Volume: Brutal Juice Weekend, 5/27-29/2010

“What the Hell is that racket?” I thought to myself upon arriving at the club. As I got closer to the door, I can only imagine the sheer volume and noise going on inside. “Take a look for yourself” was the answer I received from the doorperson upon asking the same question out loud. As I go inside, I can survey the scene. I recognize my friend Quincy standing on a chair at the foot of the stage in a Jesus Christ Pose, drinking it all in. There are strobes going a million miles an hour, blaring volume, and at first glance, what seemed to be nonsensical chaos emitting from the stage and PA. All for about 4 people inside Fort Worth’s Mad Hatter’s Coffee House. It was summer 1992, thus was my introduction to Brutal Juice.

Saturday night wrapped up the D/FW stint of Brutal Juice’s intermittent reunion shows. No roadkill piñatas, no cigarettes extinguished on heads, no oil drums to pound on, just 5 guys, their instruments, and an arsenal of all-too familiar acid-punk sing (shout) along anthems for the past 3 evenings.

Evening 1: 5/27/10, Lola’s Saloon on 6th, Fort Worth – B

This must be one of the smaller places I have seen them play over the years, maybe a bit smaller than Mad Hatter’s. Opening with “Kentucky F*ck Daddy”, the Juice careened through 20 songs in 90 minutes, performing the majority of their 1995 juggernaut Mutilation Makes Identification Difficult, (Doorman, Whorehouse of Screams, Kathy Rigby, Galaxy, Burpgun, Lashings of the Ultra-violent), while mixing in older material from the self released tape, How Tasty Was My Little Timmy? (Waxing Gibbous, Drapey & Lovey) and songs from their 3 7” singles (All American City, Bound for Glory, Cannibal Holocaust, Black Moment of Panic).  Opening were the Me-Thinks and The Dang-its, but we only caught a little bit of The Dang-Its, which includes former REO Speedealer guitarist Mike Noyes, who were aptly booked for the show with their energetic, almost anthemic brand of punk.

Evening 2: 5/28/10, Dan’s Silverleaf, Denton – A

This was the first time I had seen Brutal Juice in Denton since they had last played the much lamented Argo in 1996. What a homecoming tonight was, flanked by not only Denton’s finest, Record Hop, but an all too rare appearance from their Fraternity of Noise brethren, Baboon. This is a must-see triple bill, every time. Brutal Juice seemed to be happy to be back in their true home of Denton, with old school fans coming out of the woodworks. These are the types of people that will only see shows in Denton. I spoke with a couple of them outside during a short break, and they didn’t even know there were other shows going on in the area. Ah the bliss… Tonight’s Brutal Juice set was mainly the same as the previous night, and wouldn’t really waver throughout the weekend, just taking different forms and arrangements. Baboon had a nice warm-up show, bringing out the big guns for those of us old schoolers presenting favorites from 1994’s Face Down in Turpentine (Master Salvatoris, Tool, Why’d You Say Die, Kamikazee, Sucker), 1999’s We Sing And Play (Lushlife, Closer), 1997’s Secret Robot Control (You Kill Me), opening with a track from their first single, 1993’s Save Me, and bringing their set to a close with the freakout of “Bring Me The Head Of Jack Skinner”, complete with trombone and drummer Steve Barnett’s Room Evacuator, which I thought could have been spotlighted a bit more. Record Hop kicked the evening off proving they should be the heirs to a Fraternity of Noise freshman slot. Record Hop is easily one of the best 5 bands playing in town right now.

Evening 3: 5/29/10, Trees, Dallas – A+

There’s nothing much more to report, setlist-wise, from either Brutal Juice or Baboon. Tonight’s audience was truly transplanted back to the mid 90’s. This was a timeless show, to be honest, as I don’t think there is an inkling of real 90’s influence in either of these bands. The main difference was, and I am not trying to take anything away from either Dan’s or Lola’s from the previous 2 nights, Trees is just a club on an entirely different level. It always has been, even as it lay dormant for nearly 4 years. Baboon played the same set from the night before, but with more vigor and confidence. And Brutal Juice were just that: brutal. Please pardon the cliché, but it’s the only word to describe them through this PA and on that stage in that room. Larger than life, louder than Kiss, Brutal Juice commanded your attention, with a high point (for me) coming with the one –two punch (complete with improv interlude segue) of “Whorehouse of Screams” into “Kathy Rigby” that slapped you in the face. Opening with “Nationwide” and closing with “All-American City”, Brutal Juice again showed why they broke up too early.

As I watched Brutal Juice at Trees, I just couldn’t help but wonder what might happen if their major label debut was released today? This was clearly a band well ahead of its time.

As for the afore-mentioned Quincy who was at their very first show I saw – he was at Trees on Saturday as well, performing an ill advised stage dive. And I do believe he ate a fair amount of concrete for his troubles.

As I finish this, Brutal Juice is currently destroying Austin, for the final show of this run.

Some things just never change.

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~ by thesynaptic on August 4, 2010.

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