Lars Frederiksen and The Bastards - live in Birmingham (Cover Artwork)

Lars Frederiksen and The Bastards

live in Birmingham (2004)

live show

Now let me begin by saying the small punk scene rarely gets a show to come through town. We have basically 2 punk venues. A DIY place across town that is more for local bands and every now and again a national act. Then we have Zydeco. It is a big room above a bar with a corner stage and like 4 lights. Recently Zydeco has been hosting about 1 punk show per month. So I commend them for somehow getting Lars to stop by.

When we got to the venue, Lars himself was outside the door handing out stickers and talking to the crowd as they filed in, and I must say he is one of the nicest guys to talk to. Kordova, a local street punk band opened the show flying through about 12 songs in 20 minutes. They sounded pretty advanced for a local band and had their timing down. These guys have really began to rise to the top of the local scene, and what better reward for them than opening this show.

Next were the Briefs. As much as I had heard about them, I have never had a chance to listen to their work. Now I wish I had, because their sound is incredible. From the opening note, you just couldn't resist the urge to pogo to their melodies. The fake accents also made their sound unique. The only songs I can remember are Piss on the Youth, and We Americans, which really got me turned on to these guys. Their set was only about 20 minutes, which was much too short. The crowd got into them during the last few songs, and these guys deserved more time.

After a short break, The HorrorPops took the stage. I will admit that I am not the biggest Horrorpops fan, and I would have rather seen the Nekromantix play this slot as they on some previous Lars shows this summer. However, Patricia and Kim got real into the set and made it fun for the crowd. They said all they have heard about Alabama was that it was boring, but after a kid asked Patricia to bite him, Kim told the crowd "People want us to bite them, oh wow that is really boring!" He kept going on and on about how much they were enjoying playing for such a small rowdy crowd. The set itself was in fact a good one, and it won me as well as the rest of the crowd over. Selections included (in no order) Mis Take, Ghouls, Kool Flattop, Psychobillys Out of Hell, and Drama Queen. They closed out with a cover of Billy Idol's Rebel Yell, with Kim taking over the bass duties.

To close out the night, Lars and his Bastards wondered out on stage before the crowd of 200 (no joke, that is being generous with the number). He starred off by saying that instead of yelling and doing the whole CD intro thing, he wanted to tell us that Tim will call him tonight and ask how the show went, and he will not be afraid to tell him if it sucks. So since he has waited 12 years to come here, we'd better be hanging from the rafters by the end of his set. This may have been a mistake however, since people here try a little too hard to impress visiting bands, because no sooner than the band launced into Dead American, 3 kids were hanging from the rafters and it looked like the roof was about to cave in. From there they went into Anti Social, and had to stop to tell everyone to move back because Lars thought things were getting unsafe. Then the set continued with the huge sing along of To Have and Have Not. Next came a sampling of the new material complete with circle pits and airborne beer. Lars had to stop again and tell people to quit hitting the mic stand, because once someone hit him in the mouth with it and he lost a tooth. Army of Zombies came next followed by a mix including a new song called Bastards, Wine and Roses, Campbell, Leavin Here and a Motorhead cover which he introduced as a song about a girl. Some kid yelled "and she was dope sick!" This prompted Lars to sing the first verse of Dope Sick Girl with the crowd. The set closed with Skunx, which Lars dedicated to Joe Strummer as he lit a St. Joe Strummer candle and his brother and friends who have passed away. A short encore followed with 6 ft 5, during which someone up front did something to piss of Lars and get him to smack their arm away from him. The encore ended with Vietnam and a great solo by Lars.

All in all this show was great, however I was dissapointed with the turn out and the idiot up front pissing off Lars like 3 times, which sort of ruined the whole positive vibe that was going for the rest of the show. When everything was over, the venue announced Less Than Jake was coming in July, which is the biggest punk type band to play this venue so far. Maybe the scene is trying to grow here in Birmingham...who knows?