Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Cribshitter/Shanghai Party Boss; May 30, 2008; High Noon Saloon

A few months ago at a High Noon happy hour, Karl asked me what he would have to do to get me to review a Cribshitter show. “Change the name,” I responded immediately. I was serious, but he just smiled. I went home and I listened to their MySpace stuff. While it was pretty raw, it was just off beat enough to lure me in. And let’s be honest, Karl is adorable enough that I will go see any band he is in, even if it is only once.

“It’s a thin line between clever and stupid,” lead guitarist Nigel Tuffnel postulated in the cult-classic Spinal Tap. No one knows that better than Cribshitter. They straddle that line, occasionally falling awkwardly off one side or the other. “Hot Sauce in My Pussy” is about as far on the stupid side as one could reach, while “War Torn Vaginer,” even as it was sweetly sung by tuba player Danika, landed only slightly inside that mark. She was also the vocalist responsible for the most straight-ahead and melodic of their tunes, “I Love How He Loves Me,” (which she sang wearing a surgical mask she acquired during a trip to Urgent Care earlier in the day). The cover of Tom Petty’s “Yer so Bad,” definitely clever, as was whatever that Cher thing was all about. Having a tuba in the band, definitely clever; it’s a creative and interesting touch, and way cooler than having two bass players.

It’s hard to keep track of what exactly is going on at a Cribshitter show. Was that tune only thirty seconds long on purpose? Was every band member actually playing the same song as the others? Are those bursts of noise, gone before you can even figure out who, where or why, annoying or brilliant? It all depends on who you ask. Karl told me that one fan told him he enjoys Cribshitter shows for the same reason he enjoys NASCAR, for the crashes of course. While my friend found it offensive, I was strangely entertained by the whole thing, perhaps there is something to that NASCAR theory.

On another night the rants about how “Jared is Different Around Girls” and how “We Fucking Suck” might have annoyed me as well. Tonight I just grinned and didn’t take any of it the least bit seriously, which I am pretty sure is exactly what the band is doing. In fact, my only real complaint is that the Power Point presentation which accompanied their set was difficult to make out against the red curtain. Since there is a screen on stage I had to wonder why they didn’t use it. Then again, that wasn’t all I wondered about.

Openers Shanghai Party Boss were an entertaining beginning to the night. Cribshitter’s bass player dubbed them “The bastard sons of David Byrne,” and that pretty much sums it up. Catchy, danceable, high energy, punching bags, what else ya want? As it turns out, nothing.

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