Cerebral Ballzy at Urban Lounge 06.18 Photo: Peter Anderson
Nothing is worse than a poorly promoted show. It breaks my heart to see a touring band playing to a sparse crowd whose members are more interested in playing Words with Friends on their iPhones than they are with what is happening on stage.
When Cerebral Ballzy came to town in June, they were the opening act for Black Lips. Urban Lounge was packed, and by the time their first song had ended the crowd was energized and ready for a circle pit. Sadly, their show at The Complex on Wed. July 20 would not result in the same rowdy crowd, but Cerebral Ballzy was as dynamic as ever.
This time around the band was opening for H.R. of Bad Brains, which you would assume would draw a mixed crowd of hardcore kids, hippies and burnouts. Unfortunately, it seemed like no one got the message that HR would be in town. When Cerebral Ballzy took the stage shortly before 10:15 there was approximately 30 people in the crowd. Luckily, the dismal crowd had no affect on Cerebral Ballzy’s performance. The set was short, but in the 30 minutes they played they destroyed, and when they ended the staff at The Complex asked them to leave.
Some of the stage antics that made their show at Urban so memorable were not going to be tolerated at The Complex. Chugging whiskey on stage? “Dude that’s so illegal,” one of the security guys said after the show. Front man Honor Titus standing on a table to scale one of the ledges on the interior of the building? He was promptly asked to get down. Smoking a cigarette on stage? Well … nobody even tried to do this at The Complex. Cerebral Ballzy have a “fuck you” attitude on stage and channel the energy of snotty hardcore bands like Circle Jerks, Black Flag and Dead Boys. Watching the venue’s employees systematically shut the band down every time they did something in an attempt to rile up the 30-person crowd was somewhat frustrating.
Although the band didn’t seem to have anything going their way that night, their show was still awe-inspiring. They ripped through tracks from their self-titled album, which is due out July 26 on Adult Swim. The songs are fast, simple and fun—they sing about skateboarding, chicks, drugs, cutting class and puking. It’s lighthearted hardcore without a message. They aren’t reinventing the genre, but they’re breathing some much-needed life into it. Do yourself a favor and check Cerebral Ballzy out the next time they play Salt Lake City.