Murderland/Bad Cop/Bad Cop/The Shell Corporation - Live in Los Angeles (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Murderland / Bad Cop / Bad Cop / The Shell Corporation

Live in Los Angeles (2016)

live show

On Friday, March 4, 2016 I headed down to The Redwood Bar & Grill in Downtown Los Angeles (a venue that is quickly becoming a favorite of mine) to see a whole bunch of great local punk bands celebrate the release of Murderland’s new album Splitsville -- the band’s first release in four years. About a year ago I had seen Murderland at the same venue, without knowing anything about them, but after they put on such a lively and impressive performance I was truly excited to see them perform again with new material.

When it comes to the first two bands, I’ll be completely honest; I was not too familiar with either. The first to go on was Santa Barbara natives Versus The World, who released Homesick/Roadsick just last year. This was not the first time I had seen them perform though. I caught them maybe four or five months back when they opened for A Wilhelm Scream at Alex’s Bar in Long Beach, CA. Right off the bat the thing that was noticeable about them this time was that their lead vocalist was now playing rhythm guitar, while Tony Caraffa (also a guitarist for Murderland) played lead, which was not the case at the A Wilhelm Scream show. During this show I came to the same conclusion about this band that I did last time and that is their vocals tend to get a little too melodic and even melodramatic at times. The vocals weren’t offensive to me to anything, but it’s just not my “cup of tea.” That’s just my tastes/biases poking through though. They still managed to get a bunch of the other audience members really into their set. Nonetheless, the band did certainly put on a tight and solid performance.

Up next was the Lysolgang, which was a band completely unknown to me until I showed up to the venue. The three-piece also had put on a solid performance of melodic punk tunes as well. But what the most impressive part of their performance (a definite highlight of the night) was that they managed to cover “Get Low” by Lil John and the East Side Boyz with pop-punk instrumentation. I know reading that it sounds weird, however not only was it incredibly unique and pretty funny, but also they made a terrible 2003 radio hit into something listenable and fun.

After the Lysolgang finished up their set and I finished eating my delectable fish tacos, Burbank’s The Shell Corporation took the stage. I had also seen this band at The Redwood about a year ago while being somewhat knowledgeable about them, but after that performance I was hooked. So I was very much looking forward to seeing them put on a fantastic show like they did in 2015. And of course they absolutely killed it! At least from what I could tell they put on a flawless performance. They had a pretty varied set of songs, most of which were from their full-lengths Force Majeure and Mandrake. Just to name a few songs, they played “Trust Us,” “What If?,” and they closed with “Ozymadias.” During the long, instrumental bridge/build-up of “Ozymadias,” which is usually where the “I’m Mad As Hell” speech from the movie Network plays in the recorded version, lead vocalist Jan "Quixote" made a small speech about how a fascist with orange skin and bad hair should not be president and that we should try to convince those who are voting for that candidate to reconsider. Jan would also from time to time walk amongst the crowded, flailing his free arm while holding the mic with his other hand as if the lyrics he was singing were political arguments he was making in a debate or discussion. Also during their set, The Shell Corporation announced that they were working on a new album and played a song that will be on it. Just based on that tune, I don’t think we have to worry about The Shell Corporation’s next album being anywhere near bad or mediocre. That song rocked. Their whole set ruled and went above and beyond my already high expectations.

Once The Shell Corporation was done with their amazing set, it was San Pedro’s Bad Cop/Bad Cop’s turn to play. Now this is a band I can confidently say I am very familiar with and a definite fan of. They are a band that plays the LA club circuit quite a bit when they aren’t touring outside of California. I’ve seen them play at The Redwood plenty of times and each time the venue seems to fill up once they start their set, but I have also seen them open for bigger names at other great venues like the Adolescents at The Roxy Theater, A Wilhelm Scream at The Troubadour, and even Me First And The Gimme Gimme’s at the now-closed Hollywood House of Blues. And each time they put on a very enjoyable show. This time however I think was a little different. The band had recently gotten back from a UK tour with Snuff and I have to say to that this Bad Cop/Bad Cop show was probably the tightest and best performance of theirs I had seen since their LP Not Sorry was released last summer. The members seemed like they were much more confident in playing their songs. What you get on their studio releases is what you get (and more) when you see them live – from their signature three-part vocal harmonies to their intricate and popp-y instrumentation. And that is exactly what happened at this show. They played songs like “Nightmare,” “Sugarcane,” “Support,” “Like, Seriously?,” and my favorite tune of theirs “Rodeo.”

Around 12:15AM Murderland finally got on stage and this is where the insanity of night really began. The five-piece played some of their older material from Lights Out and Prelude To A Kill, but since the night was about the celebrating their new release a good chunk of their set list was from Splitsville, which included the tracks “Whatever Happened,” “Sadie Hawkins, and “Splitsville.” When they played “Another Homicide” Poli van Dam of The Bombpops and Murderland’s lead singer’s (Mike Kinshella) wife joined the band on stage to sing a part of the song she is featured on in the recorded version. During the breaks between songs a ton of drinking ensued. Mike Kinshella had made a promise to the crowd that during the bridge of one of the songs he would finish a drink that anyone bought him from the bar. Someone did take him up on that deal and brought him a drink with probably the most horrifying name – “LA Water.” But to his credit he did drink the whole thing when he said he would. Anytime time he finished any of his harder drinks he’d kick the plastic cup filled with the remaining ice into crowd and when he was brought a tall can of Pabst Blue Ribbon he chugged some of it and then spray the rest on the crowd. No one seemed to mind because this DIY pop-punk show basically turned into a dance party at that point. With all this debauchery going on Murderland put on a great show. They did not have an issue playing their older material and they blew me away with how well they performed their new songs. I’ve been only to a handful of record release shows and sometimes it is obvious the band did not practice their new material. This was not the case with Murderland at all. Their performance was awesome, but it was also very engaging and incredibly fun.