Hunchback, The Ergs!, and The O-Matics: Live at The Rail, 2/14/06 By Joe

Mar 08, 2006

It's already been established for quite some time now; Valentine's Day is a load of garbage. However, it's not that practical to stay in bed all day, so I find it best to look for something else to be psyched about for the day. Some years it's tough, but this year it was simple - I mean, come on, Hunchback AND The Ergs!? On Valentines Day? Awesome!

So I took the train down, which was convenient as the show was in the back room of a restaurant actually built into the station. The O-Matics were on first, who I'd never really heard before. They struck me as very "mid-'90s alterna-rock" inspired, and it looked like they were wearing matching bowling shirts. It looks like two out of the three of them go back and forth and switch around instruments too. They were quirky and pretty fun to watch, but I got a little tired of being told to go on their website and/or buy their record in between every other song. I mean if I wanted to have a bunch of ads thrown at me, I'd pretty much do ANYTHING else but go to a show (Come on, there's ads EVERYWHERE these days, on billboards, busses, fruit, the sky...). Besides, I was already overly anxious for the rest of the night.

Up next were The Ergs!, who let's face it, if there's one band you'd want to see on Valentines Day, it's them. Decked out in Knack-esque dress shirts and ties (and of course, many quips were thrown back and forth about that [and I will go on record saying that I am in fact jealous of Mike's Minor Threat "Bottled Violence" logo sweater vest]), they played a special hundred-percent love song set. They also announced that The Hunchback were also the official band Valentine of The Ergs! I believe it was at this point, shortly after beginning their next song, that the males of Hunchback stormed the stage, clad in very pretty dresses, armed with flowers, candy, and giant novelty hearts, and began violently making out with the dudes of The Ergs!, making for one entertaining set.

The Hunchback headlined, on account that they'd just gotten copies of their new record. I'm fairly confident in saying that The Hunchback is probably the best kept secret amongst New Jersey right now. They're a tricky bunch to try and briefly sum up, but I found the description of "awesome" starts to get the ball rolling. Just imagine a band taking everything dismal, gloomy, depressing, wrong about the world, and expelling it back out of their systems that's equal parts surf rock, screaming, and other weird noise. Trust me, this is great - it's like hearing one of those "legendary old bands that everyone's supposed to love, but never really does," only you really do love them. Or alternately, I keep thinking, "Like Big Black but just a little more straight forward and approximately twenty-five percent more human."

It was a little hard for me to keep track of what songs were played (the whole "I'm behind [read: a chump] on things"), but that didn't keep me from enjoying it any less. The half hour set consisted of more screaming/screaming along, climbing up into the rafters, guitars being played with faces, said guitars being broken, dresses being worn, and diving into the crowd (while wearing said dresses). Needless to say, the new Hunchback record is the first that I've actually spent money on in quite some time now.