Saturday, May 27, 2017

The Undead at Tompkins Square Park

Bobby Steele and his wife, Diana Steele
Bobby Steele was born in Teaneck, New Jersey, spent part of his youth in New Milford, New Jersey, and was the guitarist for Parrotox, Slash & the Whorelords, and the Skabs before joining the horror-punk Misfits from 1978 to 1980. In 1980, parting from the Misfits and living in New York City, Steele reformed the Skabs, which quickly became the Undead. Over the years, Steele also has played with Sloppy Seconds, Times Square, the Migraines, the Zero Prophets, the Graveyard School and other local punk bands. The Undead's eighth and most recent studio album is 2015's The Morgue... The Merrier; the band is working on a new EP, Having an Undead Summer. The Undead presently consists of vocalist/guitarist Bobby Steele, keyboardist/guitarist Diana Steele, bassist Jason Fresta and drummer Joe Stoker.

The Shadow, a local underground newspaper, hosted its annual Memorial Day weekend concert in Tompkins Square Park, and the Undead was the headliner once again. While a touch of horror was intrinsic to the band's look and Steele's songwriting, what the public witnessed in the park today was largely old-fashioned guitar-driven rock and roll performed with faster, rougher power. Performed at frenetic speed, the energetic set compromised nothing. It was as pure and basic as three-chord punk rock can be. While countless musicians can claim membership in the Undead at some time, the band's original sound remained as integral as ever with the new lineup. This music was not only what the Undead do best, it is the only thing the band has ever done or ever been. There was an admirable and blatant honesty in the Undead's set that could not be challenged.

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