The Cramps / Gore Gore Girls - live in Washington, D.C. (Cover Artwork)

The Cramps / Gore Gore Girls

live in Washington, D.C. (2004)

live show

The theme of the night was women in rock and dispelling the stigma that women aren't as talented as men and can't succeed in the world of rock. If The Cramps and the Gore Gore Girls had anything to say about it, they proved tonight that the women rock as hard, if not harder than the guys. The 9:30 Club was packed and I would say it was one of the most diverse crowds I'd ever seen. Given that it was the legendary Cramps playing tonight, it was to be expected that the age range would climb but it was still strange to see. It was the first time I was probably one of the younger people in the crowd. You had everyone from balding 40 year old guys wearing tight leather outfits to the leather clad Mohican punks to preppies to just plain normal looking people. With that said, everybody was there to see the Cramps.

I missed the opening act Shortstack. But I did see the next act, the all girl band from Detroit, the Gore Gore Girls and I'm glad I did. Four attractive women looking like they just stepped out of a 60's time-warp in mini skirts and go-go boots came out to a few whistles. But they proceeded to destroy any notions that this would be just a novelty act. I've heard their style described as a mix between the Stooges, the Ronettes, and Detroit Motown and I'd say it was pretty accurate. Although their sound is retro, I wouldn't quite stick them in with the current garage band movement. They do an excellent job of fusing rock and R&B with a slight raw, punk edge which made for a fun and enjoyable set that the crowd seemed to appreciate. The band was relentless in driving the music not only its tight two guitar interplay and attack, but also as it moved straight from one song to the next without pausing. The lead singer was having a great time on stage, just wailing away at her guitar. The only hitch in their set was the bass player taking a nasty spill on stage but she was OK. And after ending on the only song I knew from their catalog, "Astral Man," their 40 minute set was over before I knew it. A good band I'll be looking more into.

The wait for the Cramps was 20 minutes and it was an agonizingly long 20 minutes as the crowd was waiting in anticipation. The club was packed and people started to crowd up front. The huge Cramps banner was already down and now we were waiting for the punk/rockabilly/psychobilly legends to get out on stage. And almost right on call, a fight broke out moments before the Cramps hit the stage (it wouldn't be a punk show without one). Security quickly dealt with the drunken idiot as quickly as they dealt with one poor woman later in the show who attempted to crowdsurf. And then there they were, Lux, Poison Ivy, Chopper Franklin and Buster Bateman all decked out in crazy black spandex outfits, tattoos, and pompadours. For a band well into their 40's, they just seemed to exude a cool rock n roll vibe from every pore of their body. It certainly is a well deserved credit to the band and their loyal fan base that they could start from CBGB's almost 30 years ago and still be here today rocking.

The first note from Ivy blasted from the speakers and it was on. The punks in the crowd started a slam pit that continued all night while onlookers nearby looked very annoyed. They played some of my favorites including "Primitive," "Caveman," "Psychotic Reaction," "TV Set," "Let's Get Fucked Up" and "Can Your Pussy do the Dog." Lux looks like he could be a grandfather but age belies behavior as he was reduced to a teenager. He was in great spirits tonight and having a lot of fun. Lux's banter with the audience was both hilarious and confusing as everything he said made absolutely no sense. But hey, its something that can only happen during a Cramps set. At one point, he held up a TV guide and started to read a fake article that he made up inside. He did everything from crawling onto the speakers, swinging the mic around like a maniac, giving the mic what seemed like to me was a blowjob, taking occasional chugs from a bottle of wine, and asking the crowd to vote for him for president. The rest of the band was not nearly as interactive and almost looked bored. At times, Lux would have the crowd laughing with some crazy joke and the rest of the band would just kind of stare blankly as if to say "We're used to this…yawn." What was not boring was the band's performance and being my first time seeing the Cramps, I was impressed. Ivy, isn't the most energetic guitar player. Nevertheless she mastered her guitar and gave us the Cramps signature psychobilly sound. Chopper held up his own end with great work on his guitar as well. After one encore, the Cramps called it a night and I could proudly cross this band off my "Bands I must see before I die" list.