At the Alter of the Gimmick

At the Alter of the Gimmick

by JasonBryan / Aug 21, 2016 / 0 comments
Friday, 5 August 2016

Throughout the history of performance there has been the need for something, a gimmick, to separate your act from the pack. The Rolling Stones once wore houndstooth jackets to make them recognizable amongst the see of early rock boy-bands. But some acts transform the use of the gimmick and make the gimmick the foremost attraction to the band. Last night at The Regent in downtown LA four bands that know how to use the power of the gimmick played on the same stage.

The night started with the Radioactive Chicken Heads, a band that features a hen house full of characters with chicken masks fronted by a singing carrot. With names like Carrot Top, Sgt. Cyclops, Punky Rooster, Greasy Chicken, etc. you can get an idea what you’re getting into. Their brand of genetically modified rock and roll is hard and hilarious, but that was the theme for the night. They featured blobs of fat devouring their chickens, and even had a guest appearance from Gwar’s Techno Destructo to help them finish their set.

Next on the bill was Haunted Garage fronted by Dukey Flyswatter who basically looks like Leatherface from Texas Chainsaw with his distorted face and flesh apron, accompanied by a demon and a zombie on guitar, and the villain from Wes Craven’s “Shocker” on Bass. These guys take horror punk to the extreme, sexy back-up dancers included. My favorite was the intro to their second song when to the tune of “Angel of the Morning” they sang, “Just call me Satan…” It gets a little X-rated after that, you’ll have to see them yourself to hear the rest of the lyrics.

PPL MVR or “People Movers” brought their brand of Sasquatch rock and roll to the stage and the crowd seemed to instantly be more packed and more into the music. I did notice the Bigfoot playing bass was playing a 2 string bass. Giant hairy apes singing music is a more common sight than a 2 string bass.

Finally the main attraction Mac Sabbath brings their Drive Thru Metal to the stage. The name says it all: they are a parody band of Black Sabbath changing the lyrics to warn listeners of the horrors of the fast food world. Between the lasers emanating from the vintage Ronald McDonald head helium balloon tanks and the evil clowns (also with laser eyes) behind the stage, the performance ante had clearly been raised before the band even took the stage. Ronald Osborne’s slightly demented version of everyone’s favorite fast food clown takes a back seat to the sheer eye dropping aesthetic that is Slayer MacCheeze. From the horns to the googly to the cheese eyebrows, the look was only eclipsed by the shredding of the guitar. Grimalice plays bass in a very demented version of Grimace that is half Slash, half drank too much purple Kool Aid. The Catburgler is the perfect simplistic blend of the Hamburgler and the drummer from KISS. Musically the instruments were strong and you felt like you were banging your head to Black Sabbath, but the showmanship, with the clown style magic tricks, takes it to a whole other place that is in no less dark. The show included giant inflatable hamburgers bouncing around the crowd like beach balls a mosh pit, and Ron Osborne crowd surfing.

It was a night of costumed showmanship that I look forward to seeing rivaled in the future.

Check out the photo gallery here:

Rating out of 11: