There was more of an underground metal/hardcore vibe at Vaudeville Mews than usual. There was a huge merch area with a lot of distro stuff set up, which got me thinking about the what the difference between this kind underground/punk commerce and the usual commercialism we all see all the time. It’s a different vibe, a grass-roots, bazaar kind of thing, but there was definitely a lot more money being exchanged for stuff than what you typically see at an indie rock show, which was interesting and seemed like a positive thing overall.
The first four acts got set up and torn down super fast, even adjusting for the fact that Die Mutts and The Creepy Kids shared a bassist and Catheter and Black Market Fetus shared a drummer, or maybe just the drums, and all kept their sets rather short, being just as excited to get D.R.I. on the stage as anyone in the crowd was.
Die Mutts and The Creepy Kids (who are way too old to be calling themselves The anything “Kids”) both had a pretty basic fast punk rock or old-school hardcore sound. Both have been around a good long time, such that, even adjusting for the relative simplicity of the music style, their playing was tight. In modern punk I think a lot of the job of giving the music some texture and sonic interest falls to the bassist, and the bassist that played in both bands was on it, probably my favorite aspect of that part of the show.
Catheter are from Denver I think? They do a kind of death-metal-influenced grindcore thing with low-tuned sludgy guitar sounds, growl vocals, short songs, breakneck switches between slow parts and blastbeats. Sort of reminded me of when I first heard Suppression on cassette back in ’93. Quite good. Nate Fetus used to sing for them for a while, and did a song or two with them at the show. These kind of vocals can seem sort of silly, but I’m less likely these days to be down on a band for using them, even if I don’t always entirely get it myself. I enjoyed their set. For as long as they’ve been around and as much as I’ve heard about them over the years, this was the first time I’ve gotten to see them live.
The wild raucous fun energy of Poison Control Center’s shows is often mentioned in press about them, and everything they say is true. But less talked about is that another central Iowa band, Black Market Fetus, are capable of inspiring just as much frenzy. Their set was nuts with stage-diving and the crowd yelling all the lyrics along. Musically they’re more metal than the punkier opening bands but more punk rock sounding than even much of D.R.I.’s material.
D.R.I. had a [nice](http://092.me) long set. They must have worked through something like two-thirds of their entire discography. I listened to a lot of D.R.I.’s albums in the couple weeks before the show, kind of puzzling this out, and I think their more metal-sounding stuff post-_Dealing With It!_ is sometimes criticized unfairly, especially by us indie types. All their material was going over well with this crowd, and with me as well. Perhaps the crossover they started is only really starting to be understood now, or maybe it’s a matter of some things working better live. This band is going on 30 years together; sure, they started young, but they aren’t lacking for energy in any respect. It was good times.
Got to hang out with Andy K a little bit too, which was cool. We’ll have to get together again sometime when we can talk more.