Putting the Grand in Guignol

at the Key Club, June 4

A metal parody band opening for the bands it parodies was either an inspired idea or an unfortunate accident; either way it was fantastic entertainment. The blackshirt audience kinda went “Huh?” throughout the set by sexy tub-o’-lard Fifi LaRue and his whitefaced cartoon crew; meanwhile I was laughing my head off as bellower LaRue dismembered mannequins, pulled “Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt’s baby” out of a tiny coffin and demanded the return of the ‘80s.  Short guys in platforms Andy Monic (bass) and Marcus Sin (guitar) churned the unexpectedly craftsmanlike Priest-meets-Dictators songs, and provided goofy visual counterpoint to horned crimson drummer El Diablo and the droolworthy Lanel Roxx, whose one-finger keyboard “work” was as perfect as her spaced expression. Brilliantly stupid concept.

The transition to the serious metal of Intentional Rage ground the ol’ gears, but clarity soon dawned: These burly Simi Valleyites in cargo shorts (“Hecho in Mexico,” read the shirt of lead barker Wray Gould) have got a lot of engine under the hood. Their riffs truly rock, and drummer Patricia’s murky thrashing made for a Raw Power-like chemistry. You gotta like a band that can ignore formula and build a strong machine from available parts.

Back from his side project Starwood, Lizzy Borden has reclaimed his skull masks, strippers and beloved hatchet, just like it was 1987 again. Wrangling a searchlight, wrapping himself in a flag, screeching through a rubberized TV screen, he made a spectacle of himself as few can. And let’s not forget that he’s still got a voice made for flayed melody, a raft of military-strength material from “There Will Be Blood Tonight” to “Me Against the World,” and a band (led by guitarist Ira Black) that totally shreds. You pay, L.B. delivers.

Okay, I’ll quit complaining that WASP don’t play their fine newer material, and just lie back and let Blackie Lawless rape me. The smoke. The lights. Lawless’ ever-evolving crazy-spring mike-stand skeleton perch. A new drummer and six-stringer (Mike Dupke and Doug Blair) with an ammo dump of chops, energy and control. Anyone who didn’t get chills from the dark rampage of “Wild Child” or the balladic agony of “Sleeping in the Fire” just doesn’t like rock, and we all appreciated a rarely played early selection, the spooky “Widowmaker.” It’s essential that WASP close any bill they’re on; when they drain you, you stay drained. Up in the balcony, a geisha fanned a dead couple. They died happy.

I ordered a burger, and it came with ketchup. I never eat ketchup. Tonight, what the hell, pour it on.


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