Monday, July 2, 2012

The Cramps: October 23, 2004

Rockabilly/horror proponents the Cramps made their way to Chicago's Vic Theatre just in time for Halloween. Their rarities compilation How to Make a Monster had recently dropped and I was somehow involved in giving it some ink (my feeble brain can't recall if I wrote about it or, as an editor, assigned a review to someone) so I was able to score complimentary tickets to the show. I'd always wanted to see the Cramps live, especially since a friend told me about someone breaking a liquor bottle over another person's head at a Detroit show he'd once attended. Now that's rock and roll!

As a matter of fact, that same friend was at this Chicago show, doing some tech work for the opening act, the Gore Gore Girls. And it's a good thing, too. Knowing the Cramps' image and the story about the bottle, I'm not sure what possessed me to show up in a dress and ballet flats, but I did. Here's what I wrote at the time:

"Little did I realize what being up front during a Cramps show entailed. We ended up in the heart of an old-fashioned mosh pit, the likes of which I had not seen since my teen years. We were terrified. When some middle-aged guy offered to help keep people off me, I told him, 'I'm too old for this!' He replied, 'You're too old for this? I saw them play 20 years ago!'

"Eventually [my friend from Detroit] rescued us and got us into a box above the stage, where we could watch the rest of the show in peace. From up there, I could see that the guy whose feet I'd seen sailing through the air as he bodysurfed throughout the show was not wearing pants. It was a fun show, and the Cramps played a lot of old stuff like 'Tear It Up,' 'TV Set,' 'The Way I Walk,' 'Mystery Plane,' etc."

It was a crazy but fun night, and when I heard the band's lead singer, Lux Interior, had passed away in February 2009, I was especially glad I'd had the chance to experience it.

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