Although the Fugitive Kind from San Francisco may be the same band that former Blatz guitarist Robert Eggplant helped start, the female-fronted five-piece sounded like a more brutal Dead Kennedys fronted by a lead singer with the unfettered weirdo performance style of Exene Cervenka and the force and soulfulness of Mia Zapata.
In an era when punk rock often means either pop punk or some hybrid of metal and hardcore, Fugitive Kind was, refreshingly, not any of that, but was nonetheless fierce and confrontational, minus the tough guy posturing. Added to the bill more or less at the last minute, Fugitive Kind was a welcome dose of angular, politically conscious punk in an already impressive line-up.
Vicious Women always seem to make the most out of their minimal arrangement and set-up. But on this night, Adam Rojo of Ideal Fathers was sort of the hidden, not-so-silent partner who added noises, including treated Theremin, and manipulated the effects on Dustin Lawlor's voice.
Sure, these guys play what could just be garage rock, but the tonality and textures are what make this band more than a little different. Hearing it -- or better yet, seeing the music in person -- you get the sense that Lawlor and Tom Nelsen realize that being yet another garage punk band is not as interesting as taking that ideal and aesthetic and making it atmospherically evocative.
Ideal Fathers closed the night out, and what a great way to end the show: A mixture of high-energy post-punk and noise -- Adam Rojo's savagely orchestrated guitar tones and dynamics over Mike Perfetti's expert percussive phrasings and Mike King's truly creative and powerful bass lines were the perfect companion to Jesse Hunsaker's manically-animated stage moves and vocals -- Ideal Fathers rarely disappoint, and this show was no exception. It was a beautiful expression of feral desperation forged in the existential anguish of a sensitive soul getting by in a world hostile to anyone with an unhardened heart.
CRITIC'S NOTEBOOK Personal Bias: I like off the beaten path shows. Random Detail: The performance area is basically a converted industrial garage. By the Way: Fugitive Kind had an excellent homemade album available at the show.
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