By Sarah Bennett
By Adam Lovinus
By Jena Ardell
By Nate Jackson
By Gustavo Arellano
By Nick Keppler
By Nate Jackson
By Alex Distefano
The Doomed/Neon King Kong
The Booby Trap
Saturday, Oct. 27
We strolled up just as the bombs went off—classic timing on our part and affording a nice view of the chaos resulting when some boner popped a helluva smoke pot, the kind the Army uses to indicate where they want the artillery shells to fall—in the middle of this come-one-come-all Halloween party. Since we didn't suffocate or get trampled, it was almost picturesque, standing in costume across the street with Peter Pan, Cruella De Ville and miscellaneous zombies (punk rockers dig the zombie; that and Joey Ramone were the popular outfits this year), watching billows of orange smoke waft across the full moon. And then a nice big firework went up, and then the cops came, and a parking lot full of poseurs, minors and people with outstanding warrants disappeared to drink Tecate in the privacy of their own back seats. We eventually peeked inside again, hoping to see a band play.
And we did. It wouldn't be Halloween without invoking either the Misfits or the Damned, and since this party was mercifully short on pudgy, acne-scarred junior high kids who hang out at the Block, we didn't hear note one about the Misfits. Instead, we got the Doomed, a Damned cover band decked out like the photo on the back of Damned Damned Damned (nice beret, Sensible!) and spiraling through most of Machine Gun Etiquette with appropriate swagger and aplomb. Maybe it was the residual smoke fumes, but by "Noise, Noise, Noise," you coulda signed us up for the fan club—they were probably better than the real thing, at least according to mutterings from the shadows. And they didn't break character for a second, if you count terminally repeated chants of "Sensible's a wanker! Sensible's a wanker!" as character, which we do. Maybe they'll play again on Dave Vanian's birthday or something; we'd be right up front.
We scoped costumes while the next band scrambled to determine whether their singer had gone home: besides the numerous zombies and Joey Ramones, the Batman-less Robin was a winner, not to mention a really cheerful guy; the girl who painted herself red, shimmied into a black top with a big "S" on it and went as one of Satan's cheerleaders deserves big points; and you gotta love the robot guy who may have been connected to the smoke bombing—innocent or no, we found pieces of that costume all over the street later that night. Ouch!
(The kids at Koo's the next night would have swept the best-dressed awards—as much for the shirtless, sweaty, glowering guy who was actually dressed as, naturally, Henry Rollins as for the girl wearing a tin-foil box labeled "SEX MACHINE," but there was still a nice moment when some poor lost family fearfully backed their minivan through a parking lot full of drunken zombies and Joey Ramones: it's nice to feel scary sometimes.)
They finally found that lost singer—Hot Rod Todd, naturally—and put Neon King Kong (or Electric Donkey Kong, as the drunk and the confused have taken to calling them) on next. If you haven't heard, this is the first band playing out with the blessing/curse of "ex-members of Le Shok" draped around its neck. Don't believe the hype: despite glorious rumors that the Kong was going to be '80s synth pop (really, where do you people come up with this stuff? Is it the drugs?), it's really just a quick and trashy punk band that seems instinctively predisposed to stagger around at house parties while middle-aged midgets glom on to people's crotches on the dance floor.
Did we mention this was a great party? They covered Redd Kross' "Annette's Got the Hits" to great effect and then said typically tasteful things like, "This song is called 'Hit Me Like a Jet'" and "Don't hit people in the tits—apparently, it hurts girls." They weren't dressed up, but a toppling PA speaker had crunched their bass player in the head the night before, so we'll assume they were up all night making sure he didn't accidentally forget to breathe and thus didn't have time to go costume shopping. And they were kind of scary anyway: if the smoke didn't get us, we probably would have suffocated under a bunch of toppling drunk zombies and Joey Ramones who couldn't quite manage to stay on their feet while singing along to "We don't go to baaaaarrrrs!" But we wouldn't have minded that so much—if you gotta go, that's the way to do it, right?