Thursday December 14th 2017

The F.U’s / D-Sagawa / The Stuntmen / Rockin’ Bob Punk Band / The Ungraded

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The F.U’s / D-Sagawa / The Stuntmen / Rockin’ Bob Punk Band / The Ungraded
Koto, Salem, MA    8/13/16

 

So I make my second visit to Koto in Salem, Japan. Why spend so much money on an airline ticket when you can get here in an hour drive?

And nearly everyone here speaks English, including the two nice Japanese girls I meet- Gail Kokorahn and Nina Rosashan. They’re celebrating their engagement to each other that happened earlier tonight! Though Gail is already married to the American bassist Ed Lynch who plays in The F.U.’s and Mongorellis.

I guess the law is now that’s it’s not considered bigamy if your marry a boy and a girl, as long as it’s one from column A and one from Column B. I guess those conservatives were right after all, about how soon people would be marrying their pets. Though, I must say, that even though I and my pet giraffe, Simon, do share a close and intimate relationship- we have never once discussed marriage, or even children for that fact. And since it is true that giraffes have no vocal cords, in conclusion, I suppose we haven’t discussed anything at all.

Nina asks me if I like to do a shot. I ask her what kind and she says, “A red headed slut.” Which contains the substance more dear to me than air- Jagermeister. It’s not in my style to say no to soft, pretty ladies or hard, nasty alcohol- but I decline because I have a job to do and the time to do it is now!

The Ungraded are the first band to play and thought they call themselves rock’n’roll, I hear a heep bunch of punk and garage in their music.

They play with a lot of enthusiasm and energy and their set is a lot of fun, but if you listen hard enough you can hear there is a lot of substance to their songs as well. I’m not saying they sound like them, but for some reason the band Television pops into my head during their set.

And they play a great set, one that leads the night off well.

Rockin’ Bob Punk Band plays next. Led by Bob Cenci, he’s from the legendary Boston hardcore band Jerry’s Kids and has also spent some time with The F.U.’s. He was doing a solo acoustic thing for a while but now he has a rhythm section. And it’s still somewhat of a laid back affair- the drummer mostly plays light surf beats.

But the songs, lyrically, are definitely punk with a lot of “fuck you’s” and a favorite song of mine is called, “Scumbag.”

This is stripped down punk but it is still excellent.

I’m told a band called The Stuntmen played here the night before. I’m also told they broke part of the wall behind the stage and caused quite the commotion. I’m feeling a bit pissed about all this and then I’m told they are playing the next set!

But once they start playing, all is forgiven. This is a trio from Seattle that plays some kick ass songs. I wouldn’t call them hardcore, more a garage/punk style. Their sound is a lot more closer to The Stooges than Black Flag.

And as I’ve learned from journalism class- always mention the reason for the event, smack dab right in the middle.

This is a memorial show for a fellow named Bones, who died in a car accident. He was in the popular local band Straw Dogs in the eighties, which grew out of The F.U.’s and he has some ties with this Seattle band as well.

Anyways, The Stuntmen play a wonderful, energetic set and do so with out destroying any part of the club.

Forgive me if I get this wrong, but I believe that Pete Campbell organized this show and his sister is the lead singer of the next band, D-Sagawa. Also, she is the niece of Bones.

D-Sagawa are a band of teenagers fronted by a petite, goth looking girl and they describe themselves as D-Beat which is a brutal, hardcore style linked with crust punk.

I’d say it’s death vocals with extremely, aggressive hard-hitting rhythms and music- more related to early hardcore than the later heavy, New York hardcore style. But either way- this is bursting with anger, bursting with energy- uncompromising noise that rips the top of your head off and pulls your soul out by its very roots.

Though they sound different they remind me of some new, great, female fronted punk bands that I’ve enjoyed this year such as Gas Station Girls and Firewalker. And in no way am I just saying “they’re good for beginners.”

What I’m saying is I’m totally blown away by their set and if you ask me, “Was this the best set of the night?” I’d reply, “This is one of the best sets I’ve seen all year.”

Now, it’s time for The F.U’s who, along with Jerry’s Kids and four other bands, invented Boston hardcore as they were on the first Boston hardcore album, “This Is Boston Not L.A.”

In the later eighties they transformed into Straw Dogs, playing heavy metal, which was quite controversial at the time, because at the time punk and metal fans did not associate with each other.

And tonight they’re playing with two guitarists- Andy and I have seen this band many times, and we both agree that when they have two guitars they are always at their best.

And what they play tonight are short, hard concise songs with abrupt endings and shifting rhythms- which is what the early hardcore style really was.

When they play one of their best known songs, “Young, Fast Iranians,” I, as always, get chills up my spine. It is, in fact, actually a Straw Dogs song. And I’d easily place it in my Top Ten all time favorite local punk songs list.

They play a great set and provide a great end to a great night.

So cheers to Bones and the people involved putting on this show. Cheers to the people of Koto who allow these shows to happen. And cheers to the people of Japan who showed up tonight with the good minds and spirits to attend such shows.

Me? I’ve already booked a return flight.

(Slimedog)

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