Crappy Dracula/MBL/Vignettes/Sleazybeats @ Frank’s

By - May 17th, 2010 02:01 am
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By Anthony Hanratty

It’s reassuring to see a small, local venue like Frank’s Power Plant prove itself as something more than a rock and roll weekend warrior. The Power Plant is giving a public voice to the Professional Amateurs and doing it relentlessly–something sorely needed in our sometimes sordid city. It is an ancient place, both storied and haunted. It has been said that many murders have taken place within the confines of this complex. You can almost feel the ghosts of futures past breathing down your neck whilst within the walls, wondering who the fuck you think you are. Maybe those are real eyes in the portrait, or there could be cameras concealed in the corners. Maybe it’s just a byproduct of my own stoned paranoia; but every time I’m here it takes the correct combination of chemicals and courage to lose the fuzzy, chilling sense that I am being watched.

Opening the evening last Friday were The Sleazybeats, a very young, dapper group of lads playing fun, poppy rock and roll at a good pace and with a seemingly sound motive. They’re something of a power pop period piece, looking and sounding the part of a late seventies punk band right down to the obvious cover selections. The formula is definitely there, but that’s about all there is. The thing that makes a great power pop band is that one track on their LP that is so listenable and memorable that it tricks you into liking the rest of the record by accident. The Sleazybeats just haven’t written that or those song(s) yet. They are a very talented group that could do a lot of cool things if they could shift their focus from chiseling a well worn wheel to learning how to drive a modern machine. My advice to The Sleazybeats: Stop liking The Replacements, keep liking The Buzzcocks, start shooting smack into your toes, eat acid, get your clothes dirty, run away from home, and keep playing music because you’re obviously good at it.

Next were The Most Beautiful Losers. In my notes was a stream of cruel and unusual insults regarding these large, middle-aged men from “somewhere in Ohio.” I do understand that it takes all types to make up our mutual melded mess and everyone is beautiful, and it’s a crime against humanity to focus solely on the negative, and whatever; but there was absolutely nothing I liked about this band. That being said, I will include my stream of nastiness as it appears in my notes, unaltered and in chronological order, purely for comedic value:

“This is unmentionable/horrible skinhead bullshit/horrible words and sounds/unbearable moron music/like sub-Social D/like devolved versions of un-evolved persons/three fatz and a skinhead drummer who are all former heroin addicts with several water-head babies from different mommies/the worst shit I have ever heard/”this is a drinkin’ song”/fuck me/every rock and roll song is a drinking song, fucker/worst lyrics ever/I fear that if I reproduce them in any part the page will spontaneously combust and leave my hands scarred, forever physically reminding me of the punishment my psyche has endured this evening/say something positive/bands like this remind me that my world isn’t as bad as I think it is, especially in the morning/they used weird words like “townsfolk”/what a bizarre potpourri of bands/FUCK THIS!!/how much longer??”

Sorry, Most Beautiful Losers. I was drunk, impatient, and slightly offended by your set.

Next band: The Vignettes, another new-ish band. They are a guitar/drum-girl-duo claiming to be “from Hell.” The woman’s voice was shrill and shrieking, so much so that I couldn’t watch all of their set. There was a heavy Sleater-Kinney influence in their garage rock structures. Their performance was determined and endearing. Although the songs were at times completely unlistenable, I would much prefer this type of amateurish, angsty, punk rock over the well orchestrated, wimpy, 18 dudes with flannels, glasses, and beards type stuff that saturates our surroundings. My advice to The Vignettes: Get someone who plays bass and keyboards, get your singer some ‘ludes and persuade her to switch to Lucky Strike straights and bourbon cocktails.

