The Horsepainters

The Hub
Saturday, Aug. 26

This looks to be the second great band to emerge from the ruins of the excellent Shuffledown. The first, Fistful of Lonely, recently imploded when their main guy, Bearden Coleman, cut out for the East Coast. So now we have Dave Clucas and his new project, the Horsepainters, and though their steel player was on the injured-reserve list for this show (only their third), we could still ably pick out their strengths as a mere trio. Their main assets are their well-done, place-name-peppered, imagery-laden songs—literate stories about convertibles, cigarette machines, jars full of pennies, waitresses, drowned girls, long and lonely drives, and cheap gas. Because of their missing member, they seemed to be in more of an acoustic mode on this night, which brought out their obvious Neil Young and Gram Parsons flavors—all well and good and all, but it only left us parched for what they would sound like as a fully functioning alterna-country monster. Certainly a band we'll be keeping an eardrum bent toward.

Cannibal Corpse
Galaxy Concert Theatre
Thursday, Aug. 31

Speaking of bent eardrums, Florida-by-way-of-New-Yawk death-metal heroes Cannibal Corpse would be happier if they could slice an ear off your head and suck the juices from the wound. Actually, that would be pretty tame for them—one of their album covers does, after all, depict a corpse performing cunnilingus on another corpse. Yep—real family-friendly stuff!

Knowing their penchant for shock and gore, we just had to stop by the Galaxy for this Corpse gig. The wardrobe of the evening: T-shirts—the blacker the better. The required hairstyles: long and longer. The facial expressions: scowly and surly. The crowd's male-female ratio: about 20 to 1. As for the snappy band-audience banter conducted by vocalist (he sure ain't a singer) George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher (bet it says that on his birth certificate!), that went something like this:

“Are there any fucking women here?! Well, this one's for you, then. It's called . . . [putting on his most guttural, I've-just-removed-my-larynx voice] . . . 'FUCKED WITH A KNIFE!'”

Yeah, we winced at that one, too. But everything else we found to be hysterically funny, from Fisher's other song intros—”This song is about shooting blood out of your cock!” “This song is about having your testicles sawed off and boiled!”—to the way everybody in the room looked so damn serious, as if they hadn't gotten the joke yet.

Please. Cannibal Corpse have plenty of ugly, ugly songs and ugly, ugly album covers, but that's their shtick—their gimmick. It's worked, too: they've been blasted on The 700 Club, condemned by Bob Dole, and banned from jittery record stores the world over. They're like the Eminem of metal—the more outrageous they are, the more press they get and the more albums they sell. What they're about for their fans are fast, painfully loud, mosh-producing beats and riffs, which they offered up in buckets for their clan of black-cloaked brethren (the Galaxy posted NO MOSHING signs, which, judging by the severe migraines the security people appeared to be having, was a policy impossible to enforce).

But the real attraction here is everything except their music (which is actually pretty dull—strip their tunes down far enough and all you have left are polkas). How could anyone possibly take them seriously when Fisher plugs his band's latest product by announcing, “We have a new live album coming out in September —go buy it or fucking die!” or when “Corpsegrinder”—after every verse of every song—tipped his head forward and spun his long locks around really fast, so as to make himself look like a perpendicular ceiling fan? (He should probably change his nickname to “Hairfarmer.”)

And those song titles! “Skullful of Maggots,” “Hammer-Smashed Face,” “Necropedophile,” “Blowtorch Slaughter,” “Meat Hook Sodomy,” “Entrails Ripped From a Virgin's Cunt” (didn't the Monkees do that one originally?), “Devoured by Vermin” and “The Happy Puppy Flower Dance.” Okay, we made that last one up.

We stopped laughing at them when we realized nobody else around us was. Yeesh! You Corpse fans are humorless. But then, this was music for people who think pro wrestling is real, for people who are still playing Dungeons N Dragons 20 years after they left high school, for people who drive pickup trucks with BUSH/CHENEY 2000 and LET THE ASS KICKING COMMENCE stickers on the bumpers (no lie—we actually saw this vehicle in the parking lot). Fantasy music for fantasy realities— fascinating, terrifying, repulsive and ultimately boring.


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