If you are into getting covered in sweat and watching Japanese garage rockers destroy everyone’s ear drums, then you may have just missed the best show of the year. This past Thursday, May 19th, the intense Japanese garage punk-rock trio Guitar Wolf was accompanied by the Nashville 70’s-esque punk group Cheap Time. The show was hosted by Bottom Lounge, located just east of Ashland on Lake Street. Bottom Lounge is a respectable rockers venue somewhat centrally located for the city, centrally meaning in between all the vital neighborhoods, but it is by no means located near convenient public transportation. That isn’t to say that Bottom Lounge isn’t a solid place to catch shows, it just might not be convenient to those un-familiar with the city or without bikes. The location of The Bottom Lounge maybe part of the appeal though, you generally only get the people that come out for the show, instead of the average street walker looking for a drink or, heaven forbid, just some drunk girls.
Bottom Lounge generally delivers a quality experience. The sound has never been an issue, which is something that most Guitar Wolf fans probably thought about before purchasing tickets. For those of you who may be unaware, Guitar Wolf has built a reputation for demolishing sound systems with their out of control volume. Sadly however, this was not the case this evening. Not to say that the show didn’t live up to Guitar Wolf standards, but it’s probably safe to say that most people didn’t need their ear plugs as much as they may have originally hoped. Cheap Time took the stage shortly after the proposed start time, eleven-thirty, and followed through with some pretty standard yet solid punk style. Some songs seemed to be very similar to that of The Ramones, at times eerily so. At other times their west coast punk influence was undeniable, calling them mid-west punk would do them no justice. They more or less take their influences from across the board, whether it is a specific coast affiliated punk style, or just straight up garage rock. They seem to lack a little intensity, but they know their material, and should hopefully stake some sort of claim in the new and independent music scene.
The beginning to nearly 90% of Guitar Wolf’s songs performed live start with what one might refer to as a bastardization of the English language, but fans eat it up when front man ‘Guitar Wolf’ shouts out “ONE TWO THREE FOUR!” and then proceeds to shred. As previously mentioned, it wasn’t as deafeningly loud as the legend may lead you to believe, but it was still balls to the wall rock-n-roll at its finest. The pit never died. There were sweaty rockers slamming into each other the entire set. The best part about this particular pit aside from its longevity was the amount of people that rushed in for popular numbers like “Jet Generation”. The only thing that may have had more energy than the crowd that was relentlessly moshing might be ‘Guitar Wolf’ himself. This guy was sweating like no other. Every move he made sent a wave of sweat flying in at least three directions. At one point in the set they let a local punker hop on stage and play guitar while the rest of the crowd rushed the stage to crowd surf. Towards the end of the set ‘Guitar Wolf’ put his guitar down and proceeded to fake out the crowd and keep building energy by strutting and dancing with harsh movements, taunting the crowd to get more rowdy. They played straight through, if you count the taunting, all the way to the point that the lights were on and the crowd was being ushered out before the feedback died. These guys put on a killer show and on top of that, it is really great to see a venue allow that kind of crowd interaction. This one is for any die-hard’s who might be reading out there… LOVE KNOWS NO BOUNDS!!!