The Eradicator / Bong Mountain - Live in Grand Rapids (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

The Eradicator / Bong Mountain

Live in Grand Rapids (2019)

live show

The Eradicator (the man), has a deep connection to Grand Rapids. It was not exactly surprising that the city got a release show for his new record, Peak Eradicator. I counted no less than eight GR musicians who had previously played in The Eradicator (the band). He also runs a small label that put out the sole full length from local favorites, and show opener, Bong Mountain. The show, part of a long weekend of release shows, and leading up to a trip to Fest, was at the Pyramid Scheme in downtown Grand Rapids on Thursday, October 24th.

We showed up too late to catch local opener Ugly Flannel, but as usual, they drew an army of young, excitable fans. (We’ll discuss this in more detail shortly.) We did catch Charlotte, North Carolina’s Dollar Signs, who were also on their way to Fest. They are a five piece of older guys (I’m guessing 35 plus) who play a ramshackle blend of punk and ska. Most of the songs seemed to be about drinking too much and being aging underachievers. While that might not sound all that appealing on paper, in reality it was a lot of fun.

Back to the very young crowd. Rather than taking off as soon as their friends were done, which sometimes happens, they hung around for most of the night and made the show more fun for everyone. During Dollar Signs’ set, they were pogoing like made. It’s like they learned to dance from watching a Sex Pistols documentary. I hadn’t seen that much jumping up and down in quite a while. Then they formed a conga line! Not very punk, but very entertaining. There were literally four of us over 40 at the show, and of course, we all knew one another.

Bong Mountain played their typical, sloppy but inspired set. Great words combined with great riffs, and the crowd was hanging on every note. BM doesn’t play locally all that often, and usually manage to pull in an enthusiastic audience. Every song was a sing along. They played a few newer songs, including “Best Weed on the Internet”. They’ve been teasing us with songs on various comps, as we patiently wait for that second LP. Old favorites like “Pariah Carey”, “26 Caroline” and “Why You So Short?” were met with roars of approval. Bong Mountain has managed to make a pretty good name for themselves outside of their hometown, and they were also on their way to Fest.

Between the last two bands, comedian Derek Lee Feltner did a brief set of comedy. While I don’t remember any of his jokes, I found him mostly amusing. The bands all did relatively short sets anyway, but it was still cool to have something break things up a bit.

Speaking of comedy, it was finally time for The Eradicator to storm the stage. As usual, he entered from the rear of the crowd and climbed on stage. He was dressed in his finest white shorts and pink polo shirt. His shoes were also white, as were his knee length socks. Of course, he was wearing a black ski mask and wildly swinging his squash racket. For the five of you who don’t already know, The Eradicator (the man and the band) is based on a skit from the late ‘80s/early ‘90s Canadian sketch comedy show Kids in the Hall. The Eradicator is a self unaware, squash (the racket sport) obsessed maniac.

The act is part comedy, part performance art and part punk show. The band was made up of longtime bassist and current Australian resident Ryan, who came back to the states for the tour, guitarists Kole and Taylor from The Bloody Lips/The Lippies, and drummer Athen from The Bloody Lips/Ugly Flannel/Boob Sweat. (The Bong boys have also been known to moonlight as The Eradicator band.) Minimal practice time didn’t stop them from tearing through a bunch of songs, old and new.

As a matter of fact, the set was divided between new songs like “I’mma Be Me” and “Peak Eradicator”, and older favorites like “I Am The Eradicator” and “Squash Queen”. Sort of like GWAR, you don’t even need to know the songs to enjoy the performance. I’ve been fortunate enough to have seen The Eradicator a bunch of times (and have even gotten to know the man behind the mask a little bit). The shows are always fun. Check him out if he comes to a court near you.