Review by Alphonse Leong
Photography by Rodney Gitzel
First up, Trike Wipeout, who struck me a bit like Rollins Band with a little more charm and a lot less attitude. Sure, the singer still shouted himself hoarse and there was that chainsaw guitar, but you didn't want to strangle them. And they had cool baseball team-like stickers that they had made just the day before.
Then the real fun began, as Blammo went all-out (or at least $250 worth) in the visual effects department, even bringing on three girls (the Blammettes!) in provocative nurse outfits to do backup vocals (though they mostly just danced and flailed around). When these nurses got sullied with "blood" (pumpkin guts, food colouring and cornstarch, I was told) halfway through the set, it totally obliterated the memory of that sweet nurse I knew when I was eight...
The band's singer came onstage in a fire suit (with helmet a-flame, of course), turned out to be painted silver end-to-end and, by the last song, was clad only in a pumpkin-stained G-string (I'll leave it to you to figure out how it got stained). With all the fire-breathing and muck-tossing going on -- not to forget the flash bombs, the spark-spewing guitars, the flaming cymbals, etc., etc. -- it was hard to get a handle on the music, but I do recall a lot of yelling and churning guitars.
Though they had the least theatrics, Hissy Fit made the biggest musical impact. Quite accurately dressed up as a slimmer version of Xena the Warrior Princess, vocalist/guitarist Gisele Grignet was in fine form, delivering her trademark tortured rasp and tossing out Halloween treats to the audience. She was really energetic on guitar, too, attacking it like she really was a swashbuckler from another land! A newer tune called "For the Boys" stood out and featured crisp, understated guitar work from Terry Armstrong. And with the frenetic tempo of the songs, I don't know how drummer Scott Wong made it through the whole set with a huge space-creature mask on his head!
Like KISS, final act JP5 had a bellicose guy to introduce them, except this guy was ten times more annoying and he stuck around through the whole performance. He didn't ruin it, though: the band turned in a peculiarly entertaining set. Peculiar because the musicianship and material weren't great, but there was an undeniable appeal to how vocalist Gerry-Jenn Wilson and bassist Ms. Liguaya (nicely attired in a Wonder Woman costume) ran their show.
With a voice that brings Fran Drescher to mind, Wilson didn't really sing her lyrics as much as she just "declared" them. Her real focus was moving around and doing odd things, like perching on the bass drum, holding up signs or just preening like a drunken -- and eventually very blood-soaked -- Vegas showgirl. She never seemed self-conscious; it was like watching a toddler at play. That is, if you overlooked the slinky, demented nurse uniform she was wearing. "Accident Prone" was a memorable and chunky guitar number -- appropriate, too, as Wilson nearly crashed into the drum kit!
It was a show that overloaded your senses -- and it reminded me of why I never hung around with the egg-throwing kids on Hallowe'en night.
Sound like fun? Blammo (and the Blammettes, of course) are planning something even greater for their Christmas show. Be at the Brickyard on Saturday, December 20th, if you dare!
And for more visual carnage, check out this other page of photos from the show...
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