Around 9 p.m., the safety videos started up and it looked and sounded like something straight out of Wonder Showzen. Puppets and people in a gorilla and a robot costume interacted as they would on a warped, faux kids' show: surrealistic, vaguely or completely disturbing, and yet funny if you're in the right frame of mind. Perfect to break the ice, as it were, for this show.
Il Cattivo came on stage to the strains of the theme music from A Clockwork Orange -- fitting, given the group of miscreants who make up this group. Fronted by Brian Hagman, the five-piece also features guitarists Holland Rock-Garden and Matt Bellinger, Matty Clark on bass and Jed Kopp on drums.
Musically, it was as if a metal band decided to stop boring us to death and rock with much more freedom and dynamism. Same sounds we're used to, just used much more creatively and with guys in the band who play their instruments as though they're not fully in control. That and a gifted frontman who is never at a loss for compelling and creative body language, and who also seemingly sings and howls at the same time.
The dynamics were tight and tense as Clark and Kopp locked in together with a focused intensity, while Rock-Garden and Bellinger played off each other with speed, precision and raw energy. "Fresh" and "Weary Bones" were high points in the set, following one another at the end.
The old and the new Pinchers logos were projected on the back screen before anyone in the band came on stage, and while that was going on, a few of Satan's cheerleaders came out to do some dancing right before the band strode casually out to start performing that classic Pinchers introduction number. 3KSK wore a black fur vest this time instead of a the pimp-esque white fur vest; K.C. K-Sum came out in a white Laser Pinchers T-shirt; EEROK with a dual-layer wig or something that made the top of his hair look green with his blond hair underneath; DDROK looked like a businessman wearing some bling; and King Scratchie wore a skin-tight green body stocking of some sort, leaving little to the imagination. C3 Creepio looked liked what he is -- a veteran musician who can still bring it and make most of his peers look like lightweights.
"Flaming Mimes" found the Pinchers really going for broke with their stage antics, leaping about and putting their all into the show. K.C. jumped high into the air and came down on his cymbal with his drum stick, showing more energy and aggression alone in one show than a lot of bands that call themselves "punk rock" show all year. But that was the whole band. Scratchie strode the stage and lunged about like only a cartoon character really can without lying flat on his back panting from exhaustion. 3KSK unleashed guitar riffs like he was in KISS and made it seem both ridiculous and cool at the same time. Not many people can pull that off.
For "Arsenic Chick," they got Laurie, the Arsenic Chick, to come on stage and spread around some presumably fake arsenic from the middle area of the stage set up to protrude into the audience like a low-rent version of one of those scaffolds that douchebag rock stars use at huge venues to make us feel like they're reaching out to us. The Pinchers know what a joke that is, and therefore made a joke of it.
Beyond that, it made for some great moments when Scratchie or K.C. came forward and didn't have to climb off the stage to be in touch with people in the audience who weren't just in the front row. Before "Electric Hoedown," C3 hit the cowbell. K.C. asked what sound that was and suggested it was a "clown call."
Of course Jerko the Clown came to the stage and hurled candy into the audience, hitting various people with a salvo of Skittles, Starbursts, Skor bars and other sweets. He then proceeded to spend parts of the rest of the show spraying us with Silly String. Prior to starting up "Dale the Drum Machine," Scratchie told us they were playing a song from their new album. Some people probably thought he was being serious, even if it was a new song made up just for this show.
During a remarkably great version of "We Got the Best," some of Satan's Cheerleaders loaded up an air gun with either hot dogs or some other meat and launched them into the audience like a canister of tear gas. Then they made pancakes with various toppings (syrup, jelly, whipped cream) and handed some to people in the audience or just launched the plate as far as possible, like a Frisbee.
After "James Dean Is an Overrated Asshole," the band began to chant something about Justin Bieber, and Tammy Ealom came to the stage to join in on "Island of the Misfit Toyboys." The set proper ended with "Where the Hell Is Crispin Glover?," and it seemed like everyone knew the words to that Pinchers classic.
After a brief interlude, the band came back on, and 3KSK asked if they should wait until midnight or just keep playing (this was 11:40 p.m.). They decided to play, beginning with an accurate but odd cover of around one minute of "Autobahn," by Kraftwerk, before morphing into "Forever Your Girl," during which K.C. came out in a black skirt, a blue lace blouse tied at the front, and a matching wig with sunglasses. At the end of the song, he bent over, lifted up his skirt and showed us the glittery "666" on his bottom. He got rid of some of the outfit in time for the Damned's "Machinegun Etiquette."
At 11:54 p.m., the Pinchers decided it was the new year. They ran a film that looked like the front view from a train going along snowy mountain passes, counting backward from ten with an interlude of three sixes to one. From there the band kicked into "Morrissey Rides a Cockhorse," and K.C. brought out a version of a "cock horse" that he and others rode around the stage. The show ended shortly after midnight with a fun, rambunctious and curiously faithful rendition of "White Riot," by the Clash.
Click through for Critic's Notebook and Setlist
CRITIC'S NOTEBOOK Personal Bias: If you must go out on the coldest night of the year, which also happened to be New Year's Eve, at least it's worth it to see one of the most fun bands ever to come out of this city. Random Detail: Ran into Paul Alexander of Action Friend at the show. By the Way: It bears repeating that if you get the chance to see Warlock Pinchers after this night and haven't, do yourself a favor and do so.
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Warlock Pinchers 12.31.10 | Gothic Theatre Englewood, CO
01. Introduction - Ourselves 02. Flaming Mimes 03. Meet Goatee Woatee 04. Confrontation Yeah Yeah 05. Arsenic Chick 06. Arnie 07. Don't Play This Song on the Radio 08. Straight Out the Dancehall 09. Electric Hoedown 10. Dale the Drum Machine 11. Jesus on the Urinal Cake 12. We Got the Beast 13. Devil Without a Pause 14. Curious George and the Anti-Christ 15. James Dean Is an Overrated Asshole 16. Island of the Misfit Toyboys 17. Where the Hell Is Crispin Glover?
18. Autobahn 19. Forever Your Girl 20. Machinegun Etiquette 21. Morrissey Rides a Cockhorse 22. White Riot