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Cramp Stomp!


I stumbled from Water Street Music Hall last Thursday night with a renewed faith in this jerk-water burg after seeing rock 'n' roll legends The Cramps with local garage darlings The Priests. The night turned out to be everything I'd hoped: loud and lewd, with wild behavior centered around songs of lust, death, sexual fetish, drugs, and good, old fashioned, dead-end, juvenile degeneration. This show virtually woke the dead, as zombies from Rochester rock's old days emerged from their crypts --- cats I hadn't seen since the Scorgie's days --- to rock with the next generation of despondent hopefuls. And it was several generations of rock 'n' rollers that came to get down with The Cramps, as I saw more than a few toddlers boppin' to the jungle beat on their parents' shoulders. They're gonna grow up just fine.

            There ain't no way to get around it: The Priests f***ing rock. They looked and sounded maniacally dangerous and switchblade cool. And though I know they love to wallow in the dark, lo-fi sonic raunch of back-alley dives, they sounded huge on the Music Hall stage. I can't get any of their songs outta my head. Don't want to, either. They are one of the best bands of the noir-garage genre I know, anywhere.

            Dressed entirely in sleek rubber, The Cramps lead howler, Lux Interior, hosted the irreverent proceedings with classic rockabilly, Cramps' camp classics like "New Kind Of Kick," and an absotively killer version of The Count Five's "Psychotic Reaction." Interior is really profane, but somehow doesn't come across hackneyed or jaded. Vulgarity never sounded so pertinent.

            Red-headed guitarist Poison Ivy slinked all sexy-like, virtually expressionless except for the occasional Elvis sneer. My God, she is sexy. Her guitar playing is simple and raunchy, with all the fat cut out in lieu of her tenacious tremolo-twang. The band raged for close to two hours, culminating with an encore-closing feedback-and-reverb freak-out. It was Ivy running one of her spiked, high-heeled, red satin boots up and down the fingerboard, and Lux sniffing the other boot while playing with himself, before climbing up and swinging from the flown speakers like a punk Phantom of The Opera. Bet you wish you were there, huh? Sucker.

--- Frank De Blase