Nekromantix, The Howlers, The Mutilators The Warsaw July 13, 2010
Last time Aftermath visited the Warsaw for its (not so) grand opening, the turnout was terrible. This time around, we were pleasantly surprised to see that some Houstonians actually showed up. The place was packed with psychobilly and punk fans who didn't try to hide their excitement, and it was a bit contagious; the lack of air conditioning didn't even get to us this time.
As far as Aftermath could tell, this was both the perfect concert for a Tuesday night - great for spicing up an otherwise dull work week - as well as a chance for the Warsaw to see some exposure. And if it keeps booking punk/rockabilly-esque groups, the place could see a serious boost in business from a group of fans who aren't too well-represented in Houston.
When we entered the Warsaw, we were greeted by an oversized baby onstage wearing a bloody diaper and bonnet, two surgeons in jumpsuits with a bloody guitar and a bloody cello and a drummer whose drums were covered with (can you guess it?) blood.
Hi, The Mutilators. Nice to meet you. We're Aftermath, and you just made us smile.
The group's attire must be a big selling point for live shows, but the music didn't disappoint either. Part of what made the Mutilators fun was the band's attitude, which could be surmised from the way they dressed.
They made a point to poke fun at themselves and remind listeners that psychobilly isn't a religion and doesn't have to be taken so seriously all the time. As The Mutilators enjoyed themselves onstage, the fans followed suit and let loose. We even saw one couple swing dancing... in leather pants, no less.
Next, The Howlers put on a strong performance, continuing The Mutilators' feel-good, silly, upbeat set. Their music was fitting with the rest of the bands performing, but the group's vocals incorporated screaming more than any of the others.
The moshers flocked together, having been patiently waiting through The Mutilators' set, and wreaked just enough havoc to get some attention. We saw someone's beer fly into the air, and just as we wondered in which direction it might be spinning, we got a few drops to the face. Yum. And free, too.
"The punk rock scene in Houston isn't what it used to be," one woman said to us after asking for a cigarette and telling us how much she was enjoying the show. "But it's nice, because the shows are never packed."
It's true; while more than enough people showed up to see the bands' performances, Aftermath never had trouble getting back and forth between the bathroom, the patio and the front of the stage. It was a happy medium, and we assume the turnout was good, especially on a weeknight.
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By the time Nekromantix finally took the stage a little before 11, Aftermath realized that we weren't going to have much luck taking pictures. There were hardly any gaps between people, so we couldn't creep up closer to the stage. And Nekromantix struck the crowd the way The Mutilators and the Howlers did combined.
People began to swing-mosh dance. Not really, but it was something similar if you can imagine it. And if we knew how to dance, we would have joined in. But since it's an unknown activity for us, we stuck to what we know best: Double-fisting.
Aftermath's never been too familiar with the genre of music, but we've always enjoyed it. It seems to have an air of 1950s swing dancing, coupled with fast bass and dark (but not always morbid) lyrics. Truthfully, if nothing else, it's just a lot of fun to hear this kind of music and see these kinds of shows.
It may not be your cup of tea when commuting to and from work on Monday through Friday, but if you get a chance, check it out.