Viagra Boys Storm Santa Cruz

London post-punk rockers Shame were billed as the headliners, but it was obvious the packed house came out to watch at the Catalyst last night.

Viagra Boys leader Sebastian Murphy– Bay Area born but raised in Sweden – has so many tattoos he seemed to wear an extra layer of painted leather on his shirtless body which should have restricted his movement – he mentioned he had put on a bit of weight , but the unpredictable lead singer moved across the stage and glided across the stage floor with the agility of an Eastern European trapeze artist and the attitude of a Iggy Pop.

Murphy’s mere presence instantly plunged the audience into a sea of ​​moshing, smash dancing and crowdsurfing as the outfit delivered “It Ain’t Nice” and “Just Like You” with furious, kinetic bliss.

Stockholm rockers are rude, rude and lovable. Photo: Amy C.

Post-punk is usually attributed to the band, but their music and personality are more Butthole surfers meets Captain Beefheart in a dirty port-a-potty at a county fair.

Santa Cruz was definitely behind Viagra Boys as they ripped through funky punk jams like “Punk Rock Loser”, one of the many standouts on their 2022 album. cave world.

secure document shredding

“The band’s onstage banter was surreal and humorous,” one attendee noted. This joke included a lot of talk about shrimp.

Occasionally, the theatrical singer would grab a guitar and use an empty beer bottle as an impromptu slide creating a whirlwind of dissonance that seemed to blend in seamlessly with the rest of the band – it was something he had done before.

“I thought the crowd was full of geniuses,” Murphy noted sarcastically after a fan threw a cellphone onstage.

Meanwhile, bassist Henrik Hockertwhose cueball head looks like it borrowed a page from Murphy’s tattoo manual, attacked his ax with such intensity that the walls rippled every time he hit a chord.

Bassist Henrik Höckert making parts. Photo: Amy C.

When Murphy started mimicking golf, tennis, and baseball — dude is a switch hitter — the whole room knew what was coming. “Sports” is perhaps the band’s best-known song.

The great thing about Viagra Boys is that they don’t deliver facsimiles of their records; they allow for improvisation and a lot of experimentation.

“I Feel Alive” featured an extended saxophone solo from Oskar Carls. Dressed in tight leather shorts, he stood about a mile high on one of the stage side speakers as he blew hard on that viola.

And then they were gone. The Swedes unleashed sixty nonstop minutes of chaotic harmony, and all that was left were their warm-to-the-touch instruments, several empty beer bottles and a heck of a lot of sweat.

Photo: Amy C.

The house lights flickered on as the audience chanted, “Play one more time. Play one more. After about five minutes, it was obvious they were done.

The short goodbye. Photo: Amy C.

The Viagra Boys might have us believe that they don’t care or that they take their music seriously, but this group includes some exceptional musicians – weird, yes, but talented, absolutely. On their 2021 LP Jazz Wellnessthey cover by John Prine “Despite ourselves.” It doesn’t matter whether or not they put an absurd spin on the late great country musician’s tune; the fact that the Viagra Boys are aware of Prine’s somewhat obscure song proves that they have some musical education.

They might want the audience to think they’re blowing model glue after the show, but I bet the guys get together for a sweet group reunion and go over what they could do better at their next show. Then they probably floss, brush their teeth, and get a good night’s sleep in sweaty sheets.

Comments are closed.