New York Report 2 @ The Trash Bar 12/28/07
Posted Dec 28, 2007, by The Bear.
PART 2 of 3: No Redeeming Social Value, Norman Bates and the Showerheads, Last Call Brawl, Run Like Hell, and Dealin' With It @ The Trash Bar
On Saturday, December 22nd, I went across the East River to see No Redeeming Social Value perform at the Trash Bar, a local bar/club in Brooklyn where they were playing with several other bands. No Redeeming Social Value was the headliner and they have always been one of the more entertaining hardcore bands out of New York because they manage to combine playing really hard music with not taking themselves very seriously. A lot of their songs are about drinking alcohol (most specifically Olde English), and (in general) having fun. Of course they sing about other things too, but that tends to be the main focus. An NRSV show can very easily turn chaotic in a party/good way as opposed to a bad way where fights break out and people get hurt.
Anyway since it was three days before Christmas NRSV began their set with a visit from Ghetto Claus, an obese man who shows up wearing a Santa hat, Santa hair and beard, briefs, sneakers and socks, and nothing else whatever. He usually brings a bag of gifts which he eventually tosses out to the crowd; this year the gifts were, among other things, Christmas plastic mugs and Jesus crayons. When he first walked in he was a carrying a doll to represent the baby Jesus whom he carried very reverently - until he got to the stage whereupon the doll wound up being tossed around by both band and fans yelling "happy birthday baby Jesus!" (incidentally it was a girl doll they used)
Once all of that was done NRSV finally got down to the serious business of playing, starting off with the classic "More Tattoos" from their earlier album "No Redeeming Social Value Rocks the Party"; this was soon followed by a blistering set mixing both classic songs with a bunch of songs off their newest release "Still Drinking" (released by Dead City Records). The new songs continued NRSV's personal tradition of fun hardcore, the ones they played included "Beer = Fun," "Drinking is Not a Game," and a third, rather more risque song which later morphed into the earlier "I Like Chicken" when a guy in a full body chicken suit came out to mosh in the pit. They also played such mainstays of their list as "64" ("64! 64! 64! - I don't think I can drink anymore!"), "Wake Up," Your Boyfriend is a Guido," "Skinheads Rule" which closed the show and, naturally, their personal anthem "Olde-E" (actually they've written and recorded at least three songs with Olde-E in the title, the one they played at this show was the first one). The one disappointment to the show was that the Trash Bar itself doesn't actually serve Olde-E, something the band commented on at least once. And if you think the use of Olde-E by the band is a gimmick let me tell you that it's not. It's their main drink of choice, and no NRSV show is complete without it, or at least a lot of references to it. If you ever get to actually hang out with the guys in NRSV you WILL drink Olde-E with them (I should know).
The rest of the evening was a pretty solid line-up of local hardcore punk bands. The best of the supporting acts was Norman Bates and the Showerheads (the main supporting act), a very long lived band who date back, well I don't actually know how far back they go, but it's pretty far from what I can tell. The members were all a lot older than almost everyone else in the club but it didn't stop them from rocking out hard, or the audience (many of whom were young enough to be their [adult] kids) from enjoying them. The leader of the group kept joking about wanting to play earlier in the evening, saying that "the larger the combined age total of the band members, the earlier they get to go on." Like NRSV, with whom they often play, they don't take themselves too seriously, either with songs ranging all over the spectrum in terms of subject matter, including one song which was about Gilligan from "Gilligan's Island," done from Gilligan's POV in which they reveal that Gilligan is secretly plotting to kill everyone else on the island. Their songs have a bit more of a melodic tinge to them than a lot of current New York Hardcore bands, giving them more of a real old-school punk flavor to their style.
Of the first three bands I didn't see much of Dealin' With It, the first band to play, as they were finishing their set when I got to the club. Last Call Brawl, who played third, turned in a solid hardcore performance to a fairly sparse crowd (most people came later for the headliners) which was rather too bad, but what can you do? All bands go through that early on. Run Like Hell, who played second, had to deal with the fact that their main singer and guitarist was stuck in Massachusetts and was not at the show at all. However they got around that problem because an earlier singer / guitarist happened to be at the club that evening and was able to step in and take his place for the set, and it worked out very well all things considered. They played without any hitches and you wouldn't have known that their friend was not their usual singer / guitarist if you didn't know the band.