On Saturday I went to the long awaited and struggling Punk vs. Psychos tour. For those who are in the dark about this tour, Lars Fredriksen and his Bastards were supposed to headline this tour along with Tiger Army and Nekromantix and the Distillers are supposed to join up later. Well Lars hurt his back, according to Nick 13 of Tiger Army he is in a back brace right now, and had to cancel. Their were rumors of U.S. Bombs replacing him, but they are in the studio now, so they also couldn't play. Tiger Army and Nekromantix are still touring, and the Distillers and Suicide Machines are still joining them later on this month. From what I had been hearing it sounded like this tour was in trouble with people not coming because Lars was no longer on the bill, this could not be further from the truth. The crowd at this show was huge, and were providing insane pits and were definitely into the music.
The first up was a band called South of Due North. At this time the crowd was rather small with people trickling in as the show went on. This band had a Midwestern punk sound to them that is very similar to Alkaline Trio, Lawrence Arms, Honor System, and bands like that. I thought that they played a good set, with a lot of passion. The crowd mostly just stood there, but in defense of the band, it wasn't the music you could really start jumping around to. Overall I thought they were a good band, just a little out place on this tour.
Next up was the garage rock sound of Callaghan, whose singer came out in a jean jacket and sunglasses, yelled into the mic, "one two fuck you" and took off playing a set that reminded one of 60's rock and roll. The energy started to pick up during this band with a small group of people starting to dance around and the band seemed to respond with the bassist jumping around and barely staying in one spot for more than a few minutes. The singer roomed around the stage drinking beer, flirting with girls in the audience, and basically playing some great sounding rock and roll. They even finished with a Rod Stewert cover of "Mandy", so you don't get much more rock than that.
After a short stage set up, the Nekromantix took the stage. I have been really interested in the psychobilly movement, especially after hearing some of the Tiger Army songs, so I was really excited to be able to see these bands live and see what they could do. The first thing I noticed was the guy's stand up bass. It is really looks like a coffin, complete with a cross at the top of the neck. I had heard about this, but didn't think it was as real looking as it was. It look like the old handmade coffins from the 1800's you see in movies and stuff, very cool. The bassist broke his foot the night before, so I think that took away from some of his movement on stage, but he still seemed to drag the bass all over the stage, and several times fell to the floor and played holding the bass up in the air. The set was a mix of their old and new songs, each played with a lot of energy. It was fun watching the band jumping around and enjoying themselves. The vocals were really hard to hear, they were too soft and kept getting buried under the music. Another problem I had was the bassist and kept having the crowd scream "fuck that bitch" whenever he said "Britney Spears," first it was funny but started to get old after few times. Otherwise their show was fun, with the crowd definitely into the music and forming a huge pit.
Tiger Army was next and was definitely the band that is bringing pyschobilly to the masses. By this time the Metro was packed and Tiger Army was definitely the band that people had come to see. A old Christian country song came blaring over the sound system of the metro and had people looking around and saying to each other "what the fuck!?!" then Tiger Army appeared on stage, with Nick 13 shouting into the mike, "Hail Satan, Tiger Army forever" and they started playing "Nocturnal" over the other song. As soon as they did the place went nuts. I would say that during Tiger Army's performance there was a bigger pit than any of the bands the night before (see the SOIA/Suicide Machines review). Tiger Army sped through most of the songs on both their albums, barely letting themselves and the crowd rest in between songs. During one of the breaks they dedicated a song to Lars, and apologized for his not being able to tour with them. They also asked who out in the crowd were psychos and a ton of hands shot up, more than when the Nekromantix asked just a few minutes ago. I think the power of these bands had converted a couple of people. The set ended with "Fuck the World," and no one left feeling disappointed. Tiger Army played an amazing set, with a ton of energy that easily reflected on the crowd and the size of the pit.
Overall this was a good show with all four bands playing fun, entertaining sets. For some reason each set seemed extremely short, especially Tiger Army's even though they were the headliners. I would highly recommend this tour to anyone, especially fans fast loud music, and large insane pits. If you have never heard a psychobilly band before, you definitely need to check them out live before you make a judgment on the music.