OF THE BANDS
|Dynamite rock 'n' roll party!
Neatest van! Neatest tan! Fun! Fun! Fun! They were lined up, three deep,
down to the end of the block. Five dollars a head, it was a sell-out.
Newspaper, radio and word-of-mouth brought fireworks to the Stardust Ballroom
on the 3rd of July. Another Masque production - a battle of the bands.
The Weirdos shook 'em up, but the Screamers woke 'em up; the Controllers
went outta and Crime paid.
All our favorite punk bunnies were there - the popsicle-haired girls from K-Mart, skeeks from the Valley, surfer scum, pop rockers and shutterbugs. (Even R-13 was there.) GIs, spineheads in their Frankenstein suits, guys from Thai Town, a Bay City Roller, and Wet covergirl Sheila, a Miss Bitchin' finalist.
A jumpsuit with a portapak hung from the rafters, getting all the good shots. There was a slide show in the lobby for Science Holiday fans.
First up: The Controllers. "Bubbling under..." They shook the dance trophies off the wall. Living at the Masque defines them. The muscle on Kid Spike sez it all - this is the hardest working band in town.
Then came crime: The greatest thing on hangars. Right off the set of "Police Story" for the soundcheck, "Grease" for the show. Outcall models from San Francisco, dashing out Rent-A-Chord haikus.
Twin spotlights on: The Weirdos. We sank our teeth into . . . the kitchen clutter. The screwballs of Catfish Row. John Denny hypnotizin', energizin', terrorizin'. (Sex has come in the guise of Bruce Barf.) They were thick, fast and jumpy - a sock of wet confetti. How many guitars? I counted 20 - they blew the fuse four times and still kept my little sister twistin'.
Only one would wear the crown: Miss Bitchin' California. A brutal, dehumanizing meatrack. Lobotomy's Pleasant won hands, feet, and face down.
They played two feet higher: Tied to no trend, progressing beyond the law. The Screamers - one year later - have become caged icons of their former selves. Tomata's tight-bodied, shorthand contortions, the whack attach of his voice. Tommy Gear throwing his body around like a mallet in a rubber room. Their set was a model of surgical efficiency, ice on the bare wires of tension. In the pit beneath Tomata's teeth, the audience, like iguanas, slithered faster to the cold beat.
As the crowd screamed for more Screamers, Orrin Tucker was dialing the riot squad. Brendan announced, "God, that's punk!" - someone had just torched the men's room. Joe Citizen complianed: "These kids will chop off their hands before they feed their faces!" And, to whoever stole the mirrored ball: just drop it off in the nearest mailbox.