A last-minute cancellation of a M.O.T.O. show on Friday night in Providence turned out great for me, as the show was moved to Cafe Nine, which is a hell of a lot closer. And so, last night (or earlier today, actually, since M.O.T.O. didn't finish playing 'til almost 2 a.m.) I was able to take in a whole set of glorious M.O.T.O. goodness. Thanks for sucking, Providence!
Other than a couple of songs from The Vültüres that were awesome and sounded like the Melvins (the rest of their set was too thrashy), the only opening band worth mentioning was Hand Grenade Serenade, who ironically were the band I expected to like the least. Hand Grenade Serenade are yet another band with that crazy leftist politico thing going on, but they sounded friggin' great, and I said to myself, "Gee, this is a pretty damn good song" more than a couple of times while they were playing.
Hand Grenade Serenade's overt Clash-isms aren't as apparent live as they are on their CD, and the first comparison that popped into my head with them was Dillinger Four, which is what I almost always think when I hear a band that mixes politics with pop punk. Their best songs, though, have these cool 90's emo-type parts with some metal breakdowns mixed in, and are like a cross between Texas Is The Reason and Man Without Plan, seriously.
When I talked to the singer, Andy, after the show, he just looked at me funny, like "That's not it, dude," and said they get compared more to Fugazi when I mentioned the part about Texas Is The Reason, but then it all clicked later as I was driving home. I had the Hand Grenade Serenade CD in the CD player, and since I was on I-95 the song that goes "Now I'm driving down 95" on the first Man Without Plan CD popped into my head. It was so similar to the HGS song that was playing that it was kinda spooky.
Well, it was raining hard and my ears were still ringing and I was pretty tired, but that's how I remember it, at least.
Hand Grenade Serenade -
"Clap For The Clap"
(these files are now listen-only)
As for M.O.T.O., they were on their way from a NYC show at the Knitting Factory to a couple of big shows up in Boston over the weekend, so Paul brought a whole bunch of stuff to sell. I was hoping he was going to have some copies of the Italian import "Turn Your Head And Cough" LP that just came out, but only 300 copies were made and the damn thing's sold out already. Paul's also been re-releasing a lot of the early M.O.T.O. cassettes on CD-R, and he had eleven different CD-R's with him. I grabbed a few of those, as well as a copy of the "Midnight at The Guantanamo Room" 45 on clear vinyl, which looks to be one of the 15-year-old originals and not a re-press. Someone must've found a box in a back room, or something.
Last night's M.O.T.O. was the stripped-down version, featuring Sir Dennis Eton Spaag (Bass MOTO) and Paul (Guitar MOTO), plus a volunteer drummer from one of the opening bands. That made things a little sloppy, of course, but it was still great, and there was plenty of fist pumping and head banging and air guitar going on in the crowd (which by that time was pretty much just me, the other bands on the bill, and a few of the Cafe Nine regulars).
Anyway, here's some stuff from a live M.O.T.O. performance on a college radio station, which is one of the M.O.T.O. CD-R's that I picked up at the show. Dig the classic "retro M.O.T.O." Sharpie-drawn artwork! Paul's got the straight edge!
"I Can't Stop It"
"Getting It Up For Physics"
"Choking On Your Insides"
(these files are now listen-only)