When Death comes, it wears a sparkly red tie and matching derby. Well, the drummer…
- Posted on Jul 30th 2010 10:30AM by Kenneth Partridge
"You guys are literally at our practice," singer and guitarist Dan Kroha told the packed club. "You could be in our basement right now. Just pretend this is the basement of my parents' house."
"Don't tell them that," co-frontman Mick Collins responded, turning from Kroha to the fans and affecting the patronizing lilt of a telephone salesperson. "You're special. We're putting on the best show we can for you. We love you."
Collins was being sarcastic, but on some level, he was defending the Gories' honor, making a point he need not state more explicitly. He, Kroha, drummer Peggy O'Neill and the couple of hundred fans jammed into the sold-out venue knew the score: It was, is and always will be the Gories' rawness that makes them so great. Just as no one goes to Burger King expecting radish garnishes or napkins folded like swans, no one listens to this band hoping for pretty harmonies or crisp musicianship.
Thursday night, they Gories did rock 'n' roll like panhandling kids do break-dancing on the New York City subway. The rhythm and artistry were just about there, but amid all the jerking and jostling, neither was quite right. O'Neill uses two drums and no cymbals, and as she thumped out her two signature beats -- one inspired by Bo Diddley, the other by basic carpentry -- she sometimes sped up, which is far better than slowing down and perhaps even preferable to holding the tempo steady.
Kroha and Collins, meanwhile, goaded each other into playing harder and meaner. The former's chords scraped like tangles of wire hangers caught in the undercarriages of speeding cars, while the latter's wailing leads were sub-blues simple and lousy with emotion.
Like the Clash and the Monkees before them, the Gories arrived with their own theme song, opener 'Hey, Hey, We're the Gories.' Other highlights included 'I Think I've Had It,' which inspired a club-wide "I can't take it!" sing-along; 'Let Your Daddy Ride,' built on a zigzagging rockabilly riff; and the soulful, swinging 'Early in the Morning.'
"We haven't played that one since 1992," Collins said of 'Morning.'
"Good thing I remembered how to play it halfway through," Kroha replied.