San Francisco Bathhouse
Friday March 23
Remember those high school days when you played in a garage band, singing rock ‘n’ roll songs about your friends and that cute girl in your class? The Hardy Ha Ha’s certainly do. At first glance, reliving your teenage years on stage probably seems a good idea. However, when your band appears to be one giant in-joke, it isn’t so much fun for the audience. However, credit is due for some catchy tunes.
Volcana were a little more accessible, approaching the same nostalgic, rockabilly material with blues bible firmly in hands. Entertaining and eminently danceable – but a band obviously in their comfort zone don’t always make for the most exciting gig.
The Users brought a slightly more haphazard feel to the night. In spite of a shaky opening, the band played with an air of confidence – obviously enjoying their reformation after a few years apart. Tongue-in-cheek theological enquiry ‘Lordy Lordy’ was terrific, as were some of their more minimally styled tunes.
Wearing their influences on their collective sleeve, The Users combine the revivalist rockabilly of The Cramps with Stooges-style punk, with additional distinct country and blues themes. Under this potent blend lie some absolutely stomping beats, true to the best rock ‘n’ roll tradition.
To complement an eclectic sound, The Users have that essential ingredient – an eccentric front man. With bizarrely patterned tie and hat framing a maniacal grin, he attacked the microphone with glee – at times rendering his lyrics unintelligible, but never without feeling.
Friday night’s show didn’t quite reinvent rock ‘n’ roll, but it certainly rediscovered it. The Users have shows coming up, and if you aren’t averse to rock ‘n’ roll with just a sprinkling of something special – I would definitely recommend checking them out.