The Coathangers lead a punk circus at Comet Ping Pong
On paper, the Coathangers show at Comet Ping Pong was all over the place, but in practice it made a weird kind of sense.
The show opened with Dudes, a raucous three-piece local band that combines the intensity and energy of punk with a campy self-awareness. Both were epitomized by their memorable last song “Punch Me In the Dick,” a blast of no wave aggression and spontaneity capped off by Fred Schneider-like vocals. The spectacle of this final song set a tone that was surprisingly consistent throughout the night.
Dudes’ tongue-in-cheek attitude and ecstatic tone often made up for the fact that they were a bit sloppy or out-of-sync on occasion. Despite these missteps, when they told me that this was their first show, I thought they were joking.
After Dudes followed a lip-sync performance by local drag queen Heidi Glum, which occurred between every set. In her first performance she wore a corset and pointy bra and danced to “Cherry Bomb” by The Runaways. Her tall figure and flawless lip sync dominated the stage.
The next band, local three-piece garage rockers Teen Liver, picked up the Fred Schneider influence and took it even further. Their sound was more polished and less aggressive, and there were more clear new wave and post-punk influences. Though Teen Liver was clearly talented, their straightforward musicianship seemed out of place among the other flashier spectacles.
Heidi’s second performance had a stronger punk theme. Glum thrashed onstage in a leather jacket, high-waisted leather shorts and some sickening faux converse stilettos. It was a perfect lead in to the night’s headliners, The Coathangers.
With Candice Jones aka BeBe absent, the three remaining members played a tight set of mostly straightforward punk songs. Some of the more elaborate compositions from their latest album weren’t feasible, but the band played crowd favorites “Nestle In my Boobies” and “Don’t Touch My Shit.”
The Coathangers frequently traded instruments, with each member approaching the instrument differently, which made for an intriguing variety to the set. Every song was recognizably punk and high-energy, but achieved through different means.
Regardless of what instrument they were on though, none of the Coathangers had any interest in messing around – they played hard and fast, were very tight and never let the mood in the room dip below mild hysteria.