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Tiger Army / Street Dogs

Tiger Army / Street Dogs: live in Santa Cruzlive in Santa Cruz (2005)
Hellcat Records

Reviewer Rating: 4


Contributed by: sjoipunxsjoipunx
(others by this writer | submit your own)

Old ladies lurking on street corners wearing nothing but cut-up garbage bags and cowboy hats along with young teenagers pierced out and inked up to their jaw-lines are but some of the sights you will see along Santa Cruz's Pacific Avenue. Situated right on the shores of the Pacific Ocean, the city i.


Old ladies lurking on street corners wearing nothing but cut-up garbage bags and cowboy hats along with young teenagers pierced out and inked up to their jaw-lines are but some of the sights you will see along Santa Cruz's Pacific Avenue. Situated right on the shores of the Pacific Ocean, the city is liberal with an in-your-face, open-minded attitude as prevalent as the fog that blankets it nightly. It is no wonder then that a near sold-out crowd was drawn to one of the last stops on the lengthy and long-awaited "Dark Romance" tour featuring Tiger Army in support of last year's excellent III: Ghost Tigers Rise LP.

After getting frisked by the pro wrestler-like bouncers with arms like telephone poles I made my way past the merch stand where business was nearly as brisk as it was at the bar…and people were knocking back drinks like camels at an oasis. Being an all-ages show, the crowd was diverse both in look and age. Old rockabilly greasers sporting engineer boots and Western shirts contrasted with the young hippy kids and Billie Joe wannabes complete with shaggy hair, dark eyeliner and ties. Shows in Santa Cruz attract very diverse crowds, not entirely unlike what is depicted in the opening scene of the 1987 film "The Lost Boys" where Sam and Michael arrive in "Santa Carla" (which is actually Santa Cruz).

Unfortunately, I had missed 12-Step Rebels, which was too bad because I had heard good things about them. A familiar voice filled the air as I stepped into the dimly lit black hall. It was Mike McColgan of Boston's Street Dogs halfway through "You Alone." Being a fan of and having not ever seen the Street Dogs, I was really looking forward to their set. It was back in 1997 at San Jose's infamous sewer hole The Cactus Club that I last heard McColgan sing with the Dropkick Murphys on their tour with the Business in support of Do Or Die. The Murphys' performance that night was explosive, igniting the club in a fiery inferno that to this day stands out among the thousands of other bands I've seen, indelibly etched into my memory. I can still remember the look on the bartender's face as he rushed over to help break up a violent fight involving various pieces of furniture which had erupted among a group of skinheads during "Never Alone." I always thought McColgan should have never left the music industry; his voice too good, and his stage presence is undeniably passionate and charismatic.

While it may be easy and logical in more than one regard to compare the Street Dogs to early Dropkick Murphys, the band stands on its own merit and is fantastic both musically and lyrically. The kids loved the band as they belted out song after song from 2005's Back To The World and 2003's Savin Hill. Proving the vast dynamic range in their repertoire, the band showcased slower material like "2 Bottles" and the faster, hardcore-inspired "Drink Tonight." "Fighter" was verbally prefaced by a dedication to a friend even though it is easily heard in the song's lyrics. "In Defense Of Dorchester," "Back To The World," and "Declaration" were thrown into the mix along with a full cover of the Ramones' "Commando." A brief cover of the Clash's "Bankrobber" led seamlessly into "Last Call" while short snippets of Rancid's "The War's End" and Joe Strummer And The Mescaleros' "Coma Girl" found their way into other songs. The band closed with their version of Sham 69's "Borstal Breakout." The Street Dogs performance warmed up the crowd nicely for the final band and was a very wise choice for support. It will not be too soon the next time I see the Street Dogs.

