Concert Reviews: July 1993
Insatiable, King Apparatus and Skankin’ Pickle
June 1 @ Murray Park
Unbelievable the “no show” of headliners Skankin Pickle from this three band outdoor ska turned out to be good news. The absence of the Bay area Pickles left more time for the lesser-known openers to shine.
Locals Insatiable started the festivities with a short 30 minute set that played up to their strengths and showcased the better tunes from their self-titled release.
Happily, the eight piece group downplayed the soul and funk and eschewed cover songs. In addition, Insatiable numbers occasionally drone on, but not so with their first set.The songs were all punchy and danceable and proved to be an extremely pleasant surprise. If the band continue to move in this direction, then future appearances will be eagerly awaited (although those who stayed for Insatiable second set reported the band fell into earlier bad habits).
The highlight of the evening, though, was definitely Canada’s King Apparatus. while their previous Utah appearance was at a sparsely attended Bar and Grill show last year. Apparatus may have generated a number of new Utah fans.
The group’s guitar-driven brand of ska had the minuscule pit area filled by skanking revelers. In addition, the space left by Pickle’s vacancy allowed the group to play all of their best songs, some of which were left out of their abbreviated first set.
Lead singer Chris Murray launched from song to song, lending his distinctive croon to numbers like “Made for T.V.,” “Live Feed From Heaven” (a swipe at television evangelists), and “Heartless.”
Guitarists Sam Tallo and Paul Ruston definitely stole the evening, however, with their virtuosity. Ruston, in particular, was outstanding as he circled the stage area during the band’s fastest number “Death Car On the Freeway.”
The band’s repertoire spanned their early 7” material, their self-titled debut album, and their as-yet-unreleased second album and included the amusing but honest “Buy Our Stuff.”
As for Skankin’ Pickle… well, their bus broke down on route to the venue. But, strangely, they weren’t missed. Funny. —Scott Vice
Frank Black and Reverend Horton Heat
June 2 At Club DV8
Reverend Horton Heat recently came through Salt Lake on the Frank Black tour thing. The Rev being the opening band there on.
Completely fucking hip. Psychobilly at its finest, firmest and hardest. It is safe to say I put new batteries in my dildo for this one.
I like this band much more live! Oh what a feeling! I implore you to check out their albums.
They came on stage quietly and when the lights came on and the band started playing, I swear I saw Elvis. “Lonesome Train Whistle” was the first song I thought of, but I was a bit stunned by the bright lights. The Rev. played a lot of stuff off both their albums. They even got an encore from the crowd! “400 bucks,” “I’m Mad” and “Nature your pig” were some of the memorable ones.
The Reverend tied me to my bedpost the whole set. Oh god it was good. —Chopper
Honest Engine and Mayberry
June 9 @ Bar and Grill
There are a lot of smaller bands in Salt Lake that get very little said about them. So I decided to head to the Bar and Grill to hear something new. Headlining this event was a local band called Honest Engine. I had never even heard of these guys before, but they sure had somethin’ going on. Sort of a fusion between funk and metal,and a trace(and no more)of that there grunge sound we all know. The sound was fresher than a lot of bands I’m hearing today, and I liked it a good deal. Upbeat music and melodic vocals. Cool. The crowd got into them, too. (or maybe it was just because of the fifty cent drafts.)
Opening up the show was the band Mayberry, who I was going to see in the first place. I had seen these guys once before at Club Starzz, and had heard them on the Salt Flat CD. These guys are a good band, but were also victims of circumstance that night. They played as well as they always do, but the P.A., which really sucked, kinda gave out on them mid-way through their short set, which did their sound no justice, and made their vocalist Ryan sound like Al Jourgensen. He was also having problems with his guitar, and had to put it down for the last half of the set. You could tell they were trying trying to make the best of a shitty situation, and were just fucking around, and trying to have fun.
No harm done, they’ve played a lot better in the past, and will in the future gigs, I’m sure. And put out some new material on tape, you guys! I’m sure we’ll be hearing more from these two up-and-coming bands in the future, hopefully in SLUG or in recorded format of some kind. They both deserve more recognition. —Smith Reid
Stretch Armstrong and Buck-O-Nine
June 5 @ Meridian School
The state’s best unsigned act, Stretch Armstrong, once again proved a spectacular show, opening for San Diego’s Buck-O-Nine in a sparsely attended show in Provo.
Stretch’s Scottie Van Wagnen wobbled from number-to-number, serving up Stretch’s best material (and then some). The band opened with the delightful “Borisoglebaska” as the rhythm danced onto the stage accompanied by that songs Russian-flavored opening strains.
Stretch was soon launched into song-after-fast-song and included a few new tunes, the most notable of which were “Rainy Day” (featuring talented saxophonist Rachelle Jessee on vocals—which she accomplished remarkably well) and “Dirty Little Slut.
But the group also played the best of their earlier material, from “No Room For Hate” (a plea for tolerance rendered outstanding by an extended instrumental conclusion) to “T.B.T.F.” to the band’s best tun, the angst-ridden “Pain.” Also included were covers of “Charlie Brown” (enlivened by “Ska Bob” Walter’s guest appearance and trombonist Mr. Lee’s imitation of the “Peanuts” adults).
Stretch then made way for the six-piece Buck-O-Nine, a relatively )and undeservedly obscure) California band that played an outstanding set comprised of songs off their Buck Naked Cassette, cand covers of Operation Ivy’ “Sound System” and the Clash’s “Wrong Em Boyo.”
Buck-O-Nine’s strength lies in the group’s flippant attitude, reflected in a cruel song aimed at no-talented musician Jon Bon Jovi and “A Few Too Many,” dedicated to those of us who’ve occasionally overindulged in spirits and made asses of ourselves.
The band scarcely missed a beat, despite the fact that the drummer had worked early in the day and took a late flight to Utah. In fact, while Buck-O-Nine’s sound is rather restrained on tape, the group was exceedingly powerful and fast on stage.
Promoter Bob Walter planned this as the first of a series this summer, so hopefully future concerts will be better attended to encourage the idea. —Scott Vice