lord this one over you if you weren't, and that's just the way it goes with these types of things. If you sat home and wrote a college paper, for example, you missed out.
The crowd was late arriving, and for the most part, I don't blame y'all because try as they might, the good folks at the Crescent have just not trained us desert folk (yet) that shows can start before 9. If you missed NASA Space Universe (NSU), and many of you did, you missed some seriously good noisy punk rock. Loud, noisy, pissed off, but also eerily thoughtful, they were a kick to the face the crowd was looking for. Fans of bands like Retox, Festival of Dead Deer, and maybe even the Butthole Surfers, will seriously appreciate these guys.
Their drummer, Kevin Hermes, who looked a little like expatriate Valley promoter Will Anderson, drove the band to remarkable peaks and valleys throughout the set as their guitar and bass, masterfully commanded by John Cardwell and Paul Kubacek respectively, drove feedback laden noise to one crescendo after another. Vocalist Kevin Rhea, who I spoke to after they were finished, injured his wrist fairly seriously during the set, but spent most of his time down in the crowd, on one side of the beer fence or the other. Kevin's stream-of-consciousness style vocal attack rarely ceased as NSU rocked through blast after blast of visceral power punk.
It was really cool to see the local crowd of under-21 folk explode from the opening chords of NSU's first song. I turned to my wife and said, "This is going to be a really good show," and luckily for all of us in attendance, I was not wrong. The enthusiasm of the crowd did not wane through the night, although it was a bit odd to watch the amazing goings on near the stage, then turn around and see the bleacher bums sit quietly, and idly, by. I wanted to scream, "Wake up, bleacher-ites, and get your heads in the game. There is history happening here."