Saturday August 19th 2017

Electric Street Queens / Loser’s Circle / Whoopi Sticks / Exit Academy / Blame It On Whitman


Electric Street Queens / Loser’s Circle / Whoopi Sticks / Exit Academy / Blame It On Whitman
Midway Cafe, Jamaica Plain, MA          7/1/17


I’m here again at the Midway. Yes, I know, you know, I’m always here. Yes, it’s true, you know. I live in the basement. Yes, it’s true. It gets cold in the winter in the basement when the heat shuts off. Late at night, I wrap myself around the water heater to keep warm.

Occasionally, I venture off from my comforts of home, but I’m not gone for long. And I’m gonna see two shows here today.

Blame It On Whitman is the first band and consists of two-thirds of Jumper! With Dennis, Jumpers’ bass player, now playing trombone in a ska band.

This is their first performance and this is a band, not afraid to change it up.

They have a funk song that breaks into a jazz waltz, that is actually great. And they have a song called “Mushrooms.”

Hey, Andy and I are well aware a lot of you folks do weed and mushrooms, while we only drink and mainline viagra. But seriously, please refrain from the harder stuff- a lot of the folks who we used to attend shows in the eighties with, ain’t here anymore and we sure would like to see, all of you at the next show.

My favorite song by them starts with the lyrics, “I’m dumb,” but this is a pretty smart, pretty neat new band and I must add, I gotta lot of people telling me how much they enjoyed this band today.

Exit Academy is next and they used to be known as Noisebreaker. And they used to be quite the wild and outlandish band. Actually, the strangest band I know.

Now, thank goodness, that’s all changed- only kidding, they’re still as bizarre as before.

They’re a trio but it seems like the bassist wanted to play guitar. So now it’s two guitars and a drummer.

The bassist has always worn a dress on stage, but today he’s the only one without one. Today’s he dressed in leopard skin shirt and pants and with his long, curly locks, could pass easily for a member of the original Alice Cooper band.

The drummer’s in a leopard skin dress and the singer/guitarist is sporting a plaid skirt with a smiley face painted on his bald head and the word “love” sprawled on his chest in magic marker. 

The singer’s voice reminds me a bit of Gordon Gano, from The Violent Femmes, and many of their songs start out slow and conventional only to end up with the singer having a nervous breakdown while the instruments inflict more mental harm upon his wounded psyche.

My favorite selection by them today is a cover of “Sugar Sugar” by The Archies, done as if Lou Reed had the good sense to cover it. They add the ominous line to this bubblegum pop classic, “I’ve given up hope and I’m ready to die,” before lurching back into the sugary goodness of the song.

I’m not ready to die but I’ve probably given up hope of ever witnessing a set so strange and awesome as this one.

Whoopi Sticks are up. Singer/ Songwriter/ Drummer/ Conceptualist Lindsey’s real parents are here today (though she’s my punk daughter) and, after the last set, I feel the last strand I have of connecting with reality, slowly slipping away.

They start their set with their theme song, “We’re The Whoopi Sticks,” though, now thinking about it, is not really the title’s song. My friend Sam, who has male genitalia and he, and his member, is a member of Sewer Buddies, (Lindsey’s side project- making punk songs for kids), moshes with my friend Sam, who has female genitalia (Samantha) is not a Black Panther but does play bass in a punk band.

And it seems to be Sam’s, with a penis, birthday. He receives a birthday day card informing him that he’s one year closer to death. (Birthday card’s are always so cheerful!) At this time I have a slight skirmish with Lindsey’s real Dad while, her real mom hands out what appears to be fake cupcakes.

With Lindsey’s high-pitched, Poly Styrene like, emotional vocals backed ably by Paul on bass and Kyle on guitar, this band plays a wonderful set of their surf influenced, Devo influenced punk.

Loser’s Circle rose from the ashes of Refuse Resist (an industrial fire accident) and recently recorded the best album I’ve reviewed this year. And they are about to embark on their first tour. Unfortunately, Matt their excellent drummer cannot commit, so another drummer named Matt, who they’ve convinced to have plastic surgery to look like the original Matt, is ably filling in today and also, for the tour.

They start out with two of their best songs from their new album, “Wasteland” and “Lock Away.” And they end their great set with my second favorite song from their new disk, “Scars,” an emotional and poignant tune. They return to the Midway, Sunday August 6, for a record release show of the album, “Took Long Enough.” And just like today, I look forward to hearing another great set.

Electric Street Queens, though being one of my favorite bands, really aren’t a punk band. This is a band that is always a bit “tongue in cheek,” a bit ironic, and reminds me of the band Power Slut in this way.

Everyone in the band, except maybe, the female lead singer, has long haired black wigs. The two guys in the band look like they’re from Black Sabbath circa ’72. The diminutive lead singer, Coco a-go-go, is dressed all in black with fishnet stockings. She has the stage presence of what a female rock singer, like Cherie Curie from The Runaways of Suzi Quatro, I imagine, had then- sexy and aggressive with more than a touch of the absurd and she likes to leave the stage and crawl through the legs of folks in the crowd during a song.

They play a song about how when she was young and worked at Friendly’s, a male co-worker asked her to disrobe in the freezer called, “I’m Just A Teenager,” and a song about her female drummer preparing for a date and how before, “she will probably masturbate”.

Towards the end they do a song with the chords from “Louie Louie” while she, once again slithers across the floor, crawling through the legs of everyone.

This band is fun, funny, irreverent and really doesn’t fit into any style or genre- but does have great songs and great performances and I deem them punk just for their attitude.

And I deem this to be a wild, fun, crazy show.

It’s always a pleasure to review a show that sounds like I made everything up.


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