Hot Snakes
Sun Oct 31
722 E Burnside

At the annual CMJ music convention in New York this year, the buzz was not on some newfound hipster band, Brian Wilson talking about Smile, or the Vice after-party with all the coke. In fact, the band that people were talking about didn't even bother to play CMJ. The act in question was the Hot Snakes, who played the previous week in New York, leaving a resonating discourse of those who saw them, and those who were left out in the cold from the sold-out show.

The ex-member pedigree of the Hot Snakes is about as strong as they come. Core members John Reis (Rocket From the Crypt, Drive Like Jehu), Rick Froberg (Drive Like Jehu), and Gar Wood (Tanner) are joined by the band's latest addition, frighteningly intense drummer Mario Rubalcaba (Clikitat Ikatowi, Rocket From the Crypt)--the only percussionist who could possibly draw attention from the dueling frontmen, Reis and Froberg.

With Audit in Progress, their third release in as many years, the band might have birthed their best effort to date. It's the death rattle to the uninspired punk rock march, proving that with age and experience come a wealth of skill and restraint. The down-stroked guitars still set the foundation for the rigid back-and-forth of Froberg's ardent delivery. As he stomps and stutters out songs like "Think About Carbs" and "Kreative Kontrol," his urgent delivery sounds more impassioned than ever. Herein lies the power of the Hot Snakes. In between the sporadic releases and the short tours that are rumored to be their last, the band makes born-again music fans out of even the most cross-armed jaded listeners.