Sunday, May 10, 2009

Cranked up

I had forgotten how good it feels to feel your innards melt, to get your eardrums pulverized. The rawk, it lives!

At least it did on Friday night, when my friend Mike took me to the Chrome Cranks reunion at Santos Party House. Now even though I followed the East Village/Lower East Side scum-noise scene pretty closely from the moment I moved to the NYC area in 1988, that band completely eluded me: I don't have any of their records and never saw them live. At least I had seen and heard the ferocious rhythm section in various other bands: drummer Bob Bert with Knoxville Girls, Bewitched and Action Swingers (not to mention late Pussy Galore and early Boss Hog, though I never caught him with Sonic Youth), bassist Jerry Teel with KG and Honeymoon Killers.

On Friday the time had come for my first encounter with the Cranks, 12 years after their last local show. As soon as the first song hit, I broke into a huge grin. A loud but sharp PA, a band in complete control of its sound, even a red strobe light: perfection.

As Mike put it elsewhere, there were quite a few bands doing the Chrome Cranks thing in the 90s, but there are close to none these days: intensely focused and controlled aggro rooted in a punk-blues groove.

Don't get me wrong, there's plenty of people putting on memorable rock shows these days, from Lightning Bolt to Monotonix, but they tend to go for a more spastic, all-over-the-place energy, whereas Chrome Cranks are rooted in songcraft and the aforementioned groove. They're playing Glasslands on Friday 15, and I may just go back for seconds.

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