Sticking to a tight timeline and scheduled curfew, the club grew dark as the lights dimmed and the three members of Tiger Army ran on stage and grabbed their instruments. The crowd cheered wildly in anticipation as the familiar strumming of Nick 13's guitar provided the fuel for the fire. Soon, the strumming was joined by the thump of the bass as the band kicked the show off with "Ghost Tigers Rise." By the time the bass solo came around, the circle pit had become swollen with energy, engulfing floor space like voracious sharks swallowing a fresh kill. The pit continued, stopping only for a split second as the second song, "True Romance," off of 1999's self-titled album, began. The band slowed down the tempo but certainly not the energy after that with "Ghostfire" and the madness continued.

I was a bit concerned that the chemistry which had developed with Fred Hell and Geoff Kresge had changed Tiger Army's sound. Last year when I saw the band with this lineup the performance was top notch in all respects. I was glad to see and hear that the new lineup consisting of Jeff Roffredo on bass and James Meza on drums had Tiger Army sounding better than ever. The rhythm section was nice and tight, with the new members looking as if they had been playing the songs for years. Roffredo incited the crowd during songs like "FTW" and "Fog Surrounds." Meza's drumming was precise and appeared fluid and effortless. Unfortunately, the set was not without a problem.

Shortly after the band began to play, it became apparent that the sound was off. The bass was so loud that it rendered the other instruments -- and to an extent, the vocals -- difficult to hear. The bass was also muddy and lacked the low frequency definition that is prevalent on the band's recorded albums and in past live performances. Now, I enjoy the deep, clean bass that a stand-up provides, but not when it drowns out everything else in a one-noted sea of confusion. I thought maybe it might be my own ears, but then I began hearing other people around me complaining of the same thing in between songs. The problem was eventually rectified, but only after the beginning two-thirds of the set had transpired, which included: "Jungle Cat," "Nocturnal," the unexpected cover of Eddie Cochran's "Twenty Flight Rock," the dedicated-to-Santa Cruz "Santa Carla Twilight," and the still-sounds-good-without-the-slide-guitar "Power Of Moonlite."

By the time the band played Nick 13's professed favorite song on the new album and crowd favorite "Rose Of The Devil's Garden" the sound had fully improved and bass definition was restored. "When Night Comes Down" sped things up and made way for a tribute to Johnny Ramone in "Through The Darkness." "Cupid's Victim" saw the pit becoming bigger and bigger until the last note was played, at which time the band left the stage in preparation for the inevitable encore. After reappearing from backstage, Nick 13 briefly thanked Santa Cruz for all the support they have given Tiger Army, and the psychobilly scene in general. The band then fired up a blast from the past, "Temptation," followed by the last song of the evening, "Annabel Lee."

Despite the sound problem that plagued much of the set, Tiger Army were in fine form and sounding better than ever with more than ample support by the Street Dogs. Given the recent lineup changes the band has gone through, one might think that their live show would be somewhat affected. This was definitely not the case as the show was full of energy, passion, and was widely varied with a good mix of early and new material…certainly good news for fans of this band and a sure sign that the inevitable IV:… is within sight.

 

 
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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
Anonymous (May 30, 2005)

"Geoff Kresge is pretty much regarded by all as an extremely shitty bassist"

i was once told by a really talented bass player to watch him onstage because he's quite talented.

Anonymous (May 28, 2005)

Score is for the review, which is well spoken lucid and splendidly descriptive. But I still say that tiger army owes everything to the Misfits. I'm not saying they straight out rip them off, but ya gotta admit that their sound is very derivative. Not that that is necessarily bad, cause I love the Misfits.

allison_le_gnome (May 27, 2005)

Eww. Please not. I'm the resident orchestra nerd. Who's not really into orchestra, though.

Anonymous (May 26, 2005)

"No, people like YOU who can't just let anyone else's opinion stand make ME sick. I've never heard anyone claim Geoff Kresge is a particularly talented bassist, and it only takes about one ear to tell that I could probably play most of the bass parts on the 2nd album. And I mostly play violin."

