If Pete could write about each and every show he sees without jeopardizing his employment status or mental health, he would totally do it. Fortunately for him, he knows better. Fortunately for us, he is just obsessive and irresponsible enough to try it anyway. Ever the enablers, we are posting recaps of each of the first eleven shows that Petey hit in 2011.
Show 8: RIBS & Cinamon Fuzz @ T.T.’s – 1/28
If you’re keeping score, TT the Bear’s Place has been the site of three of my last four outings. I feel compelled to state, for the record, that I do not have an irrational, superstitious dread of traveling beyond the boundaries of the Mass Ave area, nor am I stalking any of the staff at TT’s.
Now that we’re clear on that… my eighth go-round of young 2011 was the Ryan’s Smashing Life 4th Anniversary Show, which featured two local groups (RIBS and The Cinnamon Fuzz) and two gangs of New York (Bridges & Powerlines and Fan-Tan).
Coinciding with the release of their new digital 7”, The Locrian Singles, RIBS’ performance was as demonstrative of their uncongenial aesthetic as the songs themselves. A moment of complete darkness heralded the cold iron bars that open their dirge-y new hit, “Please Don’t Go.” The soul of this classic rock shmendrik was pleased to see them bucking in unison with their instruments like ZZ Top, only with more anxiety… and a functioning razor.
RIBS – “Please Don’t Go” – The Locrian Singles
(Download this album for free at RIBS’ Bandcamp!)
Of course, the ZZ Top comparisons ended there. Far from a fandango of pentatonic licks and Mexican prostitutes, RIBS channeled energies from distant planes with grave intensity. Folks getting their first live look at RIBS after hearing The Locrian Singles and thinking “cool synth work” may have been shocked to find no keyboards present during their set. On the contrary, most of the sonic apparitions haunting the tracks were conjured by lead guitarchemist Justin Tolan and singer/occasional axeman Keith Freund. Tolan sent these apparitions howling through the T.T.-the-Bear-‘osphere that night, while Freund’s falsetto-flung tales of despair matched their ghostliness.
The villainous attack waged by RIBS contrasted sharply with the disco pop party thrown moments earlier by The Cinnamon Fuzz. I walked in just as they were discharging their robot love anthem, “Reboot My Heart,” and it struck me that this band had answered the question: “What would it be like if the beats from “Eye of the Tiger” and most of The Cars’ catalogue had a baby, and raised it with an old school Nintendo and a VHS of “Short Circuit” as its only means of stimuli?” (incidentally, this is exactly what my upbringing was like). As you might expect, the result has an unmistakable 80’s flavor and a few helpings of computer nerd goofiness, but so does every slovenly synth-pop six-piece that comes through town. The Fuzz have shinier hooks than many of them.
The Cinnamon Fuzz’s debut LP, Cruise Of The Century, was dedicated to late Type O Negative frontman Peter Steele, and you can hear a little of Steele’s rising bass-from-the-crypt in Jonah Burstein’s vocal style. Although, considering the band’s keytastic alt-rock M.O., a better comparison for Burstein might be the dude from Liquido… without the German accent or epic unibrow.
The Cinnamon Fuzz – “Reboot My Heart”