It might not have been the New Bomb Turks last show in San Diego, but it might have been their last one for quite awhile. Following the release of The Night Before The Day The Earth Stood Still, the Turks' future appears to be cloudy at best. But if they are going out, it wasn't going to be with a whimper.
Which was just the incentive a lot of people needed to see one of the most dependable punk bands to come out of Ohio since the Dead Boys. If that wasn't enough reason to come out, the Demons, a Scandinavian quasi-punk band with seemingly as much reverence for the Cult as the MC5 (at least on their records) set a high standard that would be hard for any band to follow.
Opening the show was the Tori Cobras, one of the most promising San Diego bands to hit the scene in the last five years. The band quickly but efficiently ran through their album, Running with the Red Light, an eight-song no-frills debut (visit www.mvideojukebox.com to see four live tracks recorded at the Casbah) with lots of wah-wah and power chord crunch.
It would be easy to write off the Demons if one were familiar with only their recorded material. Like a lot of bands from Sweden (or in the case of Gluecifer, Norway), the band sometimes drifts from proto-punk crunch into pseudo-metal cheese. On record, vocalist/guitarist Mathias Carlsson sounds alternately like Glenn Danzig, Ian Astbury and on more than one occasion, the Turks' Eric Davidson. That can be distracting to say the least, but whatever shortcomings the band has on disc quickly evaporated the minute they took the stage.
Originals like "Some Days," "Voodoo Charm," and "Riot Salvation" were sonic masterpieces but when the band unleashed a Radio Birdman medley of "New Race," "Murder City Nights," "Aloha Steve and Danno" and "Do the Pop," jaws dropped. Originally recorded on Flattery - A Tribute to Radio Birdman, the band played each song reverently and with enough energy that the Turks would have to give their best just to be on par.
That wasn't much of a problem, though, as the Turks' took the stage, jumping head first into "Id Slips In," then unleashing the equally furious "Point A to Point Blank." No disrespect to drummer Bill Randt, guitarist Jim Weber, or bassist Matt Reber, but it's hard to watch anyone else in the band when Davidson is jumping in and out of the crowd, a non-stop bundle of energy who couldn't sit still even if he'd swallowed a bottle of valium.
New songs like "Hassle Street," "Grifted," "Sick Sermon," and "I'm Weak" stood up well next to the band's older material, but it was older tracks like "Tattooed Apathetic Boys" and "Born Toulouse-Lautrec" which turned the crowd into a swirling, churning mass, welcoming Davidson in for a moment, then unceremoniously spitting him back up on stage.
After a brief respite, the band returned to crank out "Spanish Fly By Night" and "Dragstrip Riot," cementing in the memory of every one in attendance, images and sounds that would be very hard to forget.