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Corrosion Of Conformity, live in Hollywood

Live Review

Venue: The Roxy

Supports: Bl'ast, Brant Bjork and Low Desert Punks

Low desert punks, high desert stoners and genre defying rockers thunder through town to bring a little grit to the Sunset Strip. Here's five things we noticed...

Two wheels are better than four...

There's some sort of ticket confusion at the box office as former Kyuss drummer Brant Bjork and his Low Desert Punks take to the stage, but, still, there are worse ways to hear his music than drifting out into the warm night air, accompanied by the rumble of Harleys showing up. Bjork's smooth desert rock is the perfect backdrop, laid back grooves for the long highway, not too concerned about getting there on time so long as you look cool showing up. Nick Oliveri and Alain Johannes are chatting outside to remind us that we're in good company.

There's always that drunk guy.

This particular drunk guy happens to own Bl'ast's record company, so when frontman Clifford Dinsmore suggests that maybe he's had one too many, then asks bassist Nick Oliveri to have a word, it's a safe bet he's got past the annoying stage. Not that it's a bad thing to show some enthusiasm for Bl'ast, the resurrected Santa Cruz punk legends who now feature a rhythm section so solid it would bend nails. Seriously, Oliveri on bass and former QOTSA band-mate Joey Castillo on drums! No wonder drunk guy is over excited and keeps trying to bear hug guitarist Mike Neider.

Anger is an energy.

There's something to be said about rage on stage. All too often the old punks fake it, particularly those who have been MIA for a while and thought they'd come back and make a few quid after ten years in accounting. Bl'ast mean it, maaan! Along with Black Flag they set the template for the likes of Casey Chaos and Amen, full on and in your face, but while there are similarities in the music, the 'heavy fusion' aspect of Bl'ast leaves no sense of any Rise Above-like anthems to remember. If you're unfamiliar with the songs then you will likely remain so until you've bought one of their albums.

Sometimes too loud really is too loud

North Carolina's Corrosion Of Conformity have been through so many styles since virtually inventing 'crossover' in 1982 that it's difficult to know where to begin. Unfortunately it's also difficult, at times, to make out which song they're playing. This kind of mix might work for Bl'ast, but, with Mike Dean's vocals getting lost occasionally and not enough low end, stand out tunes like Rat City from the last album, and even the monumental Vote With A Bullet become a sludge. Admittedly it's true to the way we'd have heard Mad World and Hungry Child back in 1984, but thirty years later the sound actually matters.

The drunk guy has now gone...

Believe it or not, we're starting to miss him. Or if not him then the inebriated enthusiasm he brings. Wednesday night is a hard sell for blue collar rock music, the middle of the work week, and while COC have drawn healthy sized crowd, there's a tired vibe here, aching feet holding out for a favourite song before heading for home. COC know the score and to their credit they play to the faithful like it's Saturday night, guitarist Woody Weatherman all smiles throughout, but clearly, for some, the weighty set-list is an endurance test. Outside the row of Harleys has gone...

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