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 Feederz used to put the "terrorism" into "art terrorism." They were spotty at the art part back when they started in 1980s Arizona, but you can't argue with shooting assault rifles into crowds. And now they're back—is this how it used to be? Because notorious-even-now singer Frank Discussion is the closest thing to a man possessed we ever saw, even if there was something almost nostalgic about his bug-eyed press-on-nail gross-out shtick, a flashback to the days when people in punk bands were so goddamn fucked-up you couldn't imagine them doing anything else. There's a certain nobility in dissolving yourself into your art (using the term generously, if affectionately) so completely, in detaching yourself so totally from the society you purport to detest that your offstage time is nothing but a blur of oversleeping, theft, substance abuse and frothy Situationist ranting. Of course, Frank's dirty little secret—besides that he ran off with Jello Biafra's wife; hoo-ha!—is that he used to work for Microsoft. But according to him, he was breaking them down from the inside!
Anyway, when Frank started pounding a nail into his nose—a visual aid to a speech about how work and boredom and authority are sucking the life out of you (for further info, see the infamous Feederz detournement "SODOMIZED AGAIN!")—it was the kind of punctuation statements such as "Your life is occupied territory!" demand. And he also threw dead mice all over the crowd; we counted a few smushed bodies on the barroom floor. Technically, it was an uneven set, in terms of playing good songs and playing good songs correctly. At points, it almost seemed like Frank was roughing out future ideas for songs. But he still had fangs, too: the guitar intro on the classic "Jesus (Entering From the Rear)," a Peter-Gunn-on-Maricopa-County-meth riff that's one of the first-wave punk greats, sucked, but they crammed the rest of the blasphemy down our throats like we were tongue-kissing in the back of the tour van and ended on some unfamiliar song that made for a surprisingly potent finale. Afterward, Frank slid sweatily inside his plastic-bag dress through the crowd, eyes fixed on a zero point somewhere beyond the bar's back wall, and we parted like he was dragging a corpse behind him. There's a certain nobility about a guy no one wants to touch, too. (Chris Ziegler)
* * *FLOGGING MOLLY
A few years back on the Warped Tour, we happened to catch some sets by Flogging Molly, a band that stood out like a bleeding thumb amid all the skater and faux-punk cretins. Fronted by the rabidly intense Irishman Dave King, the ensemble was raucous, rebellious and downright nasty-sounding. But they seemed like one of those bands that would flame-out sooner rather than later. It's hard to hold it all together when you've got so much passion.
That's why it's gratifying to report that based on the band's House of Blues set, Flogging Molly has not only survived but also evolved into an incredibly kick-ass rock & roll band—as passionate about their playing as Midnight Oil, but without the overt politics (although the "NO WAR" sign taped on the back of King's guitar shows which way he leans). They have the fire and bluster of the Pogues without the overt penchant for self-destruction (although we're guessing there's no shortage of Guinness backstage). They have a commitment to their music like U2, but without the wearying self-importance. "If I Ever Leave This World Alive" and "Worst Day Since Yesterday" are a match for Shane MacGowan's most alcohol-poisoned days. And "The Likes of You Again" may be the best fuck-you song we've heard in recent memory. But the highlight was something called "Kilburn High Road"; Kilburn is a nasty part of London where Irish immigrants have been housed for decades. It's a violent part of town brimming with resentment and hostility, and King's introduction of the song, placed within the context of war in Iraq, was an eloquent, if simple, denunciation of violence in all its forms.
Flogging Molly aren't about talk, though. The music, especially Bridget Regan's violin (she's the only member of the seven-piece band that doesn't run around the stage like a rock star) perfectly complements King's ragged voice and, along with the accordion and mandolin that grace just about every song, continually brings this balls-to-the-wall pub-rock band back to its Irish roots. (Joel Beers)