Lucid Culture

JAZZ, CLASSICAL MUSIC AND THE ARTS IN NEW YORK CITY

Custard Wally at Don Pedro’s, Brooklyn NY 6/25/08

Comedic Brooklyn punk band Custard Wally blasted through an absolutely kick-ass fifty-minute set mixing a lot of new material in with the band’s older, frequently scabrously funny, sexually explicit three-minute songs. It was like being transported back to a CBGB of the mind circa 1979, the band sounding much like a cross between the UK Subs and Motorhead. Frontman Chris Giunta plays Gibson SG guitars through a huge Peavy combo that gets a wickedly overtone-laden, brimstone sound so loud that the vocals were pretty much indecipherable all night – and the PA here is pretty powerful. But no matter: Giunta is a a consummate showman. Between songs, he addressed the audience in the trademark phony British accent he uses onstage: “This a song about…EATING PUSSY!!!” And so forth: this is a band that doesn’t itself seriously at all. But the music is another matter. They opened one of the songs with a heavy metal version of the hook from Anitra’s Dance, by Grieg. Otherwise, there was a lot of riffage, a little jangle (on the completely over-the-top, snide All the Sex in the World, from their previous album Estrogennia Dementia) and plenty of straight-up three chord punk rock, including a stomping version of their vicious anti-trendoid rant Pretty Little Ponytail Boy. Giunta’s an excellent guitarist whose occasional flashy displays of technique and skill are almost invariably satirical, and tonight proved no exception as he tossed off several lickety-split, faux-emotional Jimmy Page style hammer-ons when it came time for a solo.

 

Then he gave one to the bassist, and then the drummer, whose face immediately took on an expression that pretty much said “how am I going to pull this off without making a complete asshole of myself.” So he pounded his way around the kit a couple of times and then brought it down to just the tom-tom, sparing the audience considerable pain and suffering as high frequencies ping-ponged off the untreated cinderblock walls. Meanwhile, Giunta switched guitars, took his sweet time tuning up, drank half a beer and finally glanced over at his bandmate with a sadistic grin as if to say, “Fuck these people.” Then they finally launched back into the song. If that’s not punk rock, nothing is.

 

They closed the set with their new single I’m in Love Wif Shithead, leading the crowd in a singalong of “shithead, shithead, shithead,” ending with the melody to Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. And it was just like CBGB, 1979: back in those days, everybody wanted to sound like Aerosmith. Punk rock was banished to a dumpy country bar in a shitty neighborhood on upper Bowery, and pretty much the only people who went there were from the other bands who played there. Seems that what upper Bowery was to the late 70s, Bushwick is to the late zeros, except that there aren’t nearly as many bums.

 

Custard Wally’s t-shirts are also a kick: they’re designed as a tour shirt with the band logo on the front and a list of 2005 tourdates going down the back. Only these dates are the pretty much monthly gigs they did at the Continental along with a WFMU appearance and a single show at the dreaded Pussycat Lounge. You can get one (and a copy of their new cd Call Me Walt) at their cd release show here on August 16 at 9.

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June 26, 2008 - Posted by | Live Events, Music, New York City, Reviews

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