Finally, Crappy Dracula was up. I know that it’s superficial and tired, but seriously; best band name ever. For instance, if Hootie and the Blowfish had been called Crappy Dracula, I would have a galaxy of unexplored respect for my mother’s musical taste. If there were a Top 40 Country artist called Crappy Dracula, I would buy two copies of his album and find some way to like it. If Count Dracula himself had been named Crappy instead of Count, he would exude the modesty lacking in his character that makes him seem like such a prick. Milwaukee’s Crappy Dracula exhibits in their performances the counter intuitive quality of being great at being bad, the mathematical equivalent of their moniker. Like any decent, self-deprecating punk band, half of their songs are terrible and half of them are incredible. Anyone who’s seen them knows that their stage banter is a pillar of their set and there were far too many quotables to take note of any one in particular. Their transition from joke to serious is unnoticeable, because it doesn’t exist. They posses the rare quality of being seriously silly, a highly sought after trait in the world of crappy punk rock. For anyone who hasn’t seen them, they sound like Metal Mike and Milo Aukerman making queef jokes over a bong in a basement with Swell Maps blasting and a sociological epiphany right around the corner. They are very good at what they do: their great songs are truly great, and their shitty songs are unapologetically shitty. Get their new record and see them when they get back from creeping out and cracking up some other parts of our country.

Categories: Review

0 thoughts on “Reviewed: Crappy Dracula/MBL/Vignettes/Sleazybeats @ Frank’s”

  1. Anonymous says:

    Please everyone come to see a great show this coming Thursday, May 20 at Frank’s. All of the bands will satisfy your craving for weird, psychotropic, synth-heavy, krautrock.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I must say…after reading such an intense,utterly hilarious review of our band,there are a few things to be said….As any decent journalist knows, theres a certain amount of homework to be done when writing any type of article…With that being said,let me clear a few things up for you…First,we are not middle aged men,we are all in our thirties,respectivley,also,not all of us are from Ohio…Second of all…we are not skinheads by any means…Third of all,being a musician,the refrence to being a sub par Social D carries alot more weight than being a sub par journalist……Also,only one of us in the band has children,and I regret to inform you, they’re far from being water headed..whatever that means…I think the opportunity to slander children makes up for your inadequacy for use of nouns,adjectives,and verbs…but you’re the journalist,not I…Also,as you may know, any publicity is good for a band…Just take the Replacements as an example,since we’re dropping names…We truly found your review amazing,and laughed about it the whole 14 hour trip back to Ohio to hang with the towns folk….But,I’m getting away from myself….Being a supporter of local arts and music,we decided to print your review, and use it for band flyers….With any luck,you’ll be seeing them posted all over your city the next time we come through,which will be in a couple short months….Again,thank you for your support,we hope to see you again real soon Sincerely, “The skinhead drummer”

  3. Anonymous says:

    Wow. that has to be one of the most immature and unprofessional reviews I have ever read. That’s saying alot, considering I was on the school newspaper and college newspaper staffs. I have edited, read and written plenty of bad reviews. Your’s takes the cake! You were there as a journalist to review a show. Usually that means reviewing the music. You know, the show. Instead you decided to take a different approach. You must have been bored because you found a way to amuse yourself by making things up about one of the bands (Most Beautiful Losers). I mean really, three fatz and a skinhead? Former heroin junkies? If we are going to reduce ourselves to superficialy judging someone we don’t know based on one show or article then let me tell you my first impression of you as a person after reading this poor excuse for a review. I’m guessing you are a facist crackhead learning disabled pedarest who lives in your mother’s basement and still has a paper route. I mean, first impressions are everything right? Maybe next time stick to reveiwing the show and the music and not how much the band members weigh, or how old they are. By the way, calling people former heroin junkies or skinheads is not journalism, it’s just childish and unprofessional. God I hoope your parents didn’t pay to put you through juniior college, you hack.

  4. Anonymous says:

    To whoever wrote this piss poor review…I BEAT OFF!!!

  5. Anonymous says:

    Anthony obviously doesn’t know the difference between a band review or an advice column. I’m sure no one asked for his advice!

    Anthony, who’s telling you about these murders? Could it be the voices in your head?
    Perhaps I shall murder you and then you can haunt the Power Plant.

    I rather enjoyed the show that night especially the “skinhead” drummer!

