Out Cold:: Looking through Communist Eyes

Oct 09, 2006

It’s a sad fact of life that, oftentimes, putting a punk rock DVD in your player and hitting the play button is like biting into a Hostess Pie and finding it filled with Elmer’s glue. (Please excuse the product placement there.) The unfortunate truth is that band DVDs frequently suck. I don’t know if that’s due to the fact that punk rock folks are, by nature, lame-tit cinematographers or that the medium itself has some sort of reverse osmosis filtering system in play that sucks all the dangerous hoodlum electricity out of the performance, rendering it effectively neutered. Punk and video just don’t seem to mix most of the time. So it was with some trepidation that I approached this live performance of hardcore veterans, Out Cold, performing in St. Petersburg, Russia. Not only was I (at best) distantly familiar with the band, my head was plugged up with cartoonishly simplistic stereotypes of what an audience full of Russians would be like; cold, severe, potato-ish-looking people in heavy clothing and nary a flicker of punk rock primate emotion in their eyes. This could well turn out to be a bad band, poorly filmed, playing for a room of mannequins in mukluks. Well, it turns out I was pleasantly wrong and surprised. Out Cold is a scrappy, unrelenting, no-tits-and-whistles kind of old school hardcore band and their performance here is pretty damn impressive. Right off the bat, I pegged them as a T-shirt and short haircut early ‘80s hardcore unit of the BYO ilk, somewhat like Youth Brigade, but with slightly higher, slightly more splintered vocals. But then I noticed that the drummer was wearing a Zeke shirt, of all things, and that the bass player had on a Motörhead shirt. It’s fascinating what visual cues can do to one’s thinking, but right at that moment I suddenly found myself thinking Out Cold was maybe more like some souped-up, shit-kicking Zeke/ Motörhead type band. Regardless of where you would plot them on the punk family tree, they crank out a blistering, stripped-down kind of hardcore that, if you jack the volume up to the proper level, tears into you like a load of Dick Cheney birdshot in the face. (Please excuse the gratuitous political cheap shot there.) This video rips it up good. And you might be pleased to know that my jar-headed notions of Russian stoicism were wildly off the mark too; these unencumbered louts have absolutely no hesitation in going totally apeshit and they easily put many American audiences I’ve seen to shame. And there wasn’t a single fuzzy Brezhnev hat in the bunch. All in all: thirty-three minutes of unaffected, bone-jarring punk rock pleasure. Well worth the eight bucks ppd. –Aphid Peewit (http://acmerecords.net)