News flash: The world remains inverted. The training-wheels pay-to-play crowd and their parents hogged the Knitting Factory’s main room, while the bands with years of tire tracks across their ribcages were stuffed into the closetlike AlterKnit Lounge. I walked in to discover a bunch of kids aged about 18 on the main stage, executing extremely fast metal and learning to twirl their hair. (Few have assessed the study required to windmill locks expertly, and these young torques weren’t an eighth of the way to graduation.) Even if there weren’t any songs, though, the guitarist sure could shred, and even glowed with shirtless sweaty charisma. Dunno what the oldsters thought when he mooned the crowd at set’s end.
Grease up yer shoehorn, cuz we’re heading into the AlterKnit now. I couldn’t stand it sober, so twas lucky a premium rum was advertised on special for $5 a shot (good w/ Guinness).
Watch Me Burn should be more famous. Magenta-haired voxfox (and Suicide Girl) Sawa couldn’t endure the Lounge’s tuna-can compactitude sober either, so when not onstage, she spent the night leaning on the bar, elbow bent. And when onstage, she suctioned all eyes with her schizo persona, switching from drooling catatonia to full-on, head-thrown-back scream at the drop of a drumstick. Despite its many changes of style and rhythm, WMB maintained an organic feel and full metal racket -- never boring. The mysterious hints of Jah groove that continually surfaced were attributable to decades of ganja devotion by dreadlocked guitarist Kevin Fetus, a top contender for Hardest Working Man now that the Godfather has ascended. The Rev. Fetus hurled himself into his strings, and also slaved like a demon between sets, tearing down his fur-trimmed amplifier and redoubtable pedal rack and setting up for his other band, Fetus Eaters, who would close. (Thanks, Kevin, for your inspirational observations in my LA Times Calendar story a couple of Sundays ago.)
Out on the entry stage, The Last Demise snapped out fast, clean, tight metal. Twin guitars rang out with welcome flashes of that long-forgotten evolutionary dead end called melody; their slick little lead axman looked about 12. They and many other bands this night were introduced by the Log Lady, reading ancient jokes so badly that she drew within several kilometers of hilarity.
Next in the Lounge arrived the crazed geeks of The Dolemite Project -- good if you dig the mathier, jerkier wing of metal, which I don’t especially. The drummer hit with real cherry-bomb impact, though.
The veteran Fetus Eaters were the only band brandishing a pennywhistle -- or some duo-tubed mutation of same, with which K. Fetus neatly punctuated the dense fury of the opening number before switching to sax and vocal blurts. The philosophy: cut loose the storm for about a minute, and if the customers don’t like it, they’ll like the next minute. Mr. Fetus is a proud member of the short-attention-span generation; as with WMB, he ain’t gonna let you drowse, at least not till you’re good and loaded. Fully tanked at stageside, Sawa stood and twisted to the hot sounds. That’s right, Dick, she did the Twist -- just like Annette on Bikini Beach. 1964, after all, was about when America had lost its attention span for good. And good riddance.