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