Posted by Pete DeMola on 23. Mar 2009
"You're not brainwashed yet," a lanky guitar-slinging white dude said to a crowd of 20-somethings, mainly Chinese, before he led his band into a blistering two-minute punk anthem at a recent Saturday night performance at D-22.
"Otherwise you wouldn't be here."
You Mei You's stamp on punk is the way it was meant to be: unpretentious, sloppy and self-effacing, replete with false starts, stage names (their drummer Chery Bomb shares vocal duties with lanky white dude Skip Lunch; Tommy Gun plays bass) and the aforementioned attempts to provoke the audience, who usually look on with a detached sense of bemusement.
Their sound, raw and stripped-down, is a throwback to the period when the Damned, U.K. Subs and the Buzzcocks were crawling out of the British Isles' rotten woodwork in the mid-1970s with two-minute microbursts of swaggering, paint-peeling aggression.
Shows are sloppy and bibulous. Highlights from the band who have labeled themselves as the Earth's Most Dangerous include "Trapped in the CRAP," a no-frills relationship anthem (we think) with lead vocals by Chery, "Mr. Suit," whose chorus implores one to "take their money and shove it up their ass," and "All Talk No Action," ninety seconds of chugging, muscular guitar riffs wrapped in Skip's faux-British sneer.
"We play music for fun -- not for money or fame -- and that's how we distinguish ourselves from any other ‘punk' bands," said Chery. "We don't package ourselves in a ‘product' that is fake -- we're the real thing."
Their self-released EP, Have Not Have, will hit the streets on Sat, March 28, at D-22, where the band is a regular fixture. It is their first since they formed in Summer 2004.
In full accordance with their anti-establishment ethos, the recording won't be disseminated through the typical channels. "Come here, and we'll give it away for free," said Skip on the release party. "As a kind of energy exchange, you do have to ask for it," Chery added.
The 3-song, 6-minute effort was recorded on the cheap with low overhead and zero record label support. "It was made with the Do It Yourself (DIY) spirit along with our friends' voluntary help," said Chery.
In other words, the essence of punk.
So if you're looking to light up a cigar, enjoy a martini and listen to "smooth jazz sounds," as Skip later said to that same crowd, you may want to go elsewhere.
Photo courtesy of Matthew Niederhauser. From left: Skip Lunch, Chery Bomb, Tommy Gun.
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