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"Hell Yeah" Fantasma el Rey went to see psycho-billy band Horrorpops.

Concert Review: Horrorpops – House of Blues, Sunset Strip – 3/24/06

“H-O-R-R-O-R-P-O-P-S!!!” is the cheer and Bring It On is the latest album by Horrorpops who rocked the House of Blues to its foundation as they proved Neil Young’s line that “rock ‘n’ roll will never die.” But I’ll get back to them in a minute. There were two bands in support of Horrorpops this night: Left Alone and The Arrgolites.

Left Alone went on first, but because I was a tad bit late, I missed half of their set and didn’t get a chance to listen too well. As soon as we got into the club, my girlfriend and I had to figure out how to get in touch with some friends that we were holding tickets for. Added to the mix was the fact that we had to part a sea of people to find a desperately needed restroom due to the extra large energy drink we shared on the ride up to keep us bopping. My girlfriend also wanted to check out the jam-packed Horrorpops merchandise booth. All of this equaled no time to listen well. From what I did catch, I thought that they were an “all right” band. I heard some punk rock and what sounded like a country tune, a nice compliment to their “classic punk” look, complete with colored Mohawk on the lead singer. My girlfriend’s youngest brother, David, who was attending his first concert, thought that they were a pretty solid band and liked them a little more than the band that followed.

The Arrgolites took the stage next and, at first, I thought they were an okay band with a solid rhythm and beat. Yet as I listened, I began to feel the vibe of this reggae band a bit more. The lead singer had a strong voice and an even stronger passion for what he was singing. This cat tried his hardest to get the crowd jumping and singing along but to no avail, yet he kept at it and went into the crowd to move them. Their versions of classics songs such as The Temptations “Ain’t To Proud To Beg” and The Beatles “Don’t Let Me Down” were carried well by the lead singer’s fire. His passion came to a peak on the jam “Reggae From The Ghetto.” This was the song I liked most from their set; here the singer tried his best to get the crowd to repeat the four-word chorus, but still not much of a response. I hope this band keeps going; I would like a chance to see then again.

“Bring it on!” As Horrorpops, (Patricia Day lead vocals/upright bass, Kim Nekroman guitar, Geoff Kresge guitar, and Niedermeier on drums) hit the stage, the House of Blues erupted. The crowd pushed and rushed forward to get in as close as possible to see the band they had been waiting all night to hear. Opening the set with “Freaks In Uniform” and moving into “Hit And Run,” the first two tracks on Bring It On, set the tone for the evening. The lively crowd moved in one big sway from side to side. As the music became harder, the traditional mosh pit came alive and inspired a good amount of fans to start crowd surfing. They saved it all for Horrorpops because they weren’t moving so much for anyone else that night. They were way more alive than the people at the first Horrorpops show I saw earlier on this tour back in November of ’05 at the same venue.

Horrorpops kept everything moving with fan favorites such as “Dotted With Hearts,” “Baby Lou Tattoo” and “S.O.B.” On “Dotted With Hearts” Nekroman (who fronts his own band The Nekromantics) and Geoff do some doo-wop vocals, which always gets a big cheer from the crowd. We also get to watch NoNo and Kamilla Vanilla, the two go-go dancers, shine; they dance with giant stuffed hearts and throw them into the mob for extra love and cheers.

A big hit with us creepy sorts is the dark love song “Walk Like A Zombie.” I dig this song live because Nekroman and Patricia sing together, playing side by side and back to back, which is always a plus. It has cool lyrics about holding hands in the cemetery and naming kids “Morticia” and “Fester.” It has everything the late night, “B” horror movie set love to hear about. “S.O.B.” is a country/rockabilly tune that’s found a place in my heart, not only for its driving drums and steady bass thump, but also for its twisted look at the traditional country “done wrong” song lyrics.

With its references to “wreaking in the pit,” “Cool Flat Top” always sends the crowd into a frenzy. This is where the pit usually gets its heaviest. The one song that always sends them whirling is “Julia,” the killer opening track from their first album and one of my favorites as well; both times I‘ve seen Horrorpops this number is used as an encore for obvious reasons, as its guitars are masterful and the beat and bass are infectious.

Horrorpops definitely bring it on in concert with their hard-driving, house-rocking brand of “psycho-billy.” Here I should probably give the “ten peso” version of “psycho-billy”: it’s basically the meeting of punk rock and rockabilly with more attitude and a flare for things that go bump in the night, and Horrorpops do it well. Patricia’s vocal growl, delivered with a snarl, is even stronger live and reminds me of a more hardcore Wanda Jackson. Her howls and oohs are awesome, as she uses them to full effect to whip the crowd up before the start of certain songs; Patricia will sing a little of the chorus and ask if the audience can follow. They respond well when Necroman has anything at all to say; his command of the mob is powerful. While Geoff’s efforts to work them up go over just as well, his time spent with Tiger Army as bassman serves him well here.

Their fans truly adore them, from the hardcore of punks and rebel greasers to the girls who see Patricia as a kick ass role model. Even David, who’s not as familiar with the band or the whole “psycho” scene, enjoyed his first show and thought that Horrorpops rocked. The only drawback for me was that my favorite tune of theirs wasn’t played, the ever-popular “Psychobitches Outta Hell.” But with all the other killer material I’m not at all disappointed and will go see this band for as long as I can score tickets before the venue sells out and most of the time they do just that.

Written by Fantasma el Rey

About Gordon S. Miller

Gordon S. Miller is the artist formerly known as El Bicho, the nom de plume he used when he first began reviewing movies online for The Masked Movie Snobs in 2003. Before the year was out, he became that site's publisher. Over the years, he has also contributed to a number of other sites as a writer and editor, such as FilmRadar, Film School Rejects, High Def Digest, and Blogcritics. He is the Publisher of Cinema Sentries. Some of his random thoughts can be found at twitter.com/ElBicho_CS

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