Alex's Bar in Long Beach was nearly packed to capacity on Saturday evening as the legendary '80s shock rock punker Tesco Vee brought his band known as the Meatmen to destroy eardrums, and shatter all notions of decency, dignity, and political correctness. They were joined by the crazy, lovable queers of Black Fag. "I'm 58 years old and have been punk rock for over 30 years now, longer than a lot of you were born!" Vee shouted into the crowd of hands, most of which raised Pabst Blue Ribbon tall cans. "But the point is I'm still up here doing it and I don't give a fuck!"
Tesco Vee has been the brains behind the Meatmen since 1979 when the band formed just outside of Detroit Michigan. Think of stripped down versions of GWAR, The Mentors and GG Allin, mixed with old school hardcore like Minor Threat and Negative Approach, and retro thrash riffs in the vein of Slayer and Venom. Vee is rounded out by his band of musical cohorts, which include Hindu Kush on guitar, Biff Bologna on bass and Swarthy "Bun-Length" Franklin on drums.
See also: The 10 Best Shock Rock Bands of All Time
Through numerous lineup changes over the decades, Tesco Vee has remained as the only constant of the Meatmen. And is undoubtedly one of punk rock's most underrated and iconoclastic cult figures, and a hero of the shock rock subgenre, borrowing from speed metal, thrash and old school hardcore, and mixing in a heavy dose of booze, drugs, crude humor, sexually explicit themes and lyrics, and many stage props and simple yet in your face costumes. "Who else would prance around up here screaming in ABBA pants like a Kansas City Faggot for your entertainment but the one and only Tesco Vee!?!?!" he yelled with an evil smirk on his face.
You would think that age would lessen the anger, hatred, hostility and need for violence that usually is associated with younger more rebellious punks. But the polar opposite is true for Tesco Vee. "If Anything I've gotten angrier as I've gotten older," he said. "Punk rock is about fucking shit up!" At age 58, Tesco Vee's enthusiasm, energy and in your face vocals and evil grins, serve as a lesson for younger punk bands to aspire to.
With a set that lasted just over an hour, Alex's Bar's patrons were treated to some of the sleeziest, grimiest, hardcore punk rock from the '80s, '90s and into the new millennium, as the band pummeled through songs spanning their career. The Meatmen's stage show included several different props, including giant phallus shaped objects, a red Papal hat with 'TV' engraved on the front and a nose, brought out during "Pope on a Rope."
A mild and loose mosh pit formed during the song "KKK," and although not everyone at the bar was moshing, those who were made it count.
You gotta give Tesco Vee and musical Men of Meat Credit, for not only the musical integrity but also their humor, and affinity for poking fun at others. "Anyone a fan of the Dwarves? And by Dwarf, I mean Glenn Danzig, of course he's probably worth $100 million, and I'm worth $100 bucks. But I got the street cred to back my shit up!"
Next: Review of Black Fag's set
Opening band Black Fag provided the right amount of punk rock fury 'manly' energy to get the crowd moving and warmed up for the mayhem of the Meatmen. The band's makeshift logo was a hand drawn version of the black bars on a hot pink tapestry, as well as tons of glitter, confetti, and rainbow flags. The band also appeared in tight outfits, pink pants, and the guitarist was in full drag, minus the makeup.
As the self-proclaimed 'Absolutely Fabulous tribute to Black Flag,' the band features singer Liberace Morris, Greg Streisand on guitar, Cher "The Dyke" Dykeowski on bass, and Robo Simmons on drums.Also featured through the band's explosive performance were a duo of very flamboyant stage dancers.
The band's performance was musically ironic, as the Greg Ginn version of Black Flag played a show at the House of Blues in Hollywood. "Aren't you glad that you came here and paid half the price?" Liberace Morris yelled to the crowd, who roared in approval. "We like things short, hard, fast and sweet, but we also go into the Henry Rollins Era Black Flag!" Morris shouted. The band even brought out a special guest drummer, for the song "Nervous Breakdown," Brian Migdol, who appeared on the band's debut Nervous Breakdown EP. "We now have as many original members of Black Flag as Gregg Ginn does!"
The band performed a humorous and homoerotic take on such classic Black Flag tunes as "Jealous Again," "Depression," "Six Pack," "Gimmie Gimme Gimmie" and "Police Story." Fans both laughed and moshed as the band's unique energy and party time vibe filled the bar. This show was one of the funniest, loudest, most entertaining punk shows to come to Long Beach in a while.
Random Notebook Dump: The Security guard at Alex's bar had a stern look on his face, but when Black Fag members appeared in drag including the bearded drag queen of a guitarist, and the male go dancers got things soaked with a wet t-shirt contest, he began to look extremely confused. "It's a Gay cover band!" A young drunk punk in a leather jacket yelled to explain Black Fag to him.
Overheard: Whoa, what have we got here, what the hell is this guy smoking?" Tesco Vee asked a fan in a bandana holding up an apparent nicotine vaporizer. "This guy in the front is smoking incense. Oh wait, you're smoking you're mother's cunt hairs? I heard that shit is legal now in California!"
Critical Bias: The current incarnation of Black Flag performed in Hollywood, but the only original member for the band was founder, guitarist Greg Ginn. Ginn recently sued his former band mates over the use of the band's original logo with the group Flag, which featured Keith Morris, Bill Stevenson, Chuck Dukowski, Dez Cadena and Stephen Egerton. Black Fag however told the crowd in Long Beach that the band holds an open invitation to any original member of Black Flag to come on stage and perform with them. 'The only requirement is they have to play in drag!" Liberace Morris said.
The Crowd: An equal balance of old school and grey haired punks and younger punks. There were lots of leather jackets, spiked and dyed hair, ripped jeans, old school chucks and patches galore. Lots of hot ladies and tons of Misfits, Black Flag, Minor Threat and Smut Peddlers shirts, and most people were holding tall cans of Pabst Blue Ribbon.
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Next: The Meatmen's set list
The Meatmen's set list: 1. Men of Meat 2. Dinosaur 3. Meatmen Stomp 4. Trolling for Anus 5. I've Got a Problem 6. Tripple B 7. Dwarves 8. Killer Kunt Koulter 9. Dumping Ground 10. Shut Up and Suck 11. Lesbian Death Dirge 12. I'm Gonna Fuck you 13. Fast Food Fist Fuck 14. Rock N Roll Enema 15. Crippled Children Suck 16. I Sin for a Living 17. Mr. Tapeworm 18. Pissed Hot For Weed 19. SuperBikes 20. Orgy of One 21. 2 Down to Go 22. Alcohol 23. Come On Over to My Crib 24. Stud Powercock 25. Evil In a League with Satan 26. I'm Glad I 'm Not a Girl 27. We're the Meatmen and You Still Suck