Mooncult, Superbean, The Schizophonics At Havard & Stone, Thursday June 15th 2017
There was a very special rocking night at Havard & Stone hosted by the Warlocks’ frontman himself, Bobby Hecksher, and if I went there to see once again the mind-blowing Schizophonics, I arrived just in the middle of Mooncult’s set.
Fronted by the very pretty and very-well-named Raven Mystere – who is accurately described as Nico meets Kim Gordon – the band filled the place with a lugubrious sound, vigorously shaken by David Branscomb’s drumming and Kevin Weigand’s mean bass. However, all the songs were mostly driven by Raven’s monochord croon, raising way above the fuzz of the fast guitar played by Lightning Malone. Their brand of goth punk was darkness in full bloom with a sort of don’t-give-a-fuck attitude, the kind of music to make you join a cult on a full moon night, the type of songs to make you go howling your pain with the coyotes, far in the desert. No wonder that Mr. Warlocks himself had picked this band to open the night, it pleased please his dark-psychedelia-worshipper type of crowd, and if I only saw a few songs from the band, I bet we should hear from Mooncult soon.
Superbean was a complete change of attitude and atmosphere and a fun set if I had seen one. The trio played a series of catchy power-pop-rock songs with a sort of retro-ish sound and plenty of funny faces. The band seems relatively new but features music veterans with Steve Moramarco (Abe Lincoln Story) on guitar, Fred Oliva on bass and Rick Woodard on drums, who were in the band Velouria, a popular group in the 90s Silverlake scene. With Superbean, the super hero was not too far away and their Batman-series-meets-the-Kinks happy songs could go from the hilarious bullet-punk-rock tune called ‘Fuck Youth’ to fuzzy sing-alongs, always played in the upbeat seat with Elvis-Costello-type explosive guitars. Their set was a mood-booster, and their cartoonish pauses and faces couldn’t have been more well received by the crowd.
I saw the Schizophonics at Save Music in Chinatown a few weeks ago, and I was blown away by their live show. I still don’t understand how they manage to maintain this amount of energy all set long. It’s an insane, restless, dangerous and acrobatic workout, the Schizophonics are the essence of rock and roll, and no other band can follow such an act. Their unstoppable blues-rock mayhem tops anything I have seen live, and I still can’t make sense of Pat Beers’ constant kneeling down, jumping, bouncing while the whole band unleashes a rock ‘n’ roll fury as you have never seen one… There are bits of James Brown in his moves (even large chunks), while the names of MC5, the Stooges, Little Richard and Jimi Hendrix have been thrown at his restless body, but any comparison would not make sense of the super-hyper energy you only have to witness live to believe it. It’s simply astonishing to think that Beers can still play guitar while gesticulating in all directions and gyrating all over the place. However their raucous psych-rock-bluesy sound infused with an electrifying soul and Beers’ yelping-wailing are in constant synch with his insane moves, while his bandmates, Lety Beers on drums and Brian Reilly on bass, follow the chaos to add another layer of energy,… if it is even possible. May be I should find other words than electrifying and explosive to describe such a show, this shocks you beyond these simple words, it rearranges all your synapses in a different way, and you may want to join the mayhem when Beers rolls his back and hits the crowd with the neck of his guitar or climbs the fireman pole to get at the top of a tiny mezzanine located on the side of the venue. Of course, he never stopped playing during the entire operation. It was heavy, freakish, liberating and totally insane and while they brought up to mind all these famous heavy-hitters of the past, the Schizophonics are one of the kind. They wake up all the ghosts and demons of rock ‘n’ roll with their galvanizing fuzzed-out riffs, and they give a new name to untamed rock performance while celebrating the 70’s hard rock history.