NERVOUS GENDER & GEZA
X & MOMMY MEN
at the Whisky
Nervous Gender's primary virtue is that they exist
at all. They're condemmed to languish out this existance in an awkward
and haltering position - but they perservere with a peculiar, near reverant
integrity toward it. If one can transform a dolorous fate into a poetic
vision then harrowing monsters may be born. Nervous Gender's visions
came with birth, not by invention. They stand out by their fading away,
like a stranger in a dark corner who needn't show his face.
Like this stranger, they stand little chance of acceptance
by the crowd. Their estrangement takes the form of an alluring aloofness
- a decisive emotional distance from the goings-on. Theirs is not the
way of cleverness - if they remain "unapproachable", it's
not by an elaborately modeled persona (like the Pistols or Screamers),
but by their grim nakedness, their ability to show scars.
Surprisingly, Phranc's departure left them collectively
stronger and more cohesive than before. Her personal magnetism made
them top heavy and unbalanced, like an idea in need of a vehicle or
passion without a body to experience itself. Now, Paul Roessler's discreet
percussive effects lend a spine and solidity to the music - a will to
live ... if you will. Punctuated thus, their sound becomes integrated
into muscle tissue. Relax goes to reflex.
Gerardo, Edward, Mike and Paul are all powerful vocalists,
and the rotation between them's real good. Gerardo is the most disturbing
presence, (silently) pulsating with some kind of psychological gravity.
The lowlight of this show was seeing Paul, who is usually stuck behind
the keyboards with The Screamers, belting out vocal blisters on Carly
Simon's "The Slave". For his efforts, the little angel blew
the guts out of the sound system. Bravo, Paul.
Nervous Gender's only comic relief is Sven, the drummer,
who's about eight years old. But even then you wonder what the little
fellow's seen to make him look forty. Nervous Gender is not for lightweights,
but neither is life.
Last time I saw Geza's band they played after the
Germs, this time after Nervous Gender. It's like dancing with a lampshade
during an air strike, the incongruity makes for great spiritual relief.
If we should assassinate the Pope, Geza would be the patron saint of
something-or-other. That something is quite intangible, but seems fucking
essential to a sane life.
The new Mommymen are a way better band than the old
Mommymen. Time is one factor of improvement certainly, they're more
familiar with each other and the material. Also a new bassist, who's
not as visually pleasing as Kira, but is real good aurally, and the
addition of Don Bonebrake on vibes, who gives the songs a loopy, polka-like
feel. I need not elucidate on the merits of Paul Roessler, Geza or Pat
Delany's musical eccentrese, but Brendan Mullen is actually a great
skinsman (not to be discounted by the various deficits that he doesn't
really have, but everyone thinks he does anyway).
Mr. Geza has, shall we say, a slightly slanted view
of life, and his art merges right into it. His imagination is the water
well that the sponge-beaked bird dips into, a closed system that runs
on to infinity. The set starts out with a "doggie made a doo doo
on the carpet so Mommy used the butt pliers on me" monologue on
tape, mixed up like eggs and organ meat. This trademark Gezaism is abusrd,
but its absurdity masks the little kid tension that starts to snap between
15 and 25, if not at 50."Not the butt pliers" over and over
and over again.
And so on throughout each song. Extenuating the weirdness
in everyday relationships but elevating their absurdity on out the window.
One day they may indeed come out with "isotope soap" which
will clean the face off the dirt. A Hungarian can hate Hungarians if
he refuses to be Hungarian anymore.
The last two songs were "I Hate Punk" (or
love punk, but don't know why for either) and "Paranoias",
a relentless jagged over-the-shoulder chant. Geza confesses "I
don't like it when you read my mind!". I confess: Oh shit, I wish
I could, but I don't know why.