Tramps Reunite! Life Good Again!

The Cadillac Tramps/Throwrag/Rooster/The Gasoline Addicts

Galaxy Concert Theatre

Friday, April 2

So we put in an appearance at the packed-packed!-Caddy Tramps reunion show at the Galaxy Concert Theatre, only to find that it was really a cleverly disguised meeting of the wife-beater tank-top religious cult! Everywhere we looked, it seemed-in the aisles, in the pit, in the men's room-there were guys modeling their tanks in that stand-and-pose, look-at-me way we usually see only in gay bars.

But enough about clothes-we were here for the music. The Gasoline Addicts seemed decidedly out of fashion, what with their singer's four-eyes look-just like ours! We identify!-and severe lack of tattoos (the visible kind, anyway). At times, they blew chunks of good, basic, hard-fast-loud rawkenroll. But at other times, they were just shooting off one, droning, duh-duh-duh-duh or nah-nah-nah-nah after another, with the gaps filled in with indecipherable, cacaphonous caterwauling. Still, for all the pain, it felt oddly good to hear them, not unlike the sensation we get from a colonic irrigation with curiously strong mints. What are their songs about? Call it Rorschach music: they are whatever you want them to be, probably something involving cars. Or girls. Or cars and girls. Or girls who drive cars.

We pretty much carved Rooster (their banner in the lobby proclaimed them Rooster Inc.) a new poop chute after catching them last fall. We always like to give bands second chances, but things have not changed for the barnyard fowl. They did more of their deadly dull, hip-hop-goes-hardcore shtick, which, were this 1988, would be wildly inventive. That's all we planned to say, but-since they gave us a shout-out from the stage-we'll just ask this: if we're the racist ones (and we're not), then why did the buggin'-and-wiggin' guy in the “13” shirt constantly make us feel we were watching an olde-tyme minstrel show? And is it not alarmingly sexist and offensive-or perhaps just alarmingly self-parodic-to shout, “Buy our motherfuckin' album, bitch!” at the end of your set? We're just asking!

Throwrag have been on our minds since we foolishly missed their now-semilegendary South by Southwest appearance a couple of years ago-the one involving full-frontal male nudity, among other things (hit them up for the whole story). Maybe that's why they haven't been invited back to Austin. God knows we've had plenty of chances to catch 'em since, but our concert karma was never in the right place . . . until Friday night. We didn't know what to expect, but we took to 'em instantly. They're a vaguely psychobilly band, kinda like the Cramps, but good and without that wrinkly old fart, Lux Interior. You could even label them “cow punk,” if anyone out there is old enough to remember when it seemed that every Inland Empire bar band was doing that. Throwrag were a grand, beer-spewin', ass-slappin' good time. But we were actually sorta disappointed. Where was the nudity and long vomit streams about which we had heard so much? All we got on the shock-rock front was a rather tame bit of washboard fellatio. Then we heard from some of their crowd that this was Throwrag's G-rated, family-oriented show (the Galaxy is all-ages, after all). Maybe next time we'll get the real Throwrag experience.

There was a long, inexcusable wait for the Cadillac Tramps because Gabby took his sweet time getting there. Gabby finally surfaced, showing off his new, svelte figure (which on the upside means that he could move around a lot easier than he used to, but on the downside means that he can't jiggle what little is left of his gut). The Tramps were completely, totally soo-purb. We had forgotten just how good they were way back in the early '90s-until they worked through all their shoulda-been-mega hits like “Shake,” “All I Wanted,” that “train” song that we forgot the name of, and a nifty new one called “Everybody Needs Salvation.” And all of it felt exactly the way hard, loud rock N roll oughta feel in 1999: pure, threatening, from-the-heart, swaggering, sweat-soaked, dangerous-real, by God, real! It was like they never left. Now that the real monster is alive again, maybe all those Tramps-lite bands will shrivel up and blow away. Welcome back, boys! Now please play more shows. Please? Please? Hey-we're just asking!

Mail tapes, CDs, show dates, hate mail, whatever to Locals Only,OC Weekly, P.O. Box 10788, Costa Mesa, CA 92627-0247.

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