Thursday February 22nd 2018

Electric Street Queens / DNZL / Jerry’s Got Jokes / Color Killer / Blame It On Whitman!


Electric Street Queens / DNZL / Jerry’s Got Jokes / Color Killer / Blame It On Whitman!
Midway Cafe, Jamaica Plain, MA     1/21/18


My boss, editor-in-chief, Andy Bang, has made it quite clear that the goal of TNB this year is explicit. We need to cover the new acts, the new bands, the ones who are one step away from being on the Hit Parade instead of the Hip Charade (those are the indi charts.)

So no longer will we waste our time on the old, punk retreads- we’re moving on into the future before it arrives, dragging the unaware of us into a new musical Garden Of Eden.

Just don’t bite into the apple, whatever you do!

Blame It On Whitman! is the first band and they’ve just arrived, through caesarean section, in the last six months. They grew out of the loose, ska/punk band Jumper! but this band is super tight with jazz elements, an excellent drummer and a bassist who plays high chords.

When they punk out, I really like them, but when they get a bit fancy they stray away from my tastes.

But this is adventurous punk and if that’s what you’re looking for, than this band will probably be for you.

Up next is a band I’ve seen once before and described as “definitely having roadies,” as they are surely, too small to move their own equipment.

From out west towards the Worcester area comes Color Killer which is a trio of a bunch of guys with day-glo colored hair who happen to be eight, ten and twelve years old.

They play mostly covers of classic punk/hardcore songs like “American Idiot” and “Holiday In Cambodia” and do a superb job. I’ve certainly seen bands of much older guys play not as well.

They have some young fans but the whole crowd really appreciates them, as they should. I’d say those waiting for a new Bar Room Heroes may have just got their wish.

Jerry’s Got Jokes is a brand new ska/punk band that Dennis, who sang and played guitar in Jumper!- here plays trombone. Truth be told, ska/punk like Celtic/punk are genres that usually, don’t cause me to secrete (get excited) but this band is onto something else.

They have so much energy generating from the stage that they would never be confused with some slick, two-tone ska blandness.

With the swinging rhythm section and loose, rock’n’roll feel- they sound more like The Rolling Stones around “Exile On Main Street.” And I think that’s a big compliment indeed.

I’d rather call this band ska/hardcore or maybe, ska/rock’n’roll- because there’s so much energy exploding from these cats that it causes this dog to howl at the moon. Great set and I eagerly await some recordings.

Now DNZL is next. (I finally learn it’s a reference to Denzel Washington.) And this is a brand new band whose first awesome release I just reviewed. Now this is a band I envision playing The Tops Of The Pops someday. (Editors note: That British pop music show existed from January 1964 to July 2006.)

I recognize their great guitar player, John, from the old, great, punk band Tensor and the talented bassist from the now, on hold Dots Rats. I do not know the excellent drummer but I do know Mel, the terrific front man, who paces the pit like a punk panther.

They have a style that could be loosely grouped under hardcore/metal but this is not the typical band that falls into that category.

Lots of the metal/progressive sounds in the rhythm section are coupled nicely with the more hardcore/punk style of the guitarist and singer. This cumulates into a passionate, driving whole.

And their set is definitely better than their first recording, which is always a good sign of things to come. Their set is ferocious and powerful and I can’t wait to see them again.

Electric Street Queen is the last band and though I love ’em and reviewed ’em. I must admit they’re not a punk band.

They describe themselves as “Strut Rock” and though I think that’s a perfect description- I can just see you going WTF?

But maybe when I tell you their humorous, but potent, caricature of Seventies rock sounds, and looks like, Pat Benatar fronting Black Sabbath- Well, then that description might take hold.

Fronted by Coco-A-Go-Go who looks well under five feet tall, a female drummer and two lanky, string slingers with long black wigs- these boys and girls leave no doubt that they are here to rock’n’roll!

There’s a bunch of small kids around the front of the stage, members of Color Killer and their friends, who are quite enchanted with Coco’s lively, emphatic performance.

But when they play the song “Hot Cream (Every Woman’s Dream)”- I’m quite sure, as I hope- that the kids have no clue, what she’s singin about.

But ESQ’s takes the bombastic fun and power of seventies style rock and runs with it, ending this day with a slightly, surreal but more than enjoyable day.

So maybe my hopes of discovering the next big thing needs to be “put on hold.” And maybe my dream of TNB becoming the Rolling Stone of a new generation, needs to be re-evaluated. Maybe Andy’s and I mental status needs to be re-evaluated, as well.

But there was a lot of punk that happened here today and a lot of passion, too. Certainly a lot of good music with good people which spells out fun and enjoyment to me.


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