The Burning Brides
Thurs Aug 5
Ash Street Saloon
225 SW Ash

IS PUNK ROCK that actually sounds like punk still relevant? Do lyrical snarls like "I don't give a fuck" still have the same impact they once did? How many times can an indierocker turn his head and pretend that he wasn't shamelessly punk, like, four years ago?

Philly's Burning Brides, Seattle's the Catheters, and Boston's the Explosion sound "punk" a la the Stooges, the Buzzcocks, and the Dead Kennedys, respectively. But does that matter? Does that render them uncool to the punk/indie/ hip masses that have since intellectualized, grown up, and learned (or decided) that serious musicianship doth not equal being a part of "the Problem"? Let's break it down...

Burning Brides: Way marketable, but still inherently good-timesy. Everything about these guys is outwardly punk with a capital P. But y'know what? In an age when your average punk/indie band looks like a GAP ad, sometimes it's nice to know what side everybody's on. It's like musical comfort food.

The Catheters: Their saucy new Sub Pop rec, Howling... it Grows and Grows, is like going bowling with your little brother and his friends--no matter how much fun you're having you can't help but think, "damn, these kids are... kids." But what's wrong with immaturity? What's wrong with having mindless, rock 'n' roll fun sans artyness? Not a damn thing.

The Explosion: Total theater. Big stage moves. Cool hair. Feels and sounds a little like chimps on TV dressed up like humans and dubbed in with wacky voices--an act, a game, a choreographed version of "punk" that's unmistakably punk right down the pike. Still, when you're drunk in a dark club, it's not a bad way to spend 40 minutes. Maybe we should ask more from our music than that. Or maybe we should relax, chill out, and have fun. That's the best thing about punk--you have the right to choose. I choose fun.