For those who don’t know about these bands, let’s do a quick lesson:
Voodoo Organist is a unique band that is primarily awesome vocals with an organ and drums with the addition of a theremin (my personal first time ever seeing a theremin used live). The genre could be described as death jazz with acid influences. Thee Swank Bastards is an instrumental surf-punk group that is good enough to make Agent Orange blush. Mutton chops, black suits and an exotic dancer (who can hula hoop the entire set) provide an excellent and unique show. The F@gz is a brand new punk band with Kelly Kaos of Yeastie Boys on vocals, Todd Roll on bass, and punk legend Rikk Agnew (The Adolescents, Social Distortion, Christian Death, D.I., 45 Grave and countless other bands) on drums.
The show was at Club Napoleon’s in Joshua Tree, CA. Really small venue, but the size provided an intimate setting. Voodoo Organist opened up the show with an interesting and unique set. A couple voodoo skulls were thrown here and there, along with his instruments, which were an organ and a thermin. He played a lengthy set list of 11 songs, lyrically spanning topics like Satan, the CIA, tripping on acid, and the end of the world. I love the vocals here because they are gruff, yet you can hear them clearly. He played an extremely good set with only the thermin, organ and drum loops. I would’ve loved to hear drums, but I guess the drummer couldn’t make it.
Thee Swank Bastards… Now these guys mean business. I never heard a surf punk band live till now, and man I love it! They later told me that they don’t have a predetermined set list, which is admirable because they have the ability to play any of their songs without a hitch and without error. Added to that already awesome live set was the sexy Szandora doing the hula hoop throughout the entire show. The live show was full of energy and the only gripe I have here is that there were not enough fans to enjoy this as much as I did. I hope that they catch a break and go on Warped Tour someday for the masses to see.
The headliners were The F@gz. Chances are that you have never heard of them. At the time of this show, they were only a month into their existence. The drummer is the punk legend Rikk Agnew. The lead singer is Kelly Kaos of The Yeastie Boys, a bizarre circus band that plays punk classics with clown lyrics. Rounding up the lineup is Tim Mullin, Miles Bandwell and Todd Roll on bass and guitars. They immediately jumped into their high energy set with “Hazard County,” “Trouble” and “Classy Lady.” I love what I call “true” punk shows because they truly don’t give a fuck who and what they might offend, whereas some modern punk bands aren’t as fearless. Another thing I really liked is that their sound is fresh and unique in punk. Unfortunately they don’t have any recorded songs just yet, but hopefully that will change soon. They actually went through a lot of songs (11 in total) until the damn police came and broke it up. I guess that’s some of the consequences of having an outdoor venue next to houses.
Overall, it was a really good live show, despite the turnout it received. I know that here in the high desert is mostly full of hippies that worship Phish, and I hope I can help change that for the better. Not many good shows come through here, but I know that when The F@gz, Thee Swank Bastards or Voodoo Organist plays here again I will be there for sure.
Go to their websites here to buy merch, albums and learn more:
Thee Swank Bastards: http://theeswankbastards.com/
Voodoo Organist: http://www.voodooorganist.com/