Vicious, The with Dustheads, Easter Kids and Hellhole: 4/19/07, 75 Louis, in New Brunswick, NJ, by Chelsea Suarez

May 01, 2007

Usually when foreign bands make a stop in the United States they go straight to New York and then move on to the West Coast for bigger and brighter things. Such was not the case when The Vicious decided to make a stop in New Brunswick, New Jersey.

It was a beautiful day out as people began pouring in to the dirty, Christmas lights strewn basement of 75 Louis Street. The first band to play could be considered the house band as all the members live next door and up the street. Their name is Hellhole and although they have a lot of potential, I don’t know how well they would fair away from their neighborhood. I’ve seen them play many times, but never really gave them a fair watch. Of course, the one time I tried to really pay attention to them, my digital camera died while taking photos, causing me to become highly flustered and distracted. After about three minutes I was able to calm down and really give them a listen. I noted it seemed like they really do practice a lot. I guess if they just tour more and really push what they’re doing they’ll gain more popularity outside of central New Jersey, but for now they still seem like neighborhood boys to me.

The next band was from a little bit further off in Pennsylvania. I had neither seen nor heard of them and was sadly disappointed. The Easter Kids were pretty much a mess. The mic kept pulling out and they had a sloppy style that bordered more on “We barely know our own songs” than “We’re too cool to try and play our songs well.” I also lost interest when the lead singer grabbed an open beer can and flung it at the person closest to him – me. What a waste! I stopped bothering to take pictures of them (now using a one-time use) at that point. Their recordings aren’t too bad and they seem to have quite a few shows coming up considering they still seem somewhat “undiscovered,” but as far as I’m concerned until they either practice more, stop throwing beer, and figure out we’re their really going with this whole “band” thing, they can stay that way.

One major problem that occurs with doing shows in basements in New Jersey is that they pretty much have to end at 10 PM or the cops will most likely be called. That being said, The Vicious played next so that they would be able to have a good long set without being cut short and feeling like their plane trip to America was a waste. At first, many people had no idea they were going on as the usual format is the headliner playing last. Luckily, they took a fair amount of time to set up (as the necessary backwards American Flag was hung up behind the drummer), so people were able to go run and tell their friends to come in. When The Vicious went on, people immediately started dancing. Throughout their entire set that night, half the time people danced like they were at a drunken party and the other half of the time they danced like 1970’s slam dancers. The lead singer of The Vicious, Robert Petterson, didn’t seem to care how people were dancing as he had his own thing going on and was constantly tensed and flinging his body back and forth through out the whole set. It was kind of a controlled craziness, except for when he accidentally hit some girl in the face. She seemed not to care too much and he graciously apologized several times as the show went on. All the members played amazingly well and clearly knew what they were doing. At one point, Petterson asked the crowd if they had any requests they wanted to hear. A girl in the front repetitively yelled “Play “I don’t believe in Christ!”” to which Petterson replied “Me neither,” and then stated they would play a song in Swedish instead. Even when no one had any idea what the lyrics were (and most likely no idea how to say them even if they did know), people were still dancing and having a great time. The band played amazingly well and I may be biased as I was standing next to the bass amp the entire time, but the bass above all really sounded great to me. The Vicious also had one of the best merch table set-ups I had ever seen in a basement show. If you see them, no matter how far along on their American tour, I’m sure you’ll be able to pick something up, as you should, because they came from so far away.

Although everyone seemed somewhat tired after The Vicious, there was one more band left to play, The Dustheads from Brooklyn. These guys are the house band for 538 Johnson in Brooklyn, were The Vicious had coincidently played the night before. Although people were tired, The Dustheads are always a crowd pleaser with their high intensity, so people stayed around to watch and enjoy their set. Everyone sang along and danced. Bringing his usual mannerisms to the table, the lead singer was all over the place and often went directly in to the crowd with everyone. They were a great closing to a really really fun show and are always great to see.