So You Think You Can Cramps?

0 Comments 14 October 2011

Finding another Cramps fan is like finding a fellow member of a secret club. During a rather sweaty cab-ride home from special tribute event, So You Think You Can Cramps, on Saturday night, the driver overheard my compatriots excitable gasps about Poison Ivy and Lux Interior, and spiraled into wistful reminiscences about seeing the psychobilly barbarians live in Tokyo many years ago. It seems a badass garage attitude can surpass generational divides, as for decades the music of The Cramp‘s has been coercing even the most uptight of private schoolgirls to burn their textbooks and parade around in leather corsets and strap-ons.

Thus, Melbourne band Super Wild Horses thought it would be fitting to arrange an evening at The Tote dedicated entirely to the unholy fringe stylings of Lux and Ivy, and they recruited a slew of other local acts to help them do it.

Pearls kicked off the evening, atop a stage strewn with a strange mess of spiderwebs and shrunken heads, with a thrumming rendition of Can’t Hardly Stand It. Next, Hissy Miyake brought their gothic schoolgirl sensibilities to the fore, managing to sound at once cutsie and, in true Cramps style, also a little frightening.

It’s unfortunate, but whether Melbourne’s hip-and-trendies can live up to the wild trashpunk antics The Cramps should elicit is debatable. There were a few seasoned fans visible, but the crowd was mostly composed of well-groomed hipster-children. Soon a skin-headed British gentleman started menacingly pacing around the floor, eventually getting so frustrated that nobody was joining him, he yelled back at the crowd in exasperation: “AUSTRALIANS DON’T DANCE!” The hipsters stared nervously into their beers.

Super Wild Horses, looking most vixen-y, were joined by guests from UV Race, The Bowers and The Twerps to bash through some classics, among them an impressive version of Can Your Pussy Do The Dog which mustered almost as much spit and bristle as the original.

In tribute to the genre-bending aspect of The Cramps, Richie 1250 & The Brides of Christ evoked a swampy, doowop-interpretation, playing covers and original songs inspired by the band. Teen Archer brought back a more frenetic energy and the crowd finally decided it would be a good idea to start dancing. By the time Woolen Kits mounted the stage to play through the EP Gravest Hits in all its trash-addled glory, The Tote had become a damp pit of thrashing and rather amorphous gogo-dancing.

An evening which didn’t quite evoke the fizzing, spitting, oozing temper of The Cramps themselves, but an enjoyable one all the same.

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