Koffin Kats and Speed Crazy at Asbury Lanes
Koffin Kats, Speed Crazy, Hand Me Downs
Asbury Lanes, NJ
April 25, 2008
The Koffin Kats returned to the Garden State last Friday night for a never ending evening of all things psycho. The band played just about every song in their repertoire during the nearly two hour set, pausing only for a few seconds to chug a beer.
First up were The Hand Me Downs, an adrenaline-fueled punk rock band in the vein of Rancid and equally as punchy. I would have loved these guys when I was 16. Sure, the sound is a bit dated and done many times over, but it was worth it just for the two Operation Ivy covers.
I haven’t seen Speed Crazy since they tore through Connections a few years back. At the time, I was put off by the bands’ mile-a-minute guitar licks and thrashy stylings. I now realize that the off-putting live show might have been due to the now defunct club’s miserable sound system. At the Asbury Lanes, Speed Crazy came off like a powerhouse rockabilly band with mean riffs, cool vocals, and a groove that just doesn’t stop. Erica Kozak and Greg Baby traded vocals sweeter than Exene and John Doe, while Snake pummeled the skins behind a floodlight lit bass drum. This set was well worth the second chance.
The Koffin Kats took the Asbury Lanes’ stage for the third time in under a year and this was their best show yet. The band made up for the abridged set they did opening for Nekromantix last year, by leveling the audience with dozens of songs including a smattering of new numbers from their up coming record “Drunk in the Daylight.”
Singer Vic Victor whipped his bass around the stage feverishly pelting out lyrics to now legendary psychobilly numbers such as “Buzzkill Bitch” and “Koffin Kat Rock.” Nearly three songs in, he smashed his mic against his forehead opening his head like a WWE wrestler. Blood streamed down his head as he cried out lyrics from the “Graveyard Tree.” Guitarist Tommy Koffin ran wildly around the stage, cranking out metal licks from his Marshall stack, and playing off Victor’s crazy posturing.
Sure, 90% of the rockabilly bands out there hide behind their giant bass fiddles and simply croon out their best Stray Cats impersonation. For the Koffin Kats, the show is first and foremost, the songs are just a natural extension of their insanity. From the first note to the last, this band destroys the stage and own their audience. This is a must see show for any fan of pure rock & roll.