Saturday, January 11, 2014
REVIEW: Johnny Revolting @ Nietzsches, 1/10/13
Punk's not dead...it just needs occasional breaks to stretch and catch its breath! Buffalo's own Johnny Revolting, celebrating 20 years as a band, tore through a set of fiery Left Coast-inspired punk with abandon on Friday night and the older-skewing Nietzsche's crowd (seemingly filled with friends and longtime fans) lapped it up and cheered along. For a band that only gigs occasionally, these guys' chops are still in evidence. The set was a nice blend of "greatest hits" and covers and it's a testament to the band that the former outshone some of the latter (though it's nigh on impossible to NOT enjoy a roughed-up cover of the Go-Gos' 1982 megahit "Vacation"). The band wear their influences on their sleeves, favoring bratty, tuneful punk from the Descendents/Adolescents/Dictators school and the effect of Bill Stevenson's songwriting is all over their catalog - additionally, the inclusion of the Misfits' "Astro Zombies" and a warm-up run through Bad Religion's "Do What You Want" give you a sense of their melodic priorities. Simply put, the playing was fierce (particularly Brian Young's astounding basslines and Andy Boehmer's solid drumming), and the songs had all the scatological hallmarks of the best punk tunes.
Two notes: the efforts of the Nietzsche's staff to quash the small group of guys and gals slam dancing up front was disheartening. This is a goddamn punk show! The band were perfectly suited to the climes of the venue (far more so than their last show at the cavernous and soulless Waiting Room), so let's hope that in the future the staff allows the crowd the ability to express itself more freely. Additionally, the one and only criticism of the band's performance was the pacing of the show...their banter is hilarious, but the songs might have been better served by simply plowing through more of them in a row ala the Ramones. The breaks broke up the intensity a bit. These are minor quibbles, though, and all punk bands should sound as fresh and tight 20 years on...viva middle-age hardcore! BALLS!