Hammered at The Monkey Bar, 4.17.10
Posted 4/27/2010 by cal
SPOILER ALERT: Hammered is the name of the band, not my state of
The Monkey Bar
not somewhere I would recommend taking your girlfriend, unless there’s a
good band playing in the back room. I felt like I’d been transported
to Janesville, where the goal is twofold: getting hammered and getting
laid, and getting in a fight would be the inadvertent bonus point. This
is one of those places that doesn’t have beer on tap, because draft
beer just can’t be served quickly enough for the needs of these patrons.
The most enticing choice in bottles was Smithwick’s, which I
discovered I do not like out of a bottle. Breathe easy: PBR tall boys.
Just past the electronic punching bag machismometer was a separate room,
where Dark Grave
was playing when we arrived. I’d read that showtime was 11; pretty
stupid of me to have believed that. So, we missed the first two bands.
Dark Grave was kind of refreshing; these guys aren’t slaves to strict
death metal or any specific offshoot, incorporating elements of black
metal and hardcore and pulling it off well. Vocalist/guitarist S.M.
Warstarter keeps up a ferocious tone whether he’s singing, growling
or just bantering between songs, and bassist David (that’s all
I’ve got) brings an unprocessed clarity with his bass guitar. By far
the most brutal set of the three I saw, and expertly played.
Next up: Burning Sons,
playing a dark brand of hardcore not unlike drummer Dan DuChaine’s more famous band,
Milwaukee legends Speedfreaks.
Guitarist Carl (I do have last names for the headliners) plays
punk rhythm with the flair of a lead guitarist, as evidenced further on a
couple of blistering solos. His tone is a hair more metallic than
old-school hardcore, as are the riffs--not necessarily innovative but
definitely creative. Bassist Johnny plays the Sid Vicious role
with aplomb, except he can actually play the instrument. “Middle-aged
youth”, DuChaine quipped at the end of the set, possibly hinting at the
band’s tenuous longevity, but the energy coming from the stage doesn’t
apply to old people. The nascent group is already recording, hoping to
have some material out this summer.
this venue is more appropriate than I realized. In the bar area I
heard a techno remix of an old bluegrass tune; could anything be more
opposite of metal? Studded leather jackets waded through the dance club
crowd, no sense of hostility anywhere. This is Milwaukee after all,
The headliners essentially play as though the 90s heralded the end of
metal. I’m starting to sense a palpable thrash revival going on. Its
purveyors would surely argue that thrash never left, and Hammered
suggests that the style is not a dead horse. Some expert twin leads by
guitarists Mike Gamm and Rob Mussatti elevated this above a
lot of tired traditionalists. Throw in a Testament cover
for good measure, and you’ve got a ferociously good time. It’s
impossible for me to put myself into the mid-80s mindset, where this was
the heaviest, most extreme shit there was, but that doesn’t take
anything away from having a blast at a “classic rock” show.