Nekromantix & Koffin Kats at Asbury Lanes
Nekromantix/ Koffin Kats/ The Choptops/ Toothless George
Asbury Lanes, NJ
November 24, 2007
It’s rare these days to catch a show so loaded that there isn’t enough filler time for a bathroom break or a second beer. Nowadays, promoters fill up a concert with second rate acts, has beens, and crappy local bands. It’s hardly worth getting to a show at doors let alone 15 minutes before the headliner hits stage. Looks like psychobilly legends The Nekromantix actually wanted to give their fans their money’s worth, because they’ve put together a package tour so ferocious that you barely have time to breath, let alone take a piss.
I first caught Toothless George at Whiskey Dix in Philly opening for the Koffin Kats about three years back. His set hasn’t changed much, but his tenacity to entertain as a man band sure has. George cranked out a dozen country punk covers and originals in less than ten minutes with one foot stomping a bass drum, a hand strumming his guitar, all while crooning out the hits with his toothless smile. Highlights included bitchin’ covers of The Misfit’s “I Turned Into A Martian” and The Clash’s “Should I Stay or Should I Go.” “Do you want to hear a Rancid cover?” George asked. “No!” shouted a lone voice. “I guess the Clash it is,” he responded. “And if you don’t know this song, you don’t belong here. Leave now.”
After tossing George and his drum off stage, The Koffin Kats stormed The Lanes and performed a career spanning set of psycho-punk that sped by so fast the entire audience had an aneurism. From “V8 Nightmare” to “Koffin Kats Rock,” the band had the crowd eating out of its hands. Bass slinger Vic Victor careened around stage, swinging his mighty upright any which way while screaming through “Sleep” and crooning on “Graveyard Tree.” A 5 foot 8 inch banana man emerged from the crowd at one point, singing and moshing along as Victor chanted for “peanut butter jelly time.” Guitarist Tommy Koffin shredded out lick after lick, making funny faces at a crowd that seemed more amused with Victor’s on-stage antics, included bloodletting and bass aerobics.
The Choptops took second billing (surprising considering the Koffin Kat’s popularity in the area) and made fans out of everyone in attendance. Sounding like a cross between Revered Horton Heat and The Hellacopters, The Choptops play down and dirty rockabilly with tinges of Americana. The singer doubles as the drummer, and he stood through the whole set singing his brains out. The bassist and guitarist kept the crowd entertained with twangy rock, dripping with reverb, and low end thump. The Choptops ended their set with rousing renditions of The Misfit’s “American Nightmare” and a Stray Cat’s number, staying true to both originals and making it known how happy they were to be in the area that spawned both legendary bands.
Just past 10:30, the Nekromantix’s road crew set the legendary coffin bass on stage as the trio made their way through the crowd. One look at stoic singer Kim Nekroman, and you new the band was about to kick the shit out of The Lanes and everything around the retro bowling alley. For nearly an hour and a half, our psychobilly heroes tore through a set of horror punk classics, reaching deep into their catalogue and dusting off tracks like “Nekrofelia” and “Devil Smile.” Australian guitarist Pete Belair just joined the band ten shows ago and he is filling Troy Destroy’s shoes better than anyone could have imagined. The guy might lack Destroy’s intimidating stature, but he more than makes up for it in chops, shredding so hard his fingers looked like they were bleeding. The set skewed more to the band’s Hellcat years, but it’s hard not to worship great tunes like “Subculture Girl” and “Gargoyles over Copenhagen.” When Nekroman finally asked the question on everyone’s mind: “Who killed the cheerleader?” Everyone replied in unison. “It wasn’t me, no!” What a bone chilling night.