In December Dean Cercone released a record with the grindcore Bear Skull and another with the Beefheart-punk Skinless Boneless. They all played a huge show together on December 17th at the Shop for Dean's birthday. There were a lot of weird guy taking videos with professional cameras there which seemed annoying at first, but their videos ended up being amazing and really capture the atmosphere of this show. I guess I just felt out of place with them all there, but we were actually doing completely different stuff and I'm happy to see their great videos.
First up was the amazing Actor Cop which is Sasha who had played with RJ, Greg, and me in Mousy Razor a few days prior at Beethoven's Birthday Bash. I had also spoken with him at the Rocket from the Tombs show before that where he had told that his band "sounds like yr favorite band" after I had asked him what they sounded like. He ended up being sort of like if Billy Joel and Todd Rundgren and Queen had a noise band and it was really awesome. He wasn't even really noisy really, playing acoustic guitar for the first song and then a keyboard. At the end he played a crazy green Harmony electric guitar, but blew the power somehow and had to switch back to the keyboard.
Next up was Slag Womb, a band I had never heard of before, but there was a long delay in between. Slag Womb were weirdly youthful and hit a bloody Santa Claus mannikin around. The crowd seemed to change when they started playing and was suddenly a bunch of younger looking people; it made me think they might be a band that was still in high school, but I really doubt it. I guess they also have a pretty large fan base too, even though I had unfortunately never seen or heard them before. They reminded me of one of my favorite Pittsburgh bands, Dress Up as Natives, a band that was around in the late 80s that I have never seen. Slag Womb was also sort of riot grrl-esque, but despite their look and name they were not as distorted and hardcore as I had expected.
Third was one of the Dean collaborating bands, Bear Skull. One guy screamed while another played drums and screamed. I didn't really like them too much. I think their set could have been shorter and they would look less ridiculous if the vocalist was just gone from the band; it seems like the drummer could do it all himself. The guys with the cameras made a video of the set that you can see here. I don't like this video nearly as much as the one they made of Dean Cercone because they did a lot of weird lighting effects and pauses. You can see me at 0:51.
At the end of Bear Skull's set, the drummer was joined by Dean and Jim Storch. Together they made some really amazing stuff with Jim throat singing over Dean's guitar and the drums from Bear Skull's drummer. It was spooky and mystical and I loved it.
It was near midnight, but Dean had just started playing. His set was long as usual, but he did cut it shorter due to my previous criticism. Everyone was really into it and I thought he did a great job; I think it was definitely one of his better sets. Dean played his huge organ along with his classic set up of drum and guitar. At midnight everyone sang happy birthday to him and North Star. A video of his performance is here.
Finally Skinless Boneless started to play; it was around 1AM. Skinless Boneless had a new lineup after their old bass player quit, also adding a second guitar. As soon as they started I felt like my energy had all returned. Skinless Boneless sounded maybe the best that I've ever heard them, and Dean and North danced during the set. Not long after they had started the owner of the Shop came in and told everyone to leave as she didn't want to lose the building. It sucked, but there really shouldn't have been so many delays. This is the second time that I've seen them get cut short by an event getting shut down.
I think some things got lost after the show, and there was a weird issue with money with a lot less than what seemed like it would be there from such a large crowd. Everyone went to Howlers later and hung out with Dean for a while. It was a pretty fun night.