Saturday, November 19, 2005

The Dean Malenkos and Officer Girl

It's a good thing I've adopted the strategy of spending only a small amount of cash when I go out or this week would have killed me, between trivia / karaoke on Tuesday, OFU / Pat Deighan on Wednesday, Walter Shreifels / Bucket Truck on Thursday and tonight's show this week has been pretty much solidly ferocious.

Tonight I was staring down the barrel of an evening shared with a programming book and my NES emulator, which gave me another good reason to leave the house even if I was on my own. I walked past one of those uniquely hilarious displays of rage outside of Myron's, the choice quote was "Oh yeah? Well I'll find the back door then I'm gonna burn this fucking place to the ground!" Apparently he was from Montague so he didn't give a shit. Good to know.

Fortunately Gonzo got into Hunter's right after I did so I wasn't alone for very long. Also, my deciding to stay home and watch a Futurama episode I hadn't seen before ended up leading to near perfect timing as the Officer Girls started sound checking about right when I got there.

Officer Girl (I don't honour novelty capitalizations, sorry, rusty.) started off playing my favourite song of their's from their first batch of songs that they played all over town this Summer.
They started off pretty well, playing my favourite song of theirs, "Wreck Rip" I think it's called. (actually you can hear this one by going to and clicking on the big poster image thing.)

The crowd that stood up as soon as they started knew all the songs and were familiar enough with the band to really get up and bop along. These girls are definitely still the hot band in town.

The thing that keeps me listening to Officer Girl is that they seem to have a nack for throwing in very familiar-sounding chunks of some melody or riff lifted from some rock or pop song, and run through a rock tumbler to be punched around enough to fit with their off-cambre style. So your ears keep getting tingly feelings of familiarity while the rhythms keep on changing up and sneaking around to tap you on the other shoulder. There were a bunch of times when I was sure the song was over and they just switch right up into another time signature and keep on playing the same song. Unpredictable in a way that keeps my brain on its toes. These guys have some great talent, and by now everyone who cares about good, original music around here knows it.

That was just the appetizer, though. I have to admit right here that I really didn't know much about the Dean Malenkos. I sort of ignored the PEILocals message board threads pimping their new website or what-have-you. I just figured they were some bar rock band by the sounds of the name. Good thing I stuck around to be proven a complete and utter idiot.

Gonzo's description when I asked him what they were like was "twitchy punk" which I took to mean that they had a drummer who liked to think he was in charge of things. Usually that can be pretty cool, as long as I'm not in the band, in which case the drummer should simmer down and stop getting uppity. But if it's not me having to follow along to the crazy time changes and bizarre stops and starts then it can be pretty damn excellent to listen to. My interest was piqued.

I knew things would be good when the drummer (Jon Empworth, the only member I really had ever heard of before) did his warmup and drilled the shit out of the drum kit like it was just sitting in his way. Before they started they began to taunt the crowd a little, like any good 'fighting against all odds' punk rock outfit should. They complimented Officer Girl, saying if they knew the opening band were going to be that good they would have practiced.

As the Dean Malenkos started the people taking up the little area in front of the "stage" suddenly switched from being a friendly-looking crowd of mostly regulars to a rather more uniformly male and uniformly less sociable bunch, obviously people who had arrived just for them. That's usually not a bad thing except for the guy who thought that hardcore dancing on a 9 foot x 6 foot stage was a totally dope idea.

... behind the scenes as al cobbles together his review...

al says:
I'm listening to the songs on the malenkos' website and can't figure out if they played any given one or not
al says:
stupid punk rock

... that was your exclusive look behind the scenes of al's review embellishing magic.

They did the make fun of PEI thing pretty consistently for most of their set, something I've heard enough times before to not find it all that ironic anymore, but they totally pwned our entire province when they actually played part of a Haywire song. There as absolutely nothing one can say to that. The closest anyone came was when the guy next to me pointed out that Dartmouth didn't really count as Halifax. A nice try, but didn't phase them, natch.

As for the songs, punk rock is punk rock is loud and quick and punchy and not at all constructed to stay in your head. I remember the excellent drumming, and the pretty hilarious lyrics, but they didn't really cohesively form themselves into discrete units in my memory that I would remember as songs.

Anyway, here are links to the songs on their website, to make up for my not being able to slip in names of songs into this review to try and sound like I know what I'm talking about:

Norwegian Punk Song
Bad Western Starring LL Cool J
The Song About Eating Pussy
Not My Problem
I don't Wanna Cum On Your Face
Christian Right

Definitely the kind of thing I can never get enough of live but really
can't sit down and listen to at home. The lyrics are chuckle-worthy and the energy is there, but it's not quite my thing in that environment, I suppose. Same goes for dance-y techno stuff, really. Gotta be in the right setting. But as live acts go, these guys gave me everything I wanted, and also THEY PLAYED CRAZY TRAIN. And didn't throw in any of that Sum 41 'we're too cool for this' bullshit, either. They played a hard song, showed that it was hard, and played it pretty well. Then later on they played "Panama", and even as the singer did the David Lee Roth "raach down between my legs" bit, you weren't made to feel like a loser for enjoying it. This also put them solidly in the camp of punk rock musicians who can really play their instruments well, for what it's worth.

They seemed to have a good time, the way the stage was set up it didn't really give a lot of people a chance to move around, but then again it can often look pretty barren at a bigger stage like Myron's if it's not totally packed, and I got up as close as I wanted, so I can't really complain. The sound was certainly good. If they keep booking bills like this one Hunter's could really rise to the top of the local venues all on its own.
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By al - 3:14 a.m. |

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