My friend Mark and I teamed up to see the start of Dirty Rotten Imbeciles’ But Wait… There’s More! Midwest tour with newly-minted label mates, Deathwish. Over two years have skanked by since we last saw the crossover kings, and what followed were some great shows to bookend our primary reason of travel; a Descendents gig at First Ave (I will post about that experience later). I’ve written about D.R.I.’s status in my music world here and here, and these two shows kept their position secure.
But Wait… There’s More!, the Imbeciles’ long-awaited new EP, has a tour-only purple vinyl variation, of which I purchased one at each show. The five-song EP, recorded with their ’80s Metal Blade Records producer, Bill Metoyer, is a throwback to the early hardcore years with the straightforward tracks “Against Me,” “Anonymity,” and “As Seen on TV.” The re-recordings of “Mad Man” and “Couch Slouch,” each with slower tempos, may have been unnecessary, though, as the originals are classics. Drummer Rampy’s replacement, Brandon Karns, performs fine, but I would’ve preferred current beatmaster Walter Ryan’s power and speed. Despite this and years of consistent touring, the band sounds youthful, especially Brecht’s undiminished unique vocals and Spike’s riffing. I cheer for Harald O. because he finally got to lay down bass on a studio release after a decade and a half of dedication. I’m happy that D.R.I. released this and hope that sales are strong enough to encourage a full-length follow-up to Full Speed Ahead. Buy a copy here, now!
The Triple Rock Social Club, Minneapolis, Minnesota, September 14, 2016
Hello, Minneapolis, one of my favorite Midwest cities! At the T-Rock, opener Deathwish, whose sound is perfectly described by the vocalist / bassist’s T-shirt reading “Motorcharge,” was thrash-worthy enough without overshadowing Kurt, Spike, and Harald, who are now backed by the appropriately nicknamed Walter “Monsta” Ryan. With no disrespect to Karns, Rampy, Griffin, and Brecht before him, Ryan is a needed burly, revitalizing force, and has become one of my favorites of the Imbeciles’ many rosters. The performance in Prince’s hometown was also Ryan’s first anniversary with D.R.I., and he’s clearly valued by his bandmates. The Texas natives offered speedy, steady tempos and wide coverage of their career to satisfy the punks and metalheads. A rare moment of direct, amusing political conversation involved Harald’s attention to his Municipal Waste shirt with a depiction of Trump, and Spike calling to bring back Bernie. Harald’s on-stage comedic antics are humorous, and logically fit with The Three Stooges-inspired pals. After the concert, as usual, the guys were approachable and I respect Kurt’s helming of the merch table and the others doubling as roadies. Spike is mild-mannered and after a very brief chat, he said he’s doing well in the years following his cancer treatments. When told we were to see Descendents the next night, Spike asked that we say hello to them if we were to meet them. That wasn’t to be, but publicly, here’s the belated “Hi from D.R.I.” to Milo, Bill, Stephen, and Karl.
A “fifth Imbecile,” Jana Perry, photographer and Spike’s better-half, deserves recognition as a crucial supporter and manager of D.R.I. She’s been seen at all but the earliest of gigs I’ve attended.
Reggie’s, Chicago, Illinois, September 17, 2016
D.R.I.’s sold-out Chicago show was a Riot Fest after-party event and saw many more in the audience than Minneapolis. Mark had already headed back home, so for this Rotten occasion, I was joined by my wife after she excitedly watched that day’s Riot Fest headliner, Morrissey. D.R.I. blazed through the exact same set as Minneapolis, opened again by Deathwish and an amusing S.O.D. / WWE-influenced crew, Texas Toast Chainsaw Massacre. As with each show, the band chit-chatted in-between songs. Most interestingly, Kurt told of his family’s connection to Al Capone and his bootlegging enterprise. Following the show, my wife and I were beat. On our way out, I shook Kurt’s hand, bought another 7″, and told him I was pleased to make two shows in a week. His genuine smile was another reason I respect Dirty Rotten Imbeciles.
Per usual, if you enjoy the free documentation, consider supporting the artist, and like a wild Indian from outer space, keep thrashing hard, or you’ll get dragged down beneath the wheel!