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Concert Tue May 13 2014
Once again, the Empty Bottle (1035 N. Western Ave) brings out the dark and sticky from the corners and onto the stage for the three days of springtime mayhem known as the Hozac Blackout Fest. This weekend's conflagration of songs to stomp things to includes punk and proto-punk favorites, local bands, imported bands, and bands you're gonna wish you heard in the Music/Friendly/Dancing confines on Western Ave. Get your 3-day pass while you can (if you still can) or plop down some dough for your steady's new favorite date night.
In many ways the music of the The Boys is like a transitional fossil, somehow quietly bridging the gap between a poppier 1960s British music scene and the late '70s London punk explosion. Long overshadowed by the work of contemporaries and peers such as the Clash and the Sex Pistols, The Boys' songwriting and musicianship are in many cases the equal of or superior to their better known genre-mates. Though The Boys never really reaped commercial success, they've long been critical and cult darlings, inspiring, perhaps most notably, Germany's iconic punkers Die Toten Hosen, who have long championed their music. Their Blackout Fest appearance comes on the eve of their first new album in over 30 years, Punk Rock Menopause, set for release on June 20, and offers a seriously rare opportunity to see the band stateside.
Filling out the lineup of Friday night are other notables from the Hozac Records stable including the tight power pop of Toronto's First Base, lo-fi garage-punk from 999999999, and Chicago's own The Man.
For some reason, the Dictators always drop off the list of influential punk bands from the early '70s. That's nothing against their contemporaries who are lauded, but it's not like their debut Go Girl Crazy! is anything less than awesome. It's hard, fast and brash. If AC/DC had been a punk band, they would be the Dictators. But the band never really jumped into the mainstream like many followers would and it led to an erratic career. But their first three albums, Go Girl Crazy!, Manifest Destiny and Bloodbrothers still pack a punch and will undoubtedly be highlighted at the Bottle.
Atlanta doesn't typically spring to mind as a hot bed for exciting punk rock, but it's been hard to deny its place the last many years with bands like Black Lips, Gentleman Jesse and Carbonas being undeniable forces. Shocked Minds comes from the ashes of Carbonas (and is sort of an alternate Ex-Humans), but sound as if they popped out of a time capsule buried in 1978. They have a raw and spastic sound like the Kids or even the Testors. Their self-titled debut album from 2013 provides a nice jolt and actually gets stronger as it progresses. They'll fit in just fine at Blackout Fest.