Easy Action LIVE review
Nov 14, 2006, 21:00
JOHN BRANNON pic © Kelli Alexandra Tenis
EASY ACTION / TRICLOPS! / RED FANG at Thee Parkside, San Francisco, CA; November 10, 2006
'Twas a quiet night in Thee Parkside when Portland's Red Fang shuffled onto the floor—but it didn't stay quiet long. Whipping the air into a thick custard with the help of three sizzling Sunn amps, the quartet's awesome post-Sabbath rock resembled a racing mudslide trying to knock the moss off Sequoias. Their expert pummeling linked chunks of bass-heavy scrunge to stringy tendons of lead guitar without ever coming across as a wank-fest. And it wasn't the slow, sludgy, dino-sucking tar pit one might expect when hairy guys and Sunn amplification systems come into play—the band's rush was uniformly fast and precise. A hearty, good wallop from vagabond members of Last of the Juanitas and Party Time. Check into it.
Triclops! then commenced to attack the audience with a callisthenic freak show featuring all the hallmarks of a vintage Alternative Tentacles bizarro-punk riot: indecipherable humor, intense tempo shifts, and a singer who spent more time on the barroom floor than most cockroaches. Filthy, flipped upside-down, and screaming through waves of space-echo reverb, the ex-Fleshies vocalist wormed his way around the club while his band mates (comprised of members of Bottles & Skulls and Victim's Family) flailed through punchy barre chords and lunging stabs of treble and feedback. If the Mars Volta had built upon At the Drive-In's hardcore foundation instead of flying off into retro-prog outlands, it might have sounded something like Triclops! (BTW, I allow them the gratuitous exclamation point in their name, usually a too-clever turnoff, because they're wild! Exciting! Fun! And not to be missed!)
Finally, as the audience edged uneasily closer to the front of the room, Easy Action followed the Triclops! cyclone by force-feeding everyone some mean, meaty, and rank Detroit rock. No pretense (or even much in the way of stage presentation) here, just a blue-collar dig-in-and-do-it attitude that was reinforced by the music's muscular clench. Singer John Brannon is a pissed-off panther with eyes like sunken holes and a voice cauterized by hate—in a rock 'n' roll police lineup, Brannon would easily be the nastiest of a bad bunch. So while he squeezed the microphone like an enemies' throat, the band ripped out song after bile-dripping song without break or mercy. The set ended with a cover of the Urban Dogs' “Limo Life”—bleakly recast as “Ghetto Life”—that left no doubt as to the group's deathly serious intent. Punk rock rarely gets this urban and tough. If you see Easy Action on a dark sidewalk, you're justified in crossing the street. Don't mess.