How do you feel when you find out one of the greatest garage punk bands of all time are reuniting and sold out two shows at your favorite venue before you knew tickets went on sale? Horrible. How do you feel when said band adds another show in close proximity and you’re able to secure your attendance? Joy.
While I didn’t notice anything geared toward lefties (or any pictures of Ned Flanders or Paul McCartney for that matter), Southpaw in Brooklyn is a great garage rock venue with pinball machines and records lining the walls of anyone from Tom Waits to the Velvet Underground to Charles Mingus. The tickets said “doors at 8:00PM/show at 9:00PM.” I showed up at 9:00PM and the only opener, the Black CCs, didn’t go on til 9:50.
Sounding like, well, the Mummies (and Teengenerate), they played no-frills garage rock with some maracas thrown in. Their singer was entertaining and wasn’t above jumping into the crowd with his microphone and pogoing with some enthusiastic fans. They were very energetic and well received by the crowd as they probably should be -- they’re from Brooklyn. I was surprised they only got 25 minutes.
Before the Mummies went on I couldn’t tell if the crowd was going to be more too-cool-for-school indie rockers, generally content on standing to the side while lightly sipping their Miller High Life, or if the guys and gals in tattoos and Misfits shirts would rush the stage for the full punk rock experience. Thankfully, it was the latter. The Mummies came out, of course completely dressed up as mummies (fellow orger scientistrock told me, seeing them not dressed up while setting up their instruments at one of the aforementioned sold out shows, that they looked like “my dad”) and launched into "Come On Up"; the crowd erupted.
Classic punk rock show characteristics abounded: a sweaty mess by the stage; dancing; beer-soaked crowd/band; the guitar going in an out every few songs. Before every fourth song it seemed like the guitarist was reminding the bassist the chord progression. Who needs practice in punk rock?
Throughout the night, singer Trent Ruane begged the question “How did my Farfisa Combo Compact last all three shows?” For the hour-plus they played it was repeatedly picked up, slammed down, hit, had drinks poured on it, sat on, kicked and laid on among other things. Trent Ruane would also lovingly antagonize the crowd, dance like a spazz and pick his nose -- all the things a snotty (pun intended) garage rock band should do
While the Mummies had lot of pride in being vinyl-only and having countless releases, if you had the full-length LP and compilation they released on CD, Never Been Caught, and Death by Unga Bunga!!, respectively, you’d know every song they played but two (“High Heeled Sneakers” and "Dorty Robber"). For the 18-song main set they played major crowd-pleasers like “I'm Gonna Kill My Baby Tonight,” “Your Ass (Is Next in Line)” and “Justine.” Not surprisingly, the songs played sloppily in a club still sounded much better than their lo-fi recordings
Their four-song encore consisted of cream-of-the-crop Mummies tracks, each song more epic than the last, the crowd in as much hysterics as the first song of the night. “Stronger Than Dirt,” “Jezebel” and “Food, Sickles & Girls” had the crowd in a frenzy but they couldn’t have ended it in any better way than with “(You Must Fight to Live) On the Planet of the Apes.” The crowd was on their tippy toes with each pause before the last line of the encore.
Could they have gone another 22 songs without losing a step? Probably. Could I have articulated my points better? Definitely. But bottom line: This is just one of those shows you’d love to live again every week for a year.
Pictures were taken by everyone’s favorite geriatric Punknews poster, baldsteve, and they’re here.
- Come on Up
- In and Out
- Red Cobra #9
- Dirty Robber
- Little Miss Tee-N-T
- High Healed Sneakers
- I’m Gonna Kill My Baby Tonight
- That's Mighty Childish
- Ballad of Iron Eyes Cody
- Just One More Dance
- Your Ass (Is Next in Line)
- A Girl Like You
- Frisko Freeze
- I'm Bigger Than You
- That Girl
- Zip a Dee Doo Dah
- Stronger Than Dirt
- Food, Sickles & Girls
- (You Must Fight to Live) On the Planet of the Apes