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[whitespace] Satan Is a Drunk--Well, Duh

The abuse flowed freely as Murder City Devils pounded home their points

By David Espinoza

ATTENDING A MURDER CITY DEVILS gig is a lot like making a date with a dominatrix--you're just asking for abuse. Even so, as a fan of their studio recordings but a newcomer to the live MCD experience, there was no way for me to predict just how bad they can get on stage.

Headlining a half-filled show at the San Jose's Usual that included Santa Cruz locals the Lonely Kings, Seattle's answer to brutal rock & roll in a post-grunge world showed signs of sadistic belligerence before the music even started. Judging from the pictures included in their albums--with the bodies of the band members bludgeoned, shot, hung, stabbed and disemboweled--it would be easy to guess that the Murder City Devils aren't the types to wear clean white suits on stage.

After hearing lead singer Spencer Moody howl like a wounded Mick Jagger/Jim Morrison zombie on the group's latest album, In Name and Blood, I was expecting someone who looks at least as menacing as he sounds--someone like Ministry's Al Jorgenson. Instead, a short thirtysomething-looking dude with thick black glasses, a tucked-in shirt, slight beer belly and tangled curly hair appeared holding a bottle of Budwieser. After thanking "everyone who drove over from Santa Cruz," Moody jumped into the audience to start a shoving match with a fan who apparently was harassing him. For a moment, it looked as if the Murder City Devils might have to play without a lead singer, as the security guards were escorting him outside.

Finally finding his way back to the stage, Moody, drunker than a college student on spring break, broke into some older material with a slurred screech. (In any case, how good can you sing when the mic is in between your teeth?) The rest of the band, fitted in dark jeans and black tees and sporting lots of tattoos, attempted to compensate for Moody's unbelievably sloshed stage presence with jump kicks and head bangs, but nothing worked.

"I want to apologize for being so hostile. People who don't like faggots bother me," Moody managed to blurt out; he then mumbled something about "faggots" having a lot of beauty to offer the world. Half an hour later, the show ended just as the band started "Press Gang," a sadistic and bloody tale on which Moody screams, "Pecked by the seagulls, hanging from the gallows!/Twisting in the breeze, dripping something on the street." It seems another audience member was messing with Moody, who then jumped offstage to start a shoving match with her. Stumbling back one more time, Moody slurred something to the effect that "You know, I don't like your fucking town or culture ... show's over." And that was that. P.S. Its too bad Eminem wasn't at the show, it would have been great to see Moody beat the crap out of him.

Adios Muchachos

Cara Dura estan muerte, viva Cara Dura! Yup, Santa Cruz's only bilingual ska-punk fiends are calling it quits, but not before they do one last round in San Jose for the Aztlanfest on May 20. For three-plus years, Cara Dura rocked every little nook that would let them in, from benefit shows at the defunct UCSC Pizza Junxion to the Jury Room, the Santa Cruz Vets Hall and many more--sometimes they would perform in Mexican wrestling masks, but all the time they came with a heavily punkero-influenced horn section. What's happening with most of the band members? No se. But lead singer Hector Marquez is now fronting for Los Dryheavers. Remember, these guys are young, so we'll surely be hearing about new projects in the future. One last reminder: the Ruins are playing Friday at the Rio Theatre.

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From the March 28-April 4, 2001 issue of Metro Santa Cruz.

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