September 1990 - Issue 21 SLUG Magazine masthead

The Metal Scene: FM Radio Burnout – Baton Rouge w/ Cirkus 


Well, another night at the Speedway Cafe. July 27th saw Cirkus opening for Baton Rouge. A large crowd showed up, which was encouraging to see, however we felt that evening could have been better spent at home drinking and listening to the tapes of these bands than waiting for thirty minutes to get in to hear bubblegum rule the night.

Cirkus did present a fine stage presence and worked the crowd well, preparing them for Baton Rouge. They showed professionalism in the way they worked together and used the available stage space. It also seemed that they understood their role as the warm-up band and didn’t try to upstage the headliners.

Musically speaking, this band is very good, very tight, although most of what we heard seems to be inspired by Jon Bon Jovi (Anchovy) and mostly suited to the FM radio, listened to by the twelve to fifteen year old group. The basic scheme of the lyrics followed the archaic formula of boy meets girl—boy inserts penis—girl leaves boy—boy cries “please don’t go, you’re my only true love,” ad nauseam. The music is definitely listenable but it tends to get old fast.

Baton Rouge took the stage after an interminable delay during which the females in the audience were invited to parade their bodies to the catcalls and whistles of the crowd. Raw energy flowed from Baton Rouge whilst on stage. The bassist slung his instrument around as though it were just a toy, all the time not missing a beat. The keyboardist showed versatility by doubling on rhythm axr for the majority of the set.

The vocal proportion of the show was, to say the least, a disappointment. The singer appeared to be there only to sing out the singular verses of each song, with the rest of the band singing the choruses. At this we would have to say the band was repetitive, but redundancy can be fun. At times, Baton Rouge resembled INXS with their lyrical content and repetitious chorals.

The crowd (we would estimate at about 300 or so) went absolutely berserk for “Walk Like a Woman” but other than that, the overall mood was one of indifference. The men were there to scope the women, and the women were there to be scoped by the men. Midway through the set, the band seemed to lose interest, almost though they were saving energy for later dates on the tour. They could be a very good band instead of just another FM fodder group if only they explored new territory rather than remaining in areas already overexposed by their predecessors. We would hire them for a private party, where the crowd needs music in the background instead of thought-provoking musical expression. If this band were an NBA team, they would almost have to be the Houston Rockets or the Cleveland Cavaliers. Good, but not all that good. Dangerous, and capable of being among the elite, but all the necessary pieces are not quite there yet.

Overall ratings: Cirkus—One Headbang, a sixer of Miller, and rustle horns some. (You’re good but try some originality)

Baton Rouge—One and One-half headbang and a quart. The quart is just to wash the bad taste out of your mouth that this band leaves you with. They need an attitude adjustment for starters. That may be all that stands between them and the next plateau. Try European audiences and stay away from Los Angeles. Bad Vibes. European bands make music to make music, American bands make music to make money. The end result is seen in the crowds and how they react to the sound they hear. 

Check out these other archived concert reviews:
My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult & Idaho Syndrome 04.26 @ Speedway Cafe
Punky Reggae Party: Toots @ The Speedway 05.20