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  • MDC gets pissy in land of Selena

    26. Apr. 2009, 15:34

    4-6-09

    Monday night. Traditionally, a shitty night.

    At least in my experience.

    After parking in a shady-ass spot, commencing our usual pre-show drug ritual, and relieving myself in the parking lot, my good friend/professional kegpuncher Big D and I exit my truck and make the small trek to our destination. The muggy, near-constricting air of Corpus Christi's blackheart-downtown and the all-too-familiar sightings of destitute homeless, unkempt prostitutes, and various nightcrawling streetwalkers makes an appropriate backdrop to a night of booze-chugging, bone-chiefing, and slam-dancing.

    Or maybe I'm just smelling my own shit, again.

    Various looks that run the gamut of disgust and annoyance permeate my peripherals as Big D and I rub elbows with lackluster locals going through the motions as we enter the Compound, Corpus Christi's premier DIY venue. Yeah, you bet I've got a bone to pick with this town. But I digress, to the matter at hand...

    Planting ourselves towards the back, twelve-pack ready, I realize that we just missed local "hash thrashers" S.U.S. These kids seem avid to jump on any gig willing to have 'em so even though I still have yet to witness their live transmissions of ganja-grinding goodness, they still score points with me just for their spirit alone.

    Up next was locals the Avenue Rockers. I know, I know...I know. You don't have to say anything. After the first bar of the Avenue Rockers' opener I look to Big D and we both seem to simultaneously mouth the letters "N-O-F-X". "Yup, this is gonna be a long set.", I say to D as I continue to drink myself into a near-stupor. The Rockers proceed to plow through every sound that late 80s/early 90s-era pop-/melo-punk could have to offer. Rancid, U.S. Bombs, Social Distortion...you get the idea. Y'know, all those bands that worship the Clash but can never be the Clash.

    And that's because I fucking hate the Clash.

    Moving on...

    First up for the touring bands is Portland, Oregon's Embrace the Kill. The name completely caught me off-guard and I assumed this was a local band. Good thing I stuck around for their set as it was downright punishing. While looking a bit like a cross-breed of Stephen Baldwin in Bio-Dome and Jon Favreau in PCU (you know, the dude who plays "Gutter"), the drummer completely battered every inch of his kit while spewing forth venomous wrath (I didn't take my eyes off his impressive performance for the entire set) alongside his two other bandmates' fervent display of raw aggression via strings n' amps...and this was just the first song. A sickly dosage of grind-injected hardcore, the three-piece killteam continued to launch an unbridled fury of noisefuckery, gleaming with grit, teeming with aggression. Thy cup runneth over, indeed. Here's the lesson, kiddos: NEVER judge a book by its cover, its title, or by the other books that happen to share shelf-space with aforementioned book. That being said, Embrace the Kill, I apologize and applaud. Way to kick me in the junk.

    Long Beach's long-running punk/hardcore unit Final Conflict have seemed to pick up newfound energy in the past years because I see them pop up on tours here and there. Glad to see Mr. Jeff Harp, the band's sole original member, isn't letting all the new kids have all the fun. The current FC line-up is toting some younger (but by no means "virgin") blood, including one Shane McLachlan of Orange County grindcore juggernauts Phobia. Wasting no time, the Conflict rip into their set much like a god-fearing, body-building motivational speaker rips Houston telephone directories "for Jesus". God-fearing these political punk stalwarts are not, however, making a career of calling out leaders of the world for their inhumane-while-smiling treatment of their fellow man. And for 25+ years, no less. Shane belted out the first few songs in a somewhat-relaxed mode, pacing back and forth, sippin' on a brewsky, warming up the pipes. All business after awhile, though, as his performance evolved into a more fierce, scathing attack. It's a shame that more of the crowd wasn't moving around or at the very least getting closer to the action. While I appreciate vocalists that encourage more participation from their audience, I realized (again) that it was a fucking Monday and I'm sure it's easier for a live performer to feed off a more-frenzied crowd. Still, the Conflict did not dissappoint albeit a somehwat-tame performance.

    Following a quick toke-break invitational from Abel of S.U.S., we readied ourselves at the frontline for the assault on mediocrity and complancency that is MDC. Outspoken mainman Dave Dictor started this insititution back in the wee-ol' days of the early (and burgeoning) Austin punk scene. Originally beginning life as "jagged-around-the-edges" garage-punk pugilists the Stains, Dictor and his bandmates decided for a change of scenery and followed in the wake of fellow leftist Austinites the Dicks to San Francisco. Changing their name to the anonymous acronym MDC (which can mean anything you want it to, as long as it's offensive and abrasive) proved to be a more extreme slant, in terms of musical tenacity and lyrical philosophy. Ups and downs, line-up changes, blah-blah-blah, yadda-yadda-yadda. Everyone's got a story, and so does every band. LOOK IT UP. As far as present-day MDC operations go, the prime directive is relive and revive the urgency of those early days to garner a new following while waking some of the "old heads" of punk's yesteryears.

    While I'm not sure if it was requested by the bands or the venue, the personal touch of the bands performing on the floor was welcomed by this avid show-goer. But as far as Mr. Dictor goes, I believe he was more annoyed than anything else. In fact, I recall one of the members of Embrace the Kill (bass player, I think) nearly acting as Dictor's bodyguard, getting in the face of anyone who tried to penetrate the imaginary forcefield surrounding the MDC frontman. And it's not like the pit was that intense, just a few kids and knuckleheads flailing themselves around just to let loose a little. Hell, I even threw my fatass in the mix a couple of times (I am no stranger to the pit, readers). Leaving the man to his own faculties and fantasies, I took a step or two back from the area while staying close to the action. At one point a mass of moshers nearly ran into Dictor mid-performance and at the song's close drummer Al Schvitz started barking at a kid, probably telling him to back the fuck off. While I do respect Mr. Dictor and his wishes to be kept safe from physical harm, I can't help but want to say to him, "...dude, you're in a punk rock band. You play live shows. Sometimes those live shows involve playing on the floor, right in front of your crowd...you play punk rock. Do I reeeeeally have to spell it out for you?" If this was the case then I'm more than positive preparations could have been made for him so that all this hub-bub could have been avoided.

    Aside from being slightly jaded at the whole scenario I still enjoyed the rebel-rousing spirit of these older cats as they bashed out hits spanning the early days ("Church and State", "I Hate Work", and the perpetual crowd-pleaser "John Wayne was a Nazi") all the way to their 2004 outing Magnus Dominus Corpus. And while it might have been unnecessary and downright belligerent of Mr. Schvitz to get in the face of said crowd member, it does prove the fact that these guys still have a fire lit under their collective asses. Shit, they're probably even more bitter with age. Bitterness is the wellspring from which this movement flows. As long as man sees fit to instill himself with money and clout, MDC will carry bitterness in spades.

    ---------------------------
    Last.fm artist pages:
    -MDC
    -Final Conflict
    -Embrace The Kill
    -Avenue Rockers
    -S.U.S.

    Last.fm venue page:
    The Compound - Corpus Christi, Texas