After slugging it out in L.A.'s shithole-dive bar-club scene, the best-looking band in leather since Girlschool finally delivers its first full-length album, with one foot in the gutter and the other planted firmly in the crotches of MTV's endless battalion of carefully pierced 'n' primped Hot Topic rockers. The quartet's 1999 debut EP -- a roaring raunchfest produced by Guns N' Roses defector Duff McKagan -- presented the fearsome foursome in a frightfully accurate reproduction of their crazed-lollipop-and-power-tool-infested onstage environment. Meanwhile, Are You Man Enough? is a ferocious punch of high-octane estrogen crunch that contains enough gloss and pop polish (courtesy of producer Matt Hyde) to propel these budding rock tarts -- vocalist-bassist Bianca Butthole, guitarists Sharon Needles and Blare N. Bitch and drummer Judy Molish -- into the hearts of horndog radio programmers worldwide.
That's not to say they've perfected the art of the power ballad just yet, although they come damn close to it on "I'm Ugly and I Don't Know Why," a nasty but otherwise melancholy ode to grade-school alienation (held over from when three-fourths of the band were known as the wretched Butt Trumpet) that just begs to be crooned by Axl Rose. The nearly power-pop "No Integrity" nicely channels the Ramones and Vice Squad, "Love/Hate" is a monster chunk of melodic pop metal that Courtney Love would (and just might) kill for, and "Big Hair, Broken Heart" is a ridiculously overproduced (but insanely catchy) love letter to Lita Ford and '80s cock-rockers that rhymes "groupie whore" with "the Troubadour."
Elsewhere, the band -- led by Butthole's hellfire holler and a sleazoid sense of humor that would make Redd Foxx grin -- lets loose like a horde of sex-crazed rock 'n' roll banshees out to conquer the world. Among the album's finer fist-pumping moments are self-explanatory anthems like "I Wanna Be Your Sucker," "I Wish You'd Die," "Part-Time Hooker" and the future TRL favorite "Shut Up and Fuck" ("Some people might call me a slut / What can I say I wanna bust a nut" -- now that's a slogan waiting to be slapped onto a spring break T-shirt).
Betty Blowtorch with Nashville Pussy
Fitzgerald's, 2706 White Oak Drive
Saturday, December 15; 713-862-3838
After Miss Butthole rants "I don't want little boys, I wanna man with man-size toys" on "Size Queen," surprise studio drop-in guest Vanilla Ice (yes, Vanilla Ice!) justifies his entire laughable career by launching into the following bit of poetry: "I'm Vanilla Ice and I'll be your dream / So won't you open up your legs let me make you cream / Just like a waterfall you know I got it all / My long white dick is ten inches tall."
And you thought it was just his ego that was big.
Get the ICYMI: Today's Top Stories Newsletter Our daily newsletter delivers quick clicks to keep you in the know
Catch up on the day's news and stay informed with our daily digest of the most popular news, music, food and arts stories in Houston, delivered to your inbox Monday through Friday.