-I just can't stand Epoxies.. they're too cool for me i guess.
Yeah on the second album Geoff didn't know how to properly record the upright bass. Wow fiddle eh? starting a country band are you?

allison_le_gnome (May 26, 2005)

Oh, and "Anonymous," again, please figure out italics. It's really not that hard.

allison_le_gnome (May 26, 2005)

Wow this gnome girl is pissed..ahha and she lkes the Epoxies..

"Geoff Kresge is pretty much regarded by all as an extremely shitty bassist"
Where did you get that from? word on the street?

People like you make me sick, try to find a fault in every little thing.
Just shut the fuck up and enjoy the music.

No, people like YOU who can't just let anyone else's opinion stand make ME sick. I've never heard anyone claim Geoff Kresge is a particularly talented bassist, and it only takes about one ear to tell that I could probably play most of the bass parts on the 2nd album. And I mostly play violin.

And, remember, you started the argument.

And you say I like the Epoxies? Yeah, I do. Well, you obviously really like Tiger Army, who aren't the best band of all time themselves.

Anonymous (May 26, 2005)

IHEARTDAMN hates Tiger Army...sucks for you kid.
you have shit taste in music

iheartadam (May 26, 2005)

*.billy rules.

ABOUT AS MUCH AS SADDAM HUSSEIN DOES RIGHT NOW HAHAHAHAHAHAHAROCKAGAINSTSHITTYMUSICHAHAHAHAHAHAAHAHAHAHAHAHAH.

Yeah, Tiger Army has always been and will always be, fucking terrible.

Anonymous (May 26, 2005)

Tiger Army please die

In Worcester like 3 years ago probably longer than that. They stopped playing and yelled at the sound man, when it was thier shitty gears fault. Fuck this shit band

-Hahaa I've seen them like 16 times and they never had any problems. Good ol Socal. They play over here alot :)

Anonymous (May 26, 2005)

Tiger Army please die

In Worcester like 3 years ago probably longer than that. They stopped playing and yelled at the sound man, when it was thier shitty gears fault. Fuck this shit band

jared (May 26, 2005)

Re: Kansas City - It isn't the first time they (Nick) have pulled that stunt. In Boise, he was disappointed with the sound midway through the set and he punched a sound engineer in the face. He was arrested and charged with assault.

Anonymous (May 26, 2005)

Wow, I've always had nothing but respect for Tiger Army, but must admit I'm a little shocked about the Kansas City incident.

-sickboi

psychoos231 (May 26, 2005)

Good ol' Tiger Army, they'll be playing with Phenomenauts and Deadbegonz the next two nights, should be sweeeeet.

Anonymous (May 26, 2005)

Tiger Army are the most useless bunch of rockstars since Guns N Roses... The idea of a fucking psychobilly band citing a "bad sound system" as a reason to not play a show is fucking laughable.

This makes Tiger Army the first "punk" band to not play the El Torreon for such a reason.

But I suppose most of the people who buy their shit are too young to stay out late enough for shows, so it won't effect them.

-BSD

Whoa kid calm the fuck down...now listen SHIT UP!
damn "im punx cause i listen to minor threat"..ha

Anonymous (May 26, 2005)

affect

Anonymous (May 25, 2005)

Tiger Army are the most useless bunch of rockstars since Guns N Roses... The idea of a fucking psychobilly band citing a "bad sound system" as a reason to not play a show is fucking laughable.

This makes Tiger Army the first "punk" band to not play the El Torreon for such a reason.

But I suppose most of the people who buy their shit are too young to stay out late enough for shows, so it won't effect them.

-BSD

Anonymous (May 25, 2005)

"Tiger Army are too trendy nowadays to be any good, their first album was alright though"

Dumbest post today.

Anonymous (May 25, 2005)

Tiger Army are too trendy nowadays to be any good, their first album was alright though

Anonymous (May 25, 2005)

score is for tiger army deciding not to play in kansas city even though they showed up.

inanechild (May 25, 2005)

All right, I have nothing against Geoff Kresge, but his bass playing on the second album really wasn't that great. However, by the third album, he had definitely improved.

