Turbonegro live at El Rey Theatre, 25 May 2013

By on 29 May 2013

Where better to witness Turbonegro’s double denim extravaganza than in Los Angeles. Terrorizer’s Joshua Sindell joined the party at the El Rey Theatre…

(Pic: Raymond Mosken)

(Pic: Raymond Mosken)

Sailor’s caps, freshly pressed denim, and smeared eye-makeup on bearded men… and those are just the Turbojugend, the dedicated fanbase for tonight’s headliners. It’s through signifiers like these that the message is clear: the men of Turbonegro are in town, and young boys are either home safe in bed, or risking their mortal souls at the inevitably diabolical after-party.

First up, the openers are the fabulous, furry Tweak Bird brothers, two guys in tie-dyed shirts and a rather hippie-ish approach to stoner rock. When the duo – one on guitar, the other on drums – harmonize on high-pitched vocals, they sound like tiny Martians. Interesting and weird, but, like granola, strangely satisfying.

Yet it’s clear that these fans are here for something tougher, something rougher, and Norway’s finest droogs Turbonegro are more than eager to give it to them. New lead singer Tony Sylvester, he of the large belly and throat that once powered The Dukes Of Nothing, is a more than worthy replacement for Hank Von Helvete, and behind him the band play like the hounds of hell are on their tails.They churn out the riffs stolen from AC/DC extra fast, the half-inched riffs from The Ramones extra slow, and somehow it all sounds deafening and glorious. Newies like ‘I Got A Knife’ and ‘Mister Sister’ rub suggestively against the older songs, such as ‘Back To Dungaree High’, but such is their catalog of sick classics that when they don’t play ‘Wipe It Till It Bleeds’ or ‘Sell Your Body To The Night’, it seems as if they’re deliberately slapping their fans in the face until we admit we like it, or something.

Closing with perennial favourite ‘I Got Erection’ and ‘Final Solution’, a cover of Cleveland, Ohio’s art-punk heroes Pere Ubu, Turbonegro definitely impressed with both their sure hands and staying power. A weary audience left happy, and sought counselling in the morning.

Words: Joshua Sindell

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