Vegetable, Handicapitalist, Firebrand, Dick Janitor @ Raunch 06.29

Posted July 6, 2011 in

Vegetable at Raunch. Photo: Jesse Tucker
The shows that Raunch Records hosts are consistently solid. The crowd is energetic and colorful, the bands kick ass and proprietor Brad Collins is a friendly, genuine dude. The audience, who had filed in to listen to Handicapitalist, Dick Janitor, Firebrand and Vegetable, didn't know it at the time, but in the back parking lot of Raunch Records there was a sinister car full of kids who probably deserved a fine stomping. Both horrifying and darkly intriguing, like a scene from a Harmony Korine film, for some reason they were armed with, no joke, an Igloo cooler full of dead cats. What a carload of cat killers was doing outside of the show was a total mystery becausenow I'm a vegetarian pacifist who has never killed anything bigger than a cockroach, so maybe I'm wrongthere is no possible way that any amount of sad and bizarre animal cruelty could have provided any more excitement than seeing these four bands did. Much thanks to Raunch for the wonderful evening, and may all heathen cat murderers get what's coming to them.

Handicapitalist, which includes members of Folk Hogan and Blitzkrieg Witchcraft, got the night going. They started with their song "Smart Girls," which couldn't have been more appropriate. Every band that played that night was powered by smart (not to mention talented) girls. In Handicapitalist's case, the smart, talented girl was Box Sullivan all five, mohawked feet of her - pounding away on the drums at full speed. An authoritative punk magazine recently likened the band unto Filth and Blatz, which probably isn't too far off. They play hard. They play fast. Every time I hear them they're better, tighter and increasingly clever. Of course, they're far too modest to ever admit it, but the lads and lady of Handicapitalist are some of Utah's very finest.

Second on the bill was Provo's Dick Janitor. This was only their third show, but already they've cultivated a loyal following. People have been talking excitedly, throwing around comparisons: Kleenex, The UV Race, Wire, The Fall, Taco Cat, Flipper. What they really sound like are three girls who don't need to rely on some all-too-common, bullshit, girl-band gimmick to get their message across. They play solid garage stuff with brilliant, funny lyrics about horror films and wieners. They only played five songs that night, but the set was perfect. It left the anxious crowd thirsty for more. Sadly, guitarist/vocalist/songwriter Charley Tucker (of The Clear Coats, Burnt Reynolds and His Hot Bones, Neighborhood Zero and about a billion other kick-ass bands) is relocating herself to Arizona at the end of the summer, so catch Dick Janitor while you still can or else be a fool and pretend later.

Louisiana's bass and drums duo, Firebrand, played next. This set was super technical and left the goofiest of the crowd's cretins scratching their heads. There were wild, wandering bass lines; creative drum hits; harmonized vocals that were both gruff and melodic. Osa, the bassist, used to write Shotgun Seamstress, a monthly, feminist column for Maximum Rocknroll that often focused on women of color and their involvement in a scene that is largely dominated by white males like yours truly. She continues to publish a zine by the same name, and her radical politics and excellent writing skills came through in the band's lyrics.

Vegetable wrapped up the night with more feminism, more musicality, more humor. From Arizona, the band is on the road promoting their first full-length album, which has been released on cassette and is soon to drop in LP form. Vegetable is one of my very favorite bands right now. The music is stripped down post-punk, like some sort of primitive Devo sans synths and energy domes. All the members of the band are stylish and talented, and the lyrics are both moving and hilarious, the kind of sung poetry that makes you want to storm out into the streets and start smashing shit. Drummer Anna Nxsty and Guitarist Paul Arambula took turns singing and swaying in front of the entranced crowd, until all of the sudden the show was over, and all the punx galore, punks of all stripes, had left to do was wander back out into the summer night, drinks conspicuously sheathed in brown paper bags.
Vegetable at Raunch. Photo: Jesse Tucker Vegetable at Raunch. Photo: Jesse Tucker