That said, Rob Peltier from the Quakes is a great upright bassist, as is Jeff Roffredo. Kresge is good, but these guys just have the advantage of far more years of experience.

Anonymous (May 25, 2005)

Street Dogs rule. And yeah, good review. Except this bit:

"The Murphys' performance that night was explosive, igniting the club in a fiery inferno"

Did they actually set fire to the club? No. Therefore that was a crap line.

Anonymous (May 25, 2005)

Score is for the review. Really well written.

Ollywood (May 25, 2005)

must be that time of month again, everyone stay clear

Anonymous (May 24, 2005)

Wow this gnome girl is pissed..ahha and she lkes the Epoxies..

"Geoff Kresge is pretty much regarded by all as an extremely shitty bassist"
Where did you get that from? word on the street?

People like you make me sick, try to find a fault in every little thing.
Just shut the fuck up and enjoy the music.

allison_le_gnome (May 24, 2005)

How so?

Geoff Kresge is pretty much regarded by all as an extremely shitty bassist. Whatsisname from the Quakes, who played bass on the first album, is much better at actually playing the instrument. How much explanation did that really require?

Oh, and those attempting to quote others- learn some basic html. Italics take about .1 second to figure out, and make your post much easier to read. And, no, I don't give a shit if proper formatting isn't "punk."

Anonymous (May 24, 2005)

Cause you're gay, shut up.

Whats with the "your gay" thing....damn homophobes

Anonymous (May 24, 2005)

I was at this show, and it was great. While the reviewer does give credit to the stree dogs, in my opinion they stole the show. The band had such a great stage presence. The lead singer did such a good job pumping up the crowd. Point is go catch them live. Although i do not deny, Tiger Army did a good job to, just not as well as the street dogs in my opinion, but to each his own.

Anonymous (May 24, 2005)

Cause you're gay, shut up.

Psychoos231 (May 24, 2005)

-HAHA like you know anything about the upright bass..go to hell kid

Shut up, he's exactly right.

--
How so?

allison_le_gnome (May 24, 2005)

-HAHA like you know anything about the upright bass..go to hell kid

Shut up, he's exactly right.

Anonymous (May 24, 2005)

Score is for me not going

-Oli

Anonymous (May 24, 2005)

Geoff K sucked on upright. Score is for the bass player on the first album

-HAHA like you know anything about the upright bass..go to hell kid

Anonymous (May 24, 2005)

Geoff K sucked on upright. Score is for the bass player on the first album

Anonymous (May 24, 2005)

12 Step Rebels were awesomewhen i saw them open for Mad Sin

TheOneTrueBill (May 24, 2005)

Don't worry, the 12 Step Rebels were terribly boring and unoriginal when I saw them. They came out to a stupid "DO YOU KNOW WHAT A BANSHEE IS?" speech. Then the guy just yelled "PSYCHO!" a few times out of nowhere. And on top of this, he said "hello CHEE-TOWN! That's what you guys call the city, right?" What an idiot.

And the same thing happened in Chicago with Tiger Army. The vocals were way muffled below the bass for the first third of the set.

Anonymous (May 24, 2005)

i was at this show. review summed it up very nicely.new bass player for tiger army seems way more comfortable then when i last saw them together. my hometown rules.

Anonymous (May 24, 2005)

Oldpunker-

Anonymous (May 24, 2005)

I actually dont care to much for black cat.. 9:30 better

psychoos231 (May 24, 2005)

Sweet review, right on the money

Anonymous (May 24, 2005)

DUDE they came tio BLACKCAT NOT TO LONG AGO

Anonymous (May 24, 2005)

Wow, i must agree, very good review indeed. I wish this came to 9:30, actually, i would love to see this come to ottobar-oldpunker-

sickboi (May 24, 2005)

Agreed. Great job.

inagreendase (May 24, 2005)

This guy's reviews are always some of the most grandiose, epic things I've read, and really well-written just the same. Score is for such.

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