The Meatmen - Live in Lansing (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

The Meatmen

Live in Lansing (2015)

live show

It's always fun to see an established band play in their home town. Touring bands often stay behind the scenes until it's time to play, and then disappear soon after their set. For home town shows, bands usually act as their own masters of ceremonies. Watching Tesco Vee work the crowd at The Loft in Lansing on June 14th was a thing of beauty. He took time to shake every hand, sign every autograph, and pose for every picture. You couldn't help but wonder if Uncle Tesco missed his true calling. Maybe it should have been Mayor Vee, or Senator Vee, or even President Vee...Then the Dutch Hercules takes the stage and quickly reminds us that he's far too honest for politics, but more on that later.

Both of the opening bands played inspired sets for the small but appreciative crowd. First up was S.N.A.F.U. from Detroit. They played loud, noisy, punk influenced thrash. It was intense. The audience was impressed. It was my first time seeing the band, and their half hour set definitely inspired me to investigate them further. They've got a new album coming out in August, if you tend to like the heavier stuff.

Murder Party! from Grand Rapids was up next. Their half hour of horror-punk/rockabilly was also well received. They even managed to convince some of the crowd to come up to the front of the stage. I've seen these guys a handful of times, and they're one of my Michigan favorites. They've put out a self-titled EP and a split EP in the last couple of years. Murder Party! is a band worth checking out. I suspect both bands made some new fans.

The Meatmen were playing Lansing for the first time in four years at the end of a quick run of Midwestern shows. The fact that it was a Sunday night probably hurt attendance, but the small but mighty crowd gathered at the front of the stage when the band came on. They opened with "Abba, God and Me", and Tesco was decked out in devil horns, a giant inflatable penis and a confetti cannon. For those of you who don't know, Tesco Vee is the 60 year old legendary front man of The Meatmen. He's part punk rock singer, part very tall pencil-neck geek, and part stand-up comedian. My favorite (tongue in cheek) quips of the night were "Only pussies don't drink and drive" and "Organized religion is to blame for all the problems in the world except for Glenn Danzig. Even the devil makes mistakes sometimes".

Tesco greeted a couple of old friends from the stage, and put the cross hairs on a couple of others. His favorite targets were the previously mentioned Danzig, and Black Flag's Greg Ginn. He also spoke of praying to Satan that Morrissey would get cancer before breaking into the seldom played "Morrissey Must Die". One of the coolest things about this show was that the band dug out a few songs that they hadn't played in years. "Jerkin' Off" from 1994's Toilet Slave was probably the most obscure. They also played three songs from their excellent 2014 LP Savage Sagas. "I'm Gonna Fuck You Up", "The Dwarves are the Second Greatest Band in the World (After The Meatmen)", and "Pissed Hot for Weed" all blended well with the classic material. They also snuck in a couple of choice covers with Gang Green's "Alcohol" and Venom's "Evil in a League with Satan".

The Meatmen are not for the faint of heart or the politically correct. "Triple B" celebrates loving large women. "Tooling for Anus" is about Detroit's gay bar scene in the early 80's. "Pope on a Rope", "Shut Up and Suck" or "Lesbian Death Dirge" could make a sailor blush. I've seen The Meatmen several times over the years, and they always deliver the goods live. The modern line-up may be the strongest one musically yet. The current crop of meat boys can play songs from all the band's eras with equal skill. Tesco said at one point that they play the same show for 50 or 50 thousand, and that was true on this night. Those of us there were lucky to see it.

Meatmen Setlist:

Abba, God and Me
Meatmen Stomp
Tooling for Anus
I've Got a Problem
Triple B
Come on Over to Mah Crib
Jerkin' Off
Pope on a Rope
I'm Gonna Fuck You Up
I Sin for a Living
Mr. Tapeworm
Dumping Ground
Shut Up and Suck
Lesbian Death Dirge
Morrissey Must Die
The Dwarves are the Second Greatest Band in the World (After The Meatmen)
Pissed Hot for Weed
Evil in a League with Satan
One Down Three to Go


Meat Crimes
Rock N Roll Juggernaut
We're The Meatmen...and You Suck