You have to either accept or dismiss the incomprehensible aesthetic at R Bar on Bowery before you can properly take in the rock act that you’ve come to see. I chose to accept the pre-show DJ mix — which ranged from Dion’s “The Wanderer” to the Sex Pistols’ “Submission” — as a fascinating expression of hard-edged music’s evolution from the gravelly rock of the early 1960s to the wailing punk of the late 1970s.
How that continuum then makes the leap to thirty years later in a poorly laid-out nightclub with pallid go-go girls on poles is anybody’s guess. But if you shut out the aesthetic confusion of the venue and let yourself take a head trip from “London Calling” through “Tainted Love” to beyond Green Day’s “Holiday,” and add a singer who Debbie Harry could only dream of rivaling, you just might end up checking out punk act Future in Plastics who let it rip on the first Tuesday of every month at the R Bar.Future in Plastics appeared in 2006 as a five-piece, and you can dig performances of their tunes "The Monkee Song," "Cross Eyed Crystal" and “Wolves of Sleep" from their Lit Lounge Halloween show. That original lineup recorded a seven-track EP called U Look Like A Model, which can be found in online stores including CDBaby and features several choice cuts including “Snow,” “PDA in the CIA” and “Employee of the Month.” Keyboardist Andrew has since departed and drummer Percy has been replaced. The current four-piece lineup is tight, intense, and impossible to walk away from. Their grooves are Pantera-tight, fronted by powerhouse vocalist CoCo who effortlessly carries her punk lyrics through the glorious racket behind her. (And occasionally noodles on a synth.) Bassist Paul has the super-wide stage stance of Joe Strummer, and provides some sweet harmonies to pull the punk towards pop. Drummer Eddie is a maniac, beating on a crash cymbal that sounds like a trash can lid, yet actually controlling the intricate onstage rhythm party. The band’s secret weapon is guitarist Culley, who hides out in the corner and throws in a few vocals now and then but is clearly the bandleader – and he cleverly saves his rave-up solo for the very end of the set. The current three-song EP from Future in Plastics is available from various sites, (including the band’s MySpace page) and is an excellent representation of their current sound. There is a decent video clip available from their gig at John Street in March, and a much better clip of their live performance of the fantastic song “Gun Control”. But their professionally produced video for “Dead Sea Rolls” is a must-see. Future in Plastics continues at R Bar on the first Tuesday of each month in 2009, and has every reason to show up in the opening slot of a major-act festival by summer.FUTURE IN PLASTICSLive at R Bar, 218 Bowery, NYCFirst Tuesday of every month. No cover.