Monday, June 21, 2010

Hitmen "Tora Tora Tora"

(Shock) Though this 80s Aussie band is a Radio Birdman side project don't expect Radio Birdman brilliance. This was apparently one of the top pub bands of their era and it makes sense why: total hack pop rock. This makes John Cafferty and the Beaver Brown Band sound like prog! The best part of this reissue of  a live show (plus dozens of bonus tracks) is the audience's earnest joy, so it's hard to fault the band for hackishness, but it's also hard to listen to. Somewhat unrelated (though kinda related, because the Hitmen's reign sorta explains it) -- Australian X recently toured and I was really excited to see them, but it was quite possibly the worst show ever -- though it was so bad I actually was fascinated and enjoyed myself. As best as I could tell there was one original (guitarist/vocals) who was theoretically OK, though he kept saying he just woke up, and never looked a the audience or had any energy. But his supporting band was ridicufuckingless. The bassist was technically proficient, and his absurd showmanship was crazy hackneyed but very appreciated considering what everyone else was doing. But his bass playing was so soulless and by the book that there was nothing to really dig. But the killer was the drummer. I'm assuming he wasn't an original member because no label in the world would allow a band to release a record without replacing that drummer. The Shrimper cassette label would have made you fire the guy before dubbing 6 copies of a tape. He wasn't off beat but he just played the same boom boom chika boom boom chika beat all the time, for every song, a beat totally inappropriate to rocking punk music. Occasionally he's do a t-t-t-t-t-t- on the cymbal. It was like an 11 year old in their room thinking they were awesome while they counted off beats in their head. It was jaw-droppingly awful sounding, but I was not going to tell him that, becaue he was a bald, super muscualr Australian bruiser. The bassist was also pretty buff and rough, which led me to believe the X-survivor decided that security/back ups in a fight were more important than musicianship for this tour. Of course, the tour may have been a little bit of a letdown to them as well; only 20 people (which whittled it's way down to nine by the end of the show) stuck around to watch these "legends," but then again, this isn't a big music town. I saw them in Los Angeles. Best part were the two ten minute tuning braks the guitarist took, orchestrated by the undoubtedly tin-eared bassist fluctuating his hand up and down like Christina Aguilera singing a melisma run to "help" the sleepy dude find his note. I didn't know who to blame for this totally soulless performance until I heard this double CD, but seeing how the Hitmen set the stage for bar rock in their country it makes sense. Though I'm sure the re-formed Hitmen would be awesome live -- they at least know how to be fun hacks.

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