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Askew Review 15

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- Stuck in Decline (Site) You walk into a local music joint for a beer and soon realize the late afternoon show is nearing its end. Three raucous bands down, one to go. The last band, Duck & Cover, is setting up. The floor is sticky and the entire place sniffs of beer. The band plugs in and tests the levels. The sound guy demands they turn shyt down. They try, again. The sound guy is being a dick. Back and forth they go. The crowd grows anxious. The band is annoyed. All they want to do is play…and play loud. At last, the sound guy gives the ol’ double thumbs up to the band. The drummer counts off and the first chords are stuck…only to be interrupted by Robin Zander and Joan Jett rushing through the door.
“Wait!” Zander yells. “Our opening band drank themselves drunk and we need someone, now!”
“Fuck ya!” growls Jett.
“Take ‘em down, boys, and load ‘em up…”  Duck & Cover’s front man Chris Wissmuller exclaims while gesturing to the amps and junk.
“Use our gear,” Zander and Jett offer in unison.
They all pile into the tour bus and you hitch a ride on the rear bumper.
Thirty minutes later, the boys are on stage in front of 30,000 people who are looking everywhere except the stage and you’re feeling the shame of having to blow the fat security guard who smells like day old donuts to gain entrance.
They plug in and the drummer starts the count…
“Hold the phone!” yells Daniel Sussman, guitarist/backing vocals. “We left our set list at the bar.”
The boys pause.
Bassist Rich Hoss interrupts the silence, “We’ll play the track list from our latest...”
“Here we are,” says drummer Damien Pianka while zinging copies of the CD Stuck in Decline to the each of them. The other three look puzzled as this release is mainly one of the streaming vareity. For now, everyone overlooks this fact and wonder not where the cds came from.
The drums and enticing guitars of “Yeah, Don’t You” dares the crowd to not pay attention. You all turn your heads. You all listen.
The louder and more hectic “Touch & Go” pull ‘em tighter with Wismuller’s snotty vocals. The driving instruments start a sea of jumping bodies.
“Wasted” fools you into thinking things are slowing down, but oh how wrong you are.
The methodical “Sheriff of Broken Jaw” makes you fly over the crown to get closer to the stage. You feel the 70s stadium sound with trasy vocals tearing you in two. You think “where the fyck are the pyrotechnics?” and this song may be the best Boston band song you've heard in a long time.
“Who are these guys?” you hear someone scream. “The sound is large! The sound is punk! The sound is rock! The sound is damn good!”
Because it’s catchier than elementary school head lice, seconds into “Catch the Blade,” you and the crowd understand and yell, “This is the song! This is the song we are all supposed to sing along so well the lead singer backs away from the mic allowing us do the talking…but we don’t know the words!” The boys finish the song and quickly hear cries of “Play it again! Play it again, but please offer us lyric sheets!” The boys quizzically look around and are surprised to see Damien hurl an army size duffle bag into the crowd containing lyric sheets for the song. The rest of Duck & Cover are once again perplexed at this strange ability. They play “Catch the Blade” again and you and the crowd sing and ya’ll sing well and loud…but Chris doesn’t back away from the mic because he’s not a douche.
The boys pause and look at each other knowing the next tune, “Way of The World” is a Cheap Trick cover. Do they play it? At once, they all shrug their shoulders and tear into it. Off stage, Robin Zander feels annoyance arise inside as this is Cheap Trick’s closing song. He rushes onto the stage to disrupt, but sees the hopping crowd. Hears the retelling of his music. He gets into it. He stage dives and lands on YOUR head!
You wonder whatever happened to Joan Jett, but quickly see her over there snarling and punch dancing to the song.
Pianka drumsticks the start of the final song, “Out Alive.” It’s the perfect end to the set. Rhythmic…forcing you to bounce back and forth as if you’re on stage in a line with Rob Halford, Glen Tipton, and KK Downing. Not the same sound, but the same rockin’-and-rollin’ together feel. The crowd pitch forks their hands together as the song winds down.
You’ve never heard such a sound, and you coin the term “stadium punk-n-roll.”
The boys unplug. You need a beer…and a breath mint –Denis Sheehan

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