New Coke, Sandratz, Talking Dogs, Lazer Pussy - Propaganda, Lake Worth - August 10
There was a time when a punk and garage rock show held the promise of airborne beer cans, flailing humans (dancing or fighting), and a bit of tinnitus that followed you around on Monday as a reminder that you lived a little in the days between shifts.
It would seem, given our experience on Saturday at Propaganda in Lake Worth, that as the bands have improved, that sort of explosive electricity has become a rarer beast.
Saturday night started off with promise, namely, a band named Lazer Pussy donning wigs and sunglasses. They performed a series of sloppy punk songs extolling the greatness of pizza and condemning the reality of whiskey dick. Lazer Pussy was loud, hilarious, and provided an ideal soundtrack for the early crowd booze-up and strap-in. Though Lazer Pussy's lyrics were funny, the solos ex-Nightmare Boyzzz guitarist Justin Crumpton ripped out of his Ibanez Destroyer guitar were no joke. Gnarly indeed.
The Miami-bred unit known as the Talking Dogs followed with a high energy set to a crowd that was just not quite feeling it. Though the band identifies itself as being influenced by the golden age of British glam -- a fact driven home by the mutilated T-Rex shirt the group's frontman was rockin' -- the sound presented was more along the lines of a pop-punk band that went through a Paul Westerberg filter and had grew up in Dade County. The band's choice to cover a Nick Lowe song did earn it some big points with us, however, there is definitely some room to grow.
The crowd blossomed into a cozy little mob following the Talking Dogs' set and was then accosted by the aggressive punk stylings of Sandratz. The quintet gussied up its brand of straight ahead punk with some surfy, whammy bar theatrics, and a dose of a rock 'n' roll swagger.
Iron Forge Press owner and Florida punk stalwart Chuck Loose beat the snot out of his drums and frontman Ian Brown snidely screamed at the audience from the edge of the stage. Brown made a few pseudo-combative, most likely alcohol-fueled comments regarding Trayvon Martin and race relations, but generally spent his time staring blindly into the crowd he was screaming at. The energy the group displayed truly should have provoked a more visual response from the audience, but it appeared a though no amount of crunching power chords or ragged vocals could sway this particular crowd to jilt its toe-tapping routine for a proper punk rock party.
New Coke hit the stage around 11, and frontman Danny Morales immediately attempted to rally the crowd out of the all too familiar standoff horseshoe formation it had fallen into. A few people heeded Morales' request and moved closer to the stage, but as the band sunk its teeth into a few visceral guitar chords, the vibe on the floor was still not quite meeting the energy being exuded on stage.
However, New Coke cared not about the awkward crowd. It opted instead to rail out an even more energized set of sweaty punk rock destruction. Morales punctuated every couple of bars with abandoned horror movie screams as the band behind him threw down a steady foundation of thumping rhythms, slick drum fills, and pounding bass.
"I'm Not a Fan of Your Romance" seemed a climax in the band's set and finally garnered a proper reaction from the crowd, but we were most impressed by New Coke's fresh tunes. Though they are currently without names, the new tracks performed were a step in a chunkier direction for New Coke, and show just how much promise this band has. They affirmed our disappointment in the crowd of mannequins. Based on what we heard on Saturday, we won't be surprised when New Coke earns some serious attention with its impending release on the Slovenly Recordings label.