Violent Soho @ Maxwell’s

HOBOKEN, NJ—Guitars were bashed and people drunkenly smashed as California quadruplet Dead Country rocked the nails off the wooden interior of Maxwell’s on April 1. The music was so jagged that it gushed through the sound system and caused sparks to emit from the amps, setting the stage literally on fire. As a mass stampede ensued, Jerry Garcia of Grateful Dead status flew in on a pink, water spewing dragon and extinguished the blaze. When the gray smoke settled, Garcia dismounted the dragon, took to the stage, and played a mean guitar solo on his Fender Stratocaster.

Okay, so maybe I didn’t get to see Dead Country. I could say I got stuck in traffic or hit snags at the venue’s doors. I could, and probably should as to not anger my employers at The Aquarian Weekly, but that wouldn’t be truthful. Instead, it seems I came up with a case of “ya big dummy” fever and was stuck in bed watching old Sanford And Son episodes. Besides, I was there to review Violent Soho, who wouldn’t grace the stage for another hour-and-a-half or so. But being the fair journalist that I am, I did check out Dead Country’s music on their MySpace page. And it was good—a powerful arrangement of head-bopping rock perfect for a Thursday night show romp. Listening to the tunes made me a little sad that I had missed the band’s performance. Damn that junkyard of shenanigans!

When I finally arrived at the venue, I was convinced that I had somehow inadvertently gone through some kind of location warp straight to Mexico. There was a mariachi band on stage, Mariachi El Bronx to be exact, and that’s precisely the style of music they played— mariachi. Clad in matching black charro outfits that were intricately detailed with white embroidery, the five-piece band delivered their ethnic style of music to a packed house. I tried to make my way up front to catch a closer look at the trumpet player’s sweet porn style ‘stache, but got stuck within the freakishly tall members of the audience. Seriously, there must have been a height requirement to get in—no one less than six feet tall. It was like walking within a forest of Black Cottonwood trees wearing American Eagle shirts and backwards baseball caps.

I wondered why these trees—urm, I mean humans —seemed to be so into the mariachi music when the rest of the bands featured for the night were strictly rock. So I took to my trusty web capable mobile phone later on in the evening to look the band up. It seems Mariachi El Bronx is the alter ego of hardcore punk rock band The Bronx, who is signed to Island/Def Jam Records and has played such venues as the Warped Tour. The Bronx was also scheduled to perform that evening, but I somehow missed that act, too, as they performed after I left. Go figure.

Two bands and $40 in drinks later, Australian group Violent Soho made their first ever rockin’ appearance on Maxwell’s’ stage. As the band began performing, one observant show attendee stated it aptly when he said, “What fuckin’ decade did these guys step out of?” Yes, my friend, what fuckin’ decade, indeed. The music was a mixture of grunge and punk, a la Nirvana-meets-The Ramones. The tunes were hard, loud and fast, causing me to whip my hair about in unison with the long-locked band members. Despite the fact that the only words I could decipher within the band’s lyrics were “fuck” and “shit,” I thoroughly enjoyed Violent Soho’s act. I might have been the only one, though. The audience dispersed before the band even began playing, and those who stayed seemed unanimated and disinterested. Perhaps that is the reason why Violent Soho cut their act down to about 25 minutes (when 40 minutes for each band is the norm).

Hey, to each his own, especially when it comes to music. And I sing, “Fuck, shit, fuck, shit, fuck, yeaaahhh!”