HUMAN EYE / KILLER’S KISS / THE PETS, 9/16/05, Stork Club, Oakland CA.....
I had the most disorienting experience walking into this downtown Oakland club last Friday night; knowing I’d seen MONOSHOCK
while under the influence of mind-altering alcoholic beverages here something like 12 years ago, I was already prepared to have to reacquaint myself with the club, but was amazed how little (i.e. none
) of its interior & exterior I recognized upon walking in. I mean, that’s gotta be some pretty good 1993 vintage Pabst Blue Ribbon, you know what I’m saying?? Turns out the club relocated to a new spot years ago and no one told me. First up was a pop-punk act of some kind, followed by THE PETS,
a fast & crunching garage band whose set I mostly missed, dedicated as I was to mastering the nooks & crannies of the “new” Stork Club. I was told the bass player from the GRIS GRIS
moonlights in The Pets, so there you have it. I won’t allow myself to logroll about KILLER’S KISS
since they’re my pals – they left hours after this show for a 2-week US tour, which, with any fortune, is playing a basement or a party in your town tonight. Look it up
were the band most folks were here to see, and as an unabashed fan
of their debut CD of skronking Detroit electro-punk splatter, I had to get an up close & personal look. Unfortunately, the band instantly violated two of my most deeply-held rock show pet peeves – to wit:1.) Bands should always set their equipment up and get up there to rock as quickly and efficiently as possible
, and2.) Bands should never insult their paying customers by deliberately pogoing into or violently careening onto them, or by condescendingly approaching the audience in a hostile & non-forthright manner
On peeve #1, Human Eye took nearly an hour to set up their wacky stage props (eyeball, space craft detritus, etc) in a tiny club that they’d been hanging out in for hours
. Then came tuning, then came a bunch of aimless loafing, and then & only then came the noise. Thank Christ the Stork hired DJ Mitch Cardwell
to play the holy bejesus out of his rare punk 45/LP collection at top volume, giving me & others ample time to ogle his vinyl and maybe – just maybe – dance a little bit (on the inside
). On peeve #2, well, I never saw the CLONE DEFECTS
so I don’t know how much this is part of main guy Tim Vulgar’s shtick, but he was one of those frontmen who just get under my skin in a hurry – preening, flouncing “tough guy” BS, menacing the small crowd with a big “grrrrr
” plastered on his mug at all times & committing the aforementioned cardinal sin of physical contact, when physical contact is neither warranted nor wanted. Oh – and they only played 8 songs, and they weren’t really all that exciting. Too fast, or out of tune, or something. I don’t know. The last two numbers got some positive bonzai energy flowing as the keyboards groaned & fed back and the band seemed to be sonically hotwired all of a sudden, then it was “good night” & the dissatisfied Oaklanders streamed for the exits muttering gravely about "their money’s worth". That CD is a must, one of the best things this year, but if this is representative of the Eye’s live show, then goddamn it, I’ll just stay home next time and really show ‘em!