Sunday November 19th 2017

Worm / Fast Times / Bad Movies / Moose Knuckle / Honest John / Whoopi Sticks / Slimedog’s Puppet Show


Worm / Fast Times / Bad Movies / Moose Knuckle / Honest John / Whoopi Sticks / Slimedog’s Puppet Show
Midway Cafe, Jamaica Plain, MA 9/21/14


So this show is my daughter’s, whose name escapes me at the moment, second show with her first band Whoopi Sticks. You may ask what about the first show? Why, you say, I saw you there- eagerly jotting down notes with a number two pencil on a yellow legal pad?

You are correct. Like my intestinal system we are a little backed up now but I wanted to pluck this dusky jewel of a show as I feel its relevant and portends to such wondrous insights that are incomprehensible and inconceivable even to me.

First up, is my daughter’s band…what’s that? Only six bands on this bill where there was supposed to be seven?

No trouble! I’m running out to my car knocking over small children and the elderly as we collide. I grab my puppets, coaching them as we go in. Finally we have the opportunity to redeem our unfortunate past.

I thought- what would a punk crowd really want from a puppet show? I figured a recreation of Disney World’s “It’s A Small World After All,” done in puppetry and that’s what we’ve worked on for weeks!

This is gonna be a success! I can feel it in my bones.

A song that celebrates a multicultural acceptance of peace and love!

Everything is going smoothly- it’s flawless.

Suddenly the puppets change the choreography. Now, it’s a puppet sex show with a soundtrack of “Push It” and Two Live Crew! They’re engaging in puppet debauchery, S&M with household appliances, unnatural acts with plants and sights unimaginable in human life but somehow plausible (what with their interchangeable wooden genitalia) in puppet life.

Of course, at this point, I rush in front of the stage to halt such degrading proceedings.

I’m sad to say but this is the third time I’m met with an onslaught of excrement and debris that comes raining down upon me. The tears, that are now rolling down my cheeks, are caked upon my face along with the excrement and debris.

It makes me wonder if this is a legitimate artistic pursuit or should I perhaps devote my time to flower arranging?

Thankfully, I clean up and compose myself by the time Whoopi Sticks take the stage. They consist of two girls and two boys and Lindsey, my punk daughter, plays drums and sings. They had three guitar players last time I saw them and now my hope of them becoming a Lynard Skynard tribute band is dashed and scattered to the winds.

The first song they do is about pissing your pants or more-so the inability to make a decision. The second song is a Shonen Knife cover “Lazy Bones” which is much better than the original.

I would tell you they play No Wave if anyone knew, including them, what that means. What I will say is they play primitive, abrasive, sometimes dissonant tunes that are playful and intense at the same time. And I do think they have good songs and only need more experience playing live to be great.

Honest John is the next band to play and they play intense hardcore on the creative side. They have experimental and noise elements in their music and frequent tempo changes ranging from doom to hardcore.

I’ve seen them lots of times now and have never seen a bad set but today seems exceptionally good. I don’t know if it’s the set list or the playing but this is the most effective and passionate set by them I’ve witnessed. And I’d say this is the best set I’ve seen them play.

Moose Knuckle is next and it appears they’re working in a new drummer (who is excellent) but causes they’re set to be a bit disjointed. And it causes the singer to smirk and laugh in-between songs.

They’re style is a mix of Crust/ Oi/ Speed Punk that doesn’t care about categories but more about being disruptive and having fun.

I particularly liked how they tagged “Cars” by Gary Numan onto one of their songs today.

Not one of their best sets but some great moments and I’ll still take them over ninety percent of bands in clubs- and that’s not bad!

Now it’s time for Bad Movies one of my favorite bands. They’re a true punk band with a talented female singer who writes great songs. But in their live gigs (and because they’re truly punk) they always seem to teeter on the edge of brilliance and destruction.

But today it seems all the songs are falling on the side of being brilliant. And I notice the crowd a bit mesmerized and hypnotized by them all.

I’m pretty sure this is the best I’ve seen them and positive this is the best set I’ve seen anyone play all year! (And if you think that doesn’t mean much, think of how many sets I’ve seen!)

Now it’s Fast Times time and you know things are gonna keep rolling. Today’s lineup has a lot of folks from Cape Cod or towards there (except the puppets who are from Taiwan) and I’d say Fast Times is the best from that area.

And they start off with “Taco Time”! Probably to get it out of the way. It’s a favorite of mine and also of Jaymz, the bassist for Whoopi Sticks, who always harasses them till they play that song.

I’m at the front of the stage, along with others, raising a fist in the air and screaming, “Taco, Taco, Taco!”

They have an excellent rhythm section and just recently I noticed their bassist always seems to be bleeding from his forehead during their shows, much like Johnny Disaster from Cry Havoc when he sings. I think it’s great that both of them are so into it that they’re willing to shed blood.

I have a pick with me from “Nigel” an English bloke who played the Midway last Sunday with the early UK punk band, The Members. I gave it to Nick, the Fast Times singer/ guitarist, before the set, actually to give to his dad who still plays in early Boston punk band Nervous Eaters.

“Hey Slimedog,” Nick says into the mike, “I just realized I’m using that pick you gave me.”

It must be the pick, I think, that’s why they sound so good. But whatever it is this is turning out to be a pretty great show.

Worm is the last band to play, headed by Mikke Worm who organized this show. Mikke is the bass player for Bad Movies who sings and plays guitar here. The guitarist for Bad Movies is on the drums.

Their style is straight ahead hardcore with a bit of garage/punk thrown in as well.

I know I’ve seen them before but I don’t recall them being this much fun.

They start with “This Is Boston Not L.A.” and follow soon with “Nervous Breakdown” by Black Flag. Later they do “Bite It You Scum” by G.G. Allin and pass the mike to the crowd to sing. One of the people who sing it is Lindsey, and at first I thought I saw her poop on the floor, much like the charming G.G. liked to do, but then I realized it was just leftover from the puppet debacle.

So this was the day that the Slapshot record release party took place at the Middle East. And also the night that Stiff Little Fingers played the Sinclair in Cambridge. And I missed both shows but I don’t mind. I’ve never seen SLF and probably never will. I would say my time to see them was probably thirty years ago.

Because what punk is to me is in the moment. It’s vital and fresh with bands that are new or just starting. That are, like the legendary bands were at one point that everyone wants to see- going against the grain and doing what they want to do out of joy and madness. Not part of rock’n’roll history as those old bands are now.

Good luck to the legendary bands. They deserve to still play if they still want to and even “cash in” because they deserve to do that as well. But their time was decades ago and your time and the bands who played today’s time is now.

And I was where I wanted to be today and not watching SLF or making believe I was standing at the Rat in 1979.

I saw Honest John play the best set I’ve seen by them. I saw Bad Movies play what I’m calling the best set all year. And I saw what I’m calling the best show I’ve seen all year. For me punk is current, new and fresh and that’s the only way it can be.

And that’s why the choice was easy for me.



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