Photos By Andy DelGiudice, Words By Landon Randolph
Black Cat’s Backstage is the tar at the bottom of the primordial swamp, where things claw over each other, looking for the light. It’s an apt setting for a punk show—a dark room of weird, savage monsters, covered in tattoos and spitting bile into a microphone. The together PANGEA show fit right in. The band and their openers were another entry in a fine tradition dating back to when those first hungry bacteria swallowed their neighbors whole: vicious machines, beautifully pure.
The Rememberables opened the evening. They played it hard and fast. The songs were simple, they sounded like a lot of other bands. But in garage rock, as in evolution, Keep It Simple & Don’t Knock It If It Works—and it definitely worked. Their teeth found the jugular, and they didn’t let go. They were not afraid to reimagine classic folk songs—they opened one with the chorus of “Buffalo Gals” and moved swiftly into a fast-tempoed dancefloor stomper.
“We’re Imagine Dragons,” they sneered.
“We’re REM,” they challenged—it wasn’t clear if it was an aspirational boast, or an eff-you to the idea of making it past the microbial stage.
The Sniffs played to a thinned out crowd in search of their second drink in the room next door, and the energy level had dropped a bit. “We’re called the Sniffs,” the singer says—but the universe has conspired against them: it sounds like “Smiths,” and suddenly they’re repeating the other band’s joke. They defibrillate the moribund atmosphere with a 30 second screamer, angry and inchoate. It livens up the room some, and they begin in earnest. Overall, they played a more classic sounding set—saurian punk, like the last 30 years hadn’t happened. A crocodile of a band, crawled from the fetid CBGBs toilet where it was flushed ages ago.
Mozes and the Firstborn, a band from the Netherlands, followed. Plodding, massy riffs, heard in the molars as much as the ear drums backed a frontman who sang with the desperate howl of a dog caught in a bear trap. It makes you conscious of your sins and the food slowly digesting in your small intestine. A powerful old-Testament sound, heavy on the bass and drums, making the crowd bob their heads to the commanding rhythm.
Together PANGEA attacked with the ferocity of raptors with razor wire beaks. All drums and snarls and visceral, flesh-tearing guitar riffs. The biggest and meanest conquer here in this whiskey infused petri dish, and these are ravenous beasts; furious, berserk, and after your women. They have a drummer who knows what he was doing. Drummers of that caliber separate the boys from the sharks and your heart from its chest cavity, spreading tinnitus and savagery wherever they go. He is the engine behind the whole group, whose ethos seemed to be play it loud and play it hair-trigger fast. Tribal music for dancing around a dumpster fire, as the singer shrieks “Gimme blood, gimme blood, gimme fucking blood.” They are hobos in the train-robbing business. They are impotent cocks & vindictive shame fired from an M16. They are nightmare metaphors made manifest as a bad day job and a lack of gas money, and this is the music that they make.