    I’ll be at the show this Thursday and if Anthony tries to review it I’ll choke him!

    PS: My daughter thought Anthony was gay the first time she met him….
    How’s that for a first impression?


  6. Anonymous says:

    Hey folks, Erin P. your friendly neighborhood Managing Editor here. Thanks for your comments and feedback, which are always appreciated.

    We don’t always have to be on the same side of an issue and we encourage the free exchange of ideas and opinions, but here at TCD and Fan-belt we like to keep threats of violence (joking or otherwise) to a minimum, please and thanks!

  7. Anonymous says:

    Oh, so now you decide to edit. Did you bother to read Anthony’s bantering blog of slander? I’m disappointed at best, this site is sponsored by some of our favorite nonprofit organizations that we support. I wonder how they would feel about this drunkin, drug induced rambling that you published as a review?

  8. Anonymous says:

    Okay, I’m not going to really murder or choke the dumbass…

  9. Anonymous says:

    Wait–are you upset that Anthony said that a bunch of murders took place at the Power Plant? In all honesty, i thought it would be plain to see that he was speaking with tongue in cheek. But then again, such things are difficult to get across in print, i suppose.

    OK, so, clarification: to anyone who read this review and thought that people have been murdered at Franks: as far as we know, that’s not actually true.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Wow, this is easily some of the worst writing I have seen in a good while…

  11. Anonymous says:

    I really thought all of the bands at Franks were fantastic that night! I talked to the band from Ohio after there set and they were really nice guys! Even gave me free stuff!!!

  12. Anonymous says:

    I really didn’t want to comment on this; however, I now feel forced to.


    1. Frank’s rules. It’s a great place to see shows. I have no idea if people have actually been murdered there. I know no one has while it’s been called Frank’s Power Plant. I have definitely heard hundreds of cover songs murdered in every Milwaukee venue.

    2. I was stone sober when I wrote this, maybe that’s why it seems like such “drunkin, drug induced rambling,” “bantering blog of slander”. I wasn’t in the proper mindset.

    3. This review is not poorly written.

    4. If a band gives you free stuff it does not make them good. If a band consists of decent, hardworking people, your friends, or nice guys with cool gear, it does not make them good. If a band has attractive members, it does not make them good. If a band puts forth a noble, heart-felt effort, it does not make them good songwriters. I’m sorry to break the news: MOST PEOPLE ARE NOT GOOD SONGWRITERS. I know that seems like a shock, because you know so many, BUT: Most people can’t write good original songs. Bummer, right? Or is it?

    5. I am an extreme snob when it comes to rock and roll. It is a curse and a blessing. In my abandonment of mediocrity and banality I have come to be completely intolerant of most modern products. The trade off is that when something doesn’t fall into the endless pit called everyone else I will champion its existence forever. It’s usually worth it.

    6. Lighten up.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Well I think this is a decently written music review but I was at this show and I disagree with most of it. SLEAZYBEATS are one of the best bands in Milwaukee!!! I love them and we should all be going out to watch these guys when they play here. I LOVE the fact that they are similar to The Replacements!!!(I have never liked The Buzzcocks)
    One of the reasons I came to the show was to see THE MOST BEAUTIFUL LOSERS from Ohio. I read they were huge Replacements fans and was stoked to see them.I think it’s a gross error to lump these guys in with skinhead music or even punk music like Social D. These guys are in the vein of UNCLE TUPELO, LUCERO and even THE DRIVE-BY TRUCKERS. I was shocked when I saw they were playing on this bill! I thought they played a really great set even though it was pretty sloppy. They seemed drunk but were obviously having alot of fun. I think the songwriting was pretty damned great and the words really hit me especially the sad song about losing and old friend ina car wreck. Anyhow I just felt like I need to stick up for those guys bcuz they traveled all the way from Ohio, put on a great show and write songs with great words that really have a lot of heart and soul. It all comes down to a matter of taste I guess because I HATED the VIgnettes and Crappy Dracula. That music just didnt make much sense to me. I love Franks for having great music to go see though!

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