Monday, January 29, 2018

The Dead Boys at the Bowery Electric

Cheetah Chrome
Originally from Cleveland, Ohio, the Dead Boys evolved out of the band Rocket from the Tombs and were originally called Frankenstein. When the band members relocated to New York City in 1976 at the encouragement of Joey Ramone, they adopted the Dead Boys moniker, which came from the RFTT song "Down In Flames." The Dead Boys became one of the leaders of the first wave punk bands at CBGB's but never achieved commercial success, causing the band to split in 1979 after two studio albums. The Dead Boys reformed for several gigs in the 1980s but these ended in 1990 when lead singer Stiv Bators was hit by a taxi and died. In 2004, the remaining members of the band re-formed for a one-off gig in Cleveland. In 2005, they played a benefit show for CBGB's and another reunion show on Halloween. In 2017, founding members Cheetah Chrome and Johnny Blitz rebranded the Dead Boys with a new lineup to celebrate both the 40th anniversary of the band's debut album and the September 8 release of Still Snotty: Young, Loud and Snotty at 40, a re-recording of that original album. The Dead Boys presently consists of Chrome on guitar, Blitz on drums, Jake Hout on vocals, Jason Kottwitz on guitar and Ricky Rat on bass.

The new Dead Boys embarked on the brand's first major tour in 38 years, which stopped for two nights at the Bowery Electric, one block north of their old CBGB's stomping grounds. The set consisted of the songs from the debut album (substituting "Calling on You" for the original "Hey Little Girl") plus two encores (which like "Calling on You" originated from the band's second album). The songs were performed 40 years ago, yet this set did not pick up where the original band left off. The first time around, the musicians did not really know their instruments like the current line-up did; the contemporary spin presented a much more polished performance than the original line-up ever performed. Nevertheless, there were some moments that recalled the original band's youthfulness, including Hout rolling on the low stage or pretending to hang himself by his own tie (Bators used to do this with his mic cord) and Chrome accidentally tripping over a squatted Hout and then being unable to retune his guitar. In all, the live performance was significant in that it showed that many of the Dead Boys' songs were strong rock and roll songs that have aged well and should have made the Dead Boys a success the first time around.

Setlist:
  1. Sonic Reducer
  2. All This and More
  3. What Love Is
  4. Not Anymore
  5. Ain't Nothin' to Do
  6. Caught With the Meat in Your Mouth
  7. Calling on You
  8. I Need Lunch
  9. High Tension Wire
  10. Down in Flames
Encore:
  1. Ain't It Fun
  2. Son of Sam