Live Review: Boss 302 with Primasonic and the Geds

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Photo: Tom Murphy Primasonic

Boss 302 w/Primasonic and The Geds Saturday, July 26, 2008 3 Kings Tavern Better Than: Or rather, more fun than, a barrel full of monkeys.

Primasonic had played a few songs by the time I got to 3 Kings and they were very much a different band than the outfit I had seen last October when the band was making one of its initial forays as a live outfit. Sin has become a confident and energetic frontman and the rest of the band has developed into a solid punk rock unit. The songs I got to catch were “Sui-psycho,” “ Escape From the Suburbs,” “Not Another Protest Song” and the band's snotty, but fun, cover of Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Have You Ever Seen the Rain?” Each piece was short, arch and to the point. The group's Dead Boys-esque sound was dripping for disdain for phony ideals and inauthentic living of all stripes.

Photo: Tom Murphy The Geds

The Geds more or less broke up last spring but they got back together for this show. I don’t know if they practiced like mad, but I frankly haven’t seen the band this on fire since 1999. Part of it was that they were clearly having fun with their older material and had even written new songs during their hiatus. Another part was the fact that they were playing to an appreciative crowd for the first time in a long time, I’d bet.

They opened their thirteen-song set with “Owe You Nothin’” and it took me back to the first time I saw the act in November of 1998, when they opened for Mudhoney and I foolishly thought they were too good to be from Denver, of all places. Chanin Floyd is a fiery performer with a huge, gritty, tough-girl voice that doesn’t sound like she’s trying to be someone else. Her bass lines were muscular and powerful, bursting into runs that accented Tim Beckman’s guitar leads in a way that made the band sound incredibly intense.

I think Tim knew they were rocking better than they had in a while because he would break out into a smile after executing a particularly ripping guitar riff that collided perfectly with the rhythm to create that sense of controlled chaos that characterizes several moments in their songs. They were too melodic to be a hardcore band, too aggressive to be your average garage band and too heavy to be a straight up punk band. In the end, they just struck me as a great hard rock outfit that never forgot that you need to have some rough edges to stay in the good graces of rock and roll and the best way to do that is to not hold back with what you’re feeling in your performance.

They performed Geds classics like “You Bring Me Down,” “Knife Fight,” and “Why You Do It,” and they did a powerful cover of “Warsaw” by Joy Division. They closed with a brand new, untitled song that represented a new direction for the band. Maybe, just maybe, they’ll release an album someday.

Photo: Tom Murphy Boss 3092

The first and the last time I saw Boss 302 I didn’t know who they were. All I knew was that this great punky band had opened for the Damned on one of their comeback tours ten years ago. I remember their singer dancing like he thought he was Elvis and the bass player rocking out in a combination of zen-like mastery of his instrument and an unlikely musical transcendence. That bass player, the Fluid’s Matt Bischoff, was at the show but this time he was in the audience.

As per their usual flair for theater, the band came out dressed like they were in Frank Sinatra’s band, had he been born a couple of generations later and had embraced garage rock. Rick Groskopf wore a military captain’s hat and a red uniform jacket and the band kicked into “Crowd Screamin’.”

There was a good deal of the leaping about from Garrett, Cheyne and Ross throughout the set and while Tony was not indeed surrounded by a black, plexiglass shield to keep him from rocking out too hard for the club, rock out he did alongside his bandmates, who all seemed to be having the time of their lives playing all the hits from their two full-length albums as well as an older song, “Rubber Nixon” from an early 7-inch.

At points Groskopf got Bischoff to sing along with him and the whole show was like a celebration of the band’s catchy, soul-inflected, punk-tinged pop songs. They finished with “Whatever Happened to Fun?” but I think the whole show answered that question, because the band brought it in spades making for one of the most enjoyable, nay, fun musical experiences I’ve had in longer than I’d care to think about. -- Tom Murphy

Boss 302 Set List 1. Crowd Screamin’ 2. Poo! 3. Queen O’ Nuthin’ 4. Como Has Hueves 5. It’s Gonna Be Alright 6. Everything That’s Mine 7. Late For Work 8. Funny Funny 9. We Like to Watch 10. Failure 11. Change 12. Rubber Nixon 13. Mind on a Tart 14. Lop De Dop De 15. Pretty Lil’ Song 16. Rubberside Down 17. Everything is Fine 18. Give It In To Me 19. Neat Neat Neat (by The Damned) 20. Whatever Happened to Fun?

Critic's Notebook Personal Bias: I’ve never seen one of Boss 302’s bad shows. Random Detail: Rich had many hilarious one-liners but his best was probably, “Sorry about the English accent, it must be the Mexican beer.” By the Way: Ricky Kulwicki, James Clower and, of course, Matt Bischoff of the Fluid were at the show.

This is the twenty-first in a series of thirty consecutive shows that Tom Murphy is planning on attending. His whole idea is to prove that there's cool stuff going on any night of the week in Denver, if you bother to make any effort whatsoever to find it. He suggested naming this series, "This Band Could Be Your Life," a fitting designation to be sure. Since there's already a similarly titled book, however, we opted to file these entries under Last Night's Show -- you know, to avoid being sued an all. (Sorry, Tom.)

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