Darkness and a fog machine – that was pretty much what the stage at Alphaville was last Wednesday. Oh yeah, and searing throwback rock that cut down to the bone courtesy of The Glazzies, Dead Stars, and Grim Streaker.
First up was the punk thrash speed cycle that is Grim Streaker. By the time they took the stage, the fog machine was in overdrive. The only thing strong enough to pierce the velvet clouds, Amelia Bushell’s howls. Grim Streaker rages with the ferocity of the D.C. punk scene of my youth – all speed chords, and two minutes to rage and shred on stage. She zoomed across Alphaville’s tiny stage frantically whipping her hair around as she interacted with her band mates. From the opening “OH!” howl on their debut single ‘Guts’, you feel a ferocious punk presence, one that’s just getting started.
Dead Stars continued turning the dial on the way back machine as they brought out their arsenal of 90’s tinged power punk pop. They threw fuzzy guitars and driving drum beats at the crowd all set long. Their secret sauce is their hooks and harmonies that make for singles that would’ve occupied the space on radio – fitting into that space between the alternative wave of the early nineties, you know the one, right before boy bands and pop princesses became all the rage. Their set kept ratcheting up, powered by Jeff Moore’s fuzz-filled chords and John Watterberg’s pulsing bass lines.
The nostalgia continued with the Glazzies and their grunge filled retro-rock. From their opening guitar riffs (and baselines you’ll hear on the album), you’ll instantly feel something akin to the first time someone brought their ‘Nevermind’ cassette to homeroom. Lead singer/guitarist, Peter Landi, and drummer, Dave Horn, have been friends since the fourth grade and are making the music of their youth without imitating it. The Glazzies sound definitely evokes the angst and longing that was all over the airwaves and MTV in the early 90s, but their sound isn’t just an homage that just leads to bands becoming punch lines – these are two musicians who know the musical history and structures that led to that sound, and are pushing to reinvent it for a new audience and era.
They may not move much on stage, unlike the heroes of their youth, instead it’s their sound that is the whirling dervish cutting through the audience. This was the first night of their spring tour, and it relied heavily on tracks from their debut album ‘Kill Me Kindly’ with, for good measure, a couple new tracks thrown in. I can’t wait for them to fill out the live band with a bassist and rhythm guitarist to fully bring forth the complete sounds of their recorded tracks.
Article: Omar Kasrawi