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Last Night: Tiger Army at Granada Theater

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Tiger Army Granada Theater January 22, 2008

Better Than: listening to the Stray Cats while waiting for your videotape of Happy Days to rewind.

With his dark hair modeled into place and his sleeveless T-shirt showing off his tattooed guns, Tiger Army’s charismatic front man Nick 13 hit the stage at Granada last night clearly a contented man. Recently reunited with long time bassist Geoff Kresge, Nick bathed in the seemingly endless adulation of fans both male and female. And what a collection of fans it was. Surprisingly packed for a Tuesday night, the Granada was host to an unholy gathering of punks, rockabilly poseurs and bikers, all ranging in age from 17 to 40-something. With their floral printed Betty Boop dresses and well-coiffed hairdos, most of the women looked like extras from a remake of Beach Blanket Bingo, while the guys just looked hungry and homely as they fought for prime stage diving position.

Whatever their guise, I doubt any were disappointed by Nick 13 and Tiger Army’s 90-minute barrage of psychobilly punk. Spanning all four of their albums, the set list included gems such as “LunaTone” and “Pain” from the recently released Music From Regions Beyond as well as “Rose of the Devil’s Garden” from 2004’s Ghost Tigers Rise. The trio’s appearance would suggest a generic rockabilly band, but Tiger Army’s thoughtful blend of the Misfits and Carl Perkins defies easy categorization. The shout along choruses and Nick 13’s nuanced delivery add an element missing from those content to mock the theatrics of the past instead of moving beyond them. “Simmer down,” Nick told the crowd when the stage diving became a bit overheated. Grinning knowingly, Nick knew the power inherent in his music and that it did not need the sweaty melodrama the audience was motivated to provide.

Special kudos to Revolution Mother, one of the opening acts. Hailing from Long Beach, this grimy quartet rocked like early MC5 and Motorhead, shouting “motherfucker” at every opportunity and wallowing in everything great about simplistic, monolithic rock and roll. The cover of Black Flag’s “Thirsty and Miserable” was just one highlight of Revolution Mother’s engaging performance. -- Darryl Smyers

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