SHOW REVIEW: Time To Take In the Trash
The Cramps--March 20, 1998 (Buffalo, New York)
By: Danielle Woodrich
There hung a huge sign on the front of the venue: No Chains, No Studs, No Drugs, No Bottles, No Fighting, No Full Frontal Nudity, No Stage Diving, No Re-Admittance.
I am not kidding, and neither was the management. Inside, it began to make sense. I have always said that Buffalo has a diverse population, however, the Cramps fans, who came out in spite of a freezing-rain storm, turned the crumbling, ancient Showplace theater into the bar scene from Star Wars.
Big bullet-headed white boys in cowboy shirts and shit-kickers, presumably there for the rockabilly opening acts, wide-eyed begged, "pardon me, excuse me," as they wove through teenagers in wigger-clothes and mohawks. Handfuls of 40-year-old ex-skatepunks swilled microbrews at the bar, looking lost, or craning madly, looking for Iggy Pop. Black leather moved in herds, shit-brown lipstick stained the cups, and in the bathroom you were just as likely to see a girl with a friends haircut smile for herself in the mirror as you were a 6 foot tall transvestite adjust her fishnets. It was a hell of a scene, oversold, overpsyched, over-the-top.
As soon as The Cramps took the stage, the sensory explosions began. Lux Interior, singer-cat-acrobat, a bag of bones strapped together with items of vinyl, taunted and wooed the crowd through songs like "Can Your Pussy Do The Dog?" and "Cramp Stomp" with his John-Waters-dream-creature wife, Poison Ivy, vrooming her hot-wheels hot pants up against an eagerly responding heehaw jamboree guitar. The skeleton in a purple satin blouse, Slim Chance, thrashed on his bass and occasionally let Lux Interior hump it for the desired effects, some of which were truly mysterious -- it seemed Chance and Ivy were tuned very oddly.
Lux was frighteningly Freudian Friday night, giving his microphone lavish blowjob attention and purposefully putting it down his pants before he drummed up some conversation with the audience.
"You know what? I have some advice...something I'd like to share." The fans in the front wedged in closer to Lux, who was folded up and squatting, looking not unlike a pile of negative coat hangers.
"Yes, yes, I would. You see, my friends, there is much more to being cool than wearing sunglasses..." The whole place started laughing because, frankly, it was obvious we all thought Lux invented cool.
"Would you like to know what you need to be cool? Would you like me to tell you that? I bet you would."
It was quiet, so quiet you could hear panties drop. Believe it or not, I think we were all dying to hear what Lux thought would make us cool. Finally, a fan in front shouted out, "What do we need?"
And Lux, all Felix-the-Cat-nasty, sexy, rubbing circles on his nipples, said, "Wellllllllll, since you asked...you need..." and he screamed, "CULTURE!" Drumdini on drums (playing with a couple of femurs, yes, leg bones) and Chance on bass came alive and insanely rocked through "I was a Teenage Werewolf" and after more bizarre conversation, "TV Set." They somehow turned it up another notch (that makes it eleven, Smell The Glove fans) for a 15 minute "Surfin' Bird." Poison Ivy, while barely moving, continued to molest her hillbilly guitar, rather entrancingly, I might add. Lux felt the need to smash his mike stand, remove his penis from his pants and offer it up to the audience, destroy Drumdini's mike stand, climb both sets of speakers, throw yet another mike stand up into the stage lights and then leap off the speakers back onto the stage and pretend to hang himself in a noose of the dangling cord, all the while screaming, laughing, howling and moaning.
"Love Me" rocked, the building was shaking, and when they deviled out "Queen of Pain" and Lux flailed himself with his belt on the floor at Ivy's feet, no one was really surprised when he pulled down his pants and spanked his own ass, to the beat, no less.
The Cramps played for almost 2 hours and they kept the voodoo-high-anxiety hilarious, the rhythms vicious, and the songs smarter and tighter than a meeting of MENSA virgins. Go see them. Buy their new album "Big Beat from Badsville," and may your Nightmares be Wet and your She-Devils Burn.