Saturday October 21st 2017

The Grommets / Uncle Spudd / Kermit’s Finger / The New Frustrations / The Sewer Buddies


The Grommets / Uncle Spudd / Kermit’s Finger / The New Frustrations / The Sewer Buddies
Midway Cafe, Jamaica Plain, MA     9/24/17


When folks say “punk rock,” I’d rather they just say punk. To me, punk is connected to rock’n’roll but not to rock music.

For me, punk was a reaction against rock music, the major music of it’s time, that had become complacent and boring, more interested in complexity than passion, adeptness than heart.

I’ll listen now to Jerry Lee Lewis and Chuck Berry but I won’t listen to Led Zep or The Who. I love fifties rock’n’roll but have little interest in most of rock music.

I feel this to be relevant towards the review today, because one band makes punk songs for kids (The Sewer Buddies) and one band is very family orientated (The Grommets)- and I think the whole, rock star on drugs, super models, decadence is best left to the rock bands of the past, while the punk bands of today don’t need to be caught up in that bullshit.

Not saying it’s straight edge, but a life that is more real, less pompous, lower expectations and speaks as a true artist speaks- true to himself and those he speaks to.

I guess this is a roundabout way of saying, today’s show will be a kick ass one, one of the best of the year. Anything falling short of that will be a disappointment to me.

The Sewer Buddies start with their first ever performance! They are an off-shoot of Whoopi Sticks and they provide punk music for kids as an alternative to the usual pop crap young kids first latch onto. This is done, minus the adult themes that punk music usually presents.

The band is more a collaborative, guided by Lindsey (my punk daughter) who also guides Whoopi Sticks. Her and bassist Paul from that band are here today with guitarist Sam (Green Eggs & Sam). And though he looks a bit like a leprechaun, with his green derby, green suspenders and white shirt- a sinister feeling underlies his look, making me think of Alex from the movie, “Clockwork Orange.”

Their first song is “Swamp Dog” which I mishear as “Slimedog” but unfortunately, it’s not about me. The second song is about pizza which has the band slinging empty boxes of pizza into the pit where they are destroyed. Another song “Henry The Spider,” has them tossing hundreds of plastic spiders into the crowd.

But I think their best song might be called “Doggy Ears,” where they instruct the crowd to wave their arms above their head to simulate them. I’m ashamed to admit, I do this, too- but it’s hard not to get caught up in the energy and lighthearted fun of this band. Check out the review of their recorded material- on-line as you read this.

Next band is called The Crabby Crustaceans, I mean The New Frustrations. And if you want to hear well written, well played power/pop punk songs- well, you won’t be frustrated, you’ll be pleasantly pleased.

This trio all sing and play great but don’t short change on the guts and passion so integral to punk. They may be seasoned veterans but they still pack so much punch and power into their songs.

Like their song “Have A Good Time,” this is what I have every time I see them and I’ll say their set was “Right As Rain,” my favorite song by them- all included in an awesome set.

Kermit’s Finger is a band that’s been around awhile. I know them as a great band but I was unprepared for what I was about to witness.

This band harks back to when hardcore didn’t fit into a set of rules but were “strange bands playing strange songs,” like The Meatmen or The Minutemen.

They start off with a cover by one of Boston’s great, original punk bands The Nervous Eaters and their song “Shit For Brains,” a song I feel, could’ve been written about me. But then they continue to reel off great song after song that not only contains a fiery, propulsion of energy- but also, lyrically, unique punk pounding songs.

All three members sing and guitarist, Pete Pasted, seems absolutely possessed today as he slashes and swipes away on rhythm guitar reminding me of Lou Reed when he played with The Velvet Underground. One solo he plays has him grabbing notes from below the neck of the guitar as well as above.

The set was too mesmerizing to take many notes, but I do know- this is one of the best sets I’ve seen this year!

Uncle Spudd is next from Maine. A band that I’ve seen only once but produced one of the best albums I’ve reviewed this year. They seem to straddle perfectly, the genres of punk, hardcore, indi and pop.

They start with their song about being hassled for having underground shows (“Call 911”), a song I can relate to (“Forever Young,”) a song against the abuse of women (“Like The Rest Of Us,”) and a song against the abuse of men, (“I Miss You When I’m Lonely.”)

But they also wear weird sunglasses and do a cover of Cheap Trick’s “Surrender.”

They play such an awesome, powerful set that I have people telling me that this is the set of the day. I still give it to Kermit’s Finger but on any other show they would have certainly deserved it.

The Grommets are up and when they say “save the best for last,”- well they obviously weren’t thinking about this band.

I’m joking. I know, that’s something I rarely do but these cats are playing the TNB Xmas party this year, along with Sewer Buddies.

They are Eric & Kris, husband and wife, bass and guitar, stupid and smart and joined by Ida on drums.

They play punk like when it was born, pure and unadorned, true and passionate, fun and wild enough to color outside the lines.

I really like their song “Cerveza,” though I know it’s Spanish for beer which my religion has taught me is the devil’s piss. Another great song about marital bliss “Where’s My Wallet, Keys, Cellphone?” whose title is the only lyrics of the song repeated until the music crashes into a cacophonous train wreck. And their song, “We’re Getting Old,” that cause me to jump onstage to sing along with the word “old”, for no apparent reason.

This is one of the best shows I’ve seen this year and I wish I had more space to say how great it was.

But I don’t.


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