Seeing the Dirtbombs again confirmed my memory that this is a great band – and it also made me wonder why I don’t listen to their records more often. Maybe the live Dirtbombs experience is better than the recorded one, but the key thing is that this band has some terrific songs. I picked up their new album, the aptly titled We Have You Surrounded, at the merch table, and so far it’s sounding pretty strong.
Unlike their show a few years back at the Double Door, this Dirtbombs set did not begin with the big dramatic buildup with one musician at a time. Without any fuss, they all trotted out onto stage and launched right into some ripping Motown-y garage rock. I love the way Mick Collins acts a bit like a guitar hero, while at the same time, he’s using a little amp, dwarfed by the typical guitarist’s gear. The two-drummer setup was as cool as ever, with the two playing not exactly in synch but constantly keeping all of the songs in motion. The Dirtbombs are apparently not doing the two-bass thing anymore; one of the bass players, Ko Shih, played guitar all night this time, though I caught her doing some bassist-style fingering on the lower strings. And she’s still playing with her mouth agape and hair strewn across her face, as if she’s in a constant state of shock. The Dirtbombs sounded especially good whenever the three singers all joined together and the crowd got wild in front of the stage. Oddly, they played two INXS covers for their second and final encore. I have to say I always hated INXS, but I could appreciate the spirit of the songs when the Dirtbombs were playing them.
The first band of the night, Coldcock Jones and the Shithawks, was just as vile and stupid as you would guess from the name. The singer ended up practically yelling at audience members who didn’t appreciate his band’s subpar Ted Nugent wankery. Maybe it was all a joke, but even if you looked at ironically as some sort of performance art, it was a painful experience. The second band, Lee Marvin’s Computer Arm, was considerably better, doing some lively garage-punk, but man, those silent pauses in between the songs were awkward.