Muffs' Bassist Ronnie Barnett

Moshing and Muffs Diving

The Muffs
with Huevos Rancheros and Maow
The Starfish Room
Vancouver, B.C.
March 21, 1996

Review by P. Freako
Photography by Paul Clarke

Maow opened this show. Maow (formerly Meow -- go figure) is a local band that likes to dress up in catsuits and play crappy pop songs. Oh, what a surprise, their cuddlecore style of music failed to impress yet again. Next.

Brent Cooper Calgary trio Huevos Rancheros grabbed the stage next. From the opening note they were on the mark. Huevos is one of those rare rock bands that can hold your attention with just pure instrumentals. Their surf-rock style of music is entertaining and barrels of fun to listen to. Tom was on bass tonight, filling in for the departed Graham Evans. Tom performed most admirably. Guitarist Brent Cooper, from start to finish, played with a leer in his voice (okay, so he didn't actually sing...) and an anger in his loins. He's a fantastic guitar player and he had that baby emoting notes of joy and passion all night long. Huevos played a host of songs from their current release Dig In, as well as older stuff like that Canadian classic "Gump Worsley's Lament." Drummer Richie Lazarowich kept the string-happy Brent and Tom in perfect time, enabling Brent to roam off and explore the surf-guitar space dimension all the while wearing an apparently permanent evil little grin.

Every time I see Huevos they get just a little bit heavier, with a fuller sound emanating forth. They seem to have defined themselves a little more every time and tonight was no exception. This was a good solid performance. And we were fortunate enough to be guinea pigs for a couple of fresh tunes this evening, too. "Night of the Iguana" and "Shadow of the Apache" both brought a more intense guitar vibe than from previous songs. With the room at about three-quarters capacity, we the guinea pigs felt so pleased and special to be there. If the new songs are any indication, the next album is going to be worth a listen or 50.

Muffs' Bassist Ronnie Barnett The Muffs have been here before as a foursome and now are whittled down to a threesome, seemingly no worse for it. Kim Shattuck held down singing and guitar duties with both vigour and intensity throughout the evening. Hey kids, forget Courtney Love: Kim Shattuck screams and wails with ultimate supremacy and she did it all night long. Ronnie Barnett was a madman on bass, taking him all of two songs before he was jumpin' around the stage and launching himself backwards into the crowd. Roy McDonald was the drumman behind the mayhem. He just kept that beat goin' on and on.

Overall, The Muffs' live show is akin to an underground groove-filled powder punk thing. Their stage presence rocks. For three individuals, they make this aspect of their gig known in a big hurry and look Kim Shattuck like they're having a blast doing it, which wasn't lost on the crowd, ostensibly admirers of all that isn't mainstream. The standout song of the show for me was definitely "Ethyl My Love" from the band's latest release, Blonder and Blonder. The bass groove and vocals just kick you in the head -- but in a positive kinda way. After that ditty, the moshing and surfing were well under way and everybody was immersed in the set.

Well, except this one Psycho-Woman who was yelling out about something or other. Like I said, not exactly mainstream... As I left the show, Psycho-Woman was scuffling with another woman who was shouting "Just leave me alone!" Now whoever out there thinks that two women fighting is a sexy thing watches far too much TV, because, let me tell ya, it's wasn't a pretty thing.

Anyway, Maow, I just don't get it. Huevos Rancheros were awesome. The Muffs did not disappoint and they left us all feelin' pretty damn good. 'Cept for maybe Psycho-Woman...

First published in Drop-D Magazine on April 4, 1996

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