MDC - PCP EAGLES - ELECTRIC MAYHEM - King’s Arms, Auckland, New Zealand - 17th August 2013
The last time I saw MDC was at the Camden Underworld on a bill that also featured YOUTH BRIGADE and TSOL. To say it was quite a night is an understatement in the extreme - it was one of those legendary nights made all the more special by Shawn Stern saving the day and getting me in on the guest list. This marked MDC’s first ever gig in New Zealand, and with the exception of an acoustic gig the Monday night after this, it was their only gig.
It was good to see a large crowd turn up for this latest show promoted by Punk Rock Road Trips. That must have been a bonus to ELECTRIC MAYHEM as they plugged in and ignited into a ball of thrashy, intense Hardcore. There were certainly tinges of Crossover in the sound, bringing to mind a mix of ATTITUDE ADJUSTMENT and FINAL CONFLICT with a few DRI moments for good measure. Can’t tell you a single song title as the band was new to me. Add to that fact the singer was suffering from a serious throat problem - the dude could barely talk yet belted out the songs with conviction - good work fella! Pretty smoking guitarist too.
PCP EAGLES followed with a furious sound that fused RAMONES riffs with an early FUCKED UP intensity. The songs were short, snappy, gravel-vocalled and raging with ‘PCP Anthem’, ‘Nature Boy’ and ‘I Hear Static’ all impressing greatly, along with the title track of the band’s debut EP - ‘I Hate The Mall’. Plenty of RAMONES riffs were ‘borrowed’ in parts but this is a band far from simplistic, crass RAMONE-o-core; PCP EAGLES already has an identifiable sound and the appropriation of the bruddas’ riffs came over more as a quirk than a mindless homage. Excellent stuff from a band that includes ex-members of several NZ bands. Also noted on the band’s EP there’s a track called ‘Taumarunui Hates The Kids’! Haha - excellent - a home town song!! I’ve no idea if the song was played - I certainly don’t recall it in the blitz of tunes. Guess I need the EP!
And so MDC. In some ways, they seem to be one of the most over-looked bands of USHC. Many lesser others have kudos-a-plenty piled on them with MDC receiving only a cursory mention. The classic debut album alone ranks on par any slice of DEAD KENNEDYS or MINOR THREAT work. Its influence was highlighted by a set that kicked off with six songs from that album. ‘Millions Of Dead Cops’ was the obvious set opener but gig highlights for me were ‘My Family Is A Little Weird’, ‘Founding Fathers’, ‘John Wayne Was A Nazi’ and an excellent take of ‘Deep In The Heart’.
It was a massive set - about 36 songs in all. It has to be said though, time has not been too kind to Dave Dictor who resembles Iggy Pop’s ever so slightly younger brother!! Not that that matters; he’s still an impassioned and outspoken man, declaring his politics and thoughts freely from the stage and still giving a full-on performance. Star of the band, in fact, was the bassist whose playing was tight, intricate and volatile - he was particularly valuable when guitarist, Ron Posner, needed to change two broken strings.
I have to say, the band was not as impressive as the recent JELLO BIAFRA gig in Auckland (but there again, that was a pretty fucking awesome night) but for 90+ minutes it was one classic slice of USHC followed by another. There was none of the cliched ‘encore’ ending either. Dictor announced the last song, the band unplugged and then mingled in the audience. Much more convincing than another band doing another contrived encore.
Unfortunately, the night finished on a bit of a low. Some tough, ‘Punk as fuck’ knuckledragger decided to destroy the sink in the gents. Really?? Does this kinda retarded behaviour still go on? I saw this happen far too often in the 80s at Punk-friendly venues. Unsurprisingly, those venues soon became not-so Punk-friendly! I wonder if the fuckwit sink smasher had any idea who has to pay for his wonderfully precise act of asinine vandalism? The venue? The band? The promoter? Nah... of course he didn’t - such simple thought processing is beyond such inbreeding. I had hoped this Sid Vicious dumb-fuck thuggery (I bet he even wore a Swatika to ‘shock’) had been evicted from Punk Rock on this DIY level. Obviously not entirely. The only bonus was a bit of (but not enough) blood on the floor and surrounding area. I can only hope it was the needle-dick sink smasher’s own - preferably from his head.