Boomtown Rats, I Don’t Like Mondays

When I first heard this song it was way more punk rock than most punk rock, thematically if not sonically.

When I was in high school I fantasized about blowing the whole place up. Didn’t we all?

This is the conceit of the movie Rock ‘n’ Roll High School, isn’t it?

But the Boomtown Rats endure, and are important and their initial joust doesn’t say much about gun violence, but it sure does crank on the dynamics of mental health and violence and our lives.

Dream Syndicate, Still Holding On To You

They came from LA in 1983. Jon Pareles, NY Times rock critic then and now, wrote about their show at the Mudd Club. They did indeed do a fine job imitating the Velvet Underground back then, as I learned a few days later at their show at Gerdes Folk City.

Their second album, Medicine Show, was produced by Sandy Pearlman, of Blue Oyster Cult fame, who had a few years had produced the Clash’s Give ‘Em Enough Rope. Medicine Show sounds harder than Days of Wine and Roses, their debut. I put the record on the other day, for the first time in probably 30 years and liked this one right off the bat.

 

Richard Hell and the Voidoids, Walking on the Water

The lone cover from the band’s debut elpee, Blank Generation, seemed unlikely. Creedence? Until you hear it.

The Voidoids take the pounding rhythm from the original, cut the running time in half by getting rid of a long instrumental break in the middle, and replace John Fogarty’s growling defiance with Hell’s skreechy pleading. Different approach to the guitar solos, too. It works.

Bo-Peep Record Release Party in NYC.

Our friend Walker invited us to a short show by Bo-Peep, who promised some nuevo punk sounds from Fukuoka Japan. And saki, wine and sandwiches. The band was invited to the states by two guys, one of whom Walker knows, who paid their way over and set them up with some shows in Brooklyn over the weekend (including at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s cherry blossom festival, the blossoms will be rocking).

The place was an empty store on 8th Street in Greenwich Village, which is serving now as an art gallery, and the vibe was heterogenous, consisting mostly of young Asians, mostly women, and old American rockers. You can read what Bo-Peep has to say for themselves here, at their website.

I thought the band was terrific. This is high energy rock, but every song has musical ideas in it that make it stand out from the others. One tune had the pulsing drive of Golden Earring’s Radar Love, others had the straight-ahead drive of the Ramones. Others get a little herky-jerky, like this one from their album Vibe, which reminds me of Karen Oh’s band, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Live the vocals were a little undermiked, but the group’s dynamics comes across in this music video.

Here’s a cut of live footage with a studio version of another song.

Final note: The band had a little Pee Wee Herman doll sitting on the front of the stage. Don’t know why, but it made me think of Moyer.