There's a smart-ass in every crowd. This time it was one of our own, the one cheeky enough to utter the remark designed to get a rise out of former Marilyn Manson guitarist Scott Putesky during the debut of his new band, Stuck on Evil, at the Poor House February 21. A bigger-than-usual midweek crowd of friends, hangers-on, and the curious came out of the woodwork to check out the fledgling four-piece, which also includes former Basketcase singer JC Reilly, ex¯Mindflower bassist Martin Davis and drummer Smoothy Jimmy Bobo. After the first song, an intriguing mix of slow, darkly malevolent swirls, said smart-ass called out for Manson's "The Beautiful People," prompting Putesky's withering stare and three pointedly short words: "Fuck. Right. Off."
Can't really blame Putesky (known as Daisy Berkowitz back in the days when Trent Reznor would rise early to cook breakfast for the whole band), who was excommunicated from Manson's carnivorous carnival back in 1996. Since he wrote much of the music heard on the first two Marilyn Manson albums, it's been somewhat of a mystery why he's chosen to wait so long to get back into the game. He even waited a bit longer to allow the crowd leaving the A Perfect Circle gig in Sunrise to trickle into the Poor House.
But now he's back, and if the Poor House gig was any indication, Stuck on Evil is taking the job seriously, and the well-practiced foursome came ready to impress. The 40-minute set laid out a smorgasbord of tasty items: We had our pick of metallic slabs of Sabbathian carnage and searing briquettes of white-hot melody fragments encased in distortion. The band became a pack of starving dogs while tearing apart the carcass of the Beatles' "I'm Only Sleeping." Then it belched out dark, slow, minor-chord dirges while Reilly used a voice synthesizer to emulate a baleful wolf.
Swaggering with a confidence rarely seen in a band playing its first-ever show, Putesky and company took a swing at Sabbath's "The Wizard" and smacked it senseless. Reilly channeled Ozzy so perfectly, he looked ready to order out for a hot bat sandwich. Reilly is a more-than-capable frontman, synthesizing a cocky blend of Mike Patton egotronics, Morrison charm and tone, and Biafraesque humor. Before, during, and after the performance, he told us to be on alert for the crews who would be shooting footage for both Where Are They Now? and Before They Were Rock Stars. Putesky likes to lie low (and to wear bug-eyed glasses), but Stuck on Evil still feels like his show. Anxious to see the next episode.
Shortly thereafter, Chicken Box proceeded to do what it does best: clear the room. But that's just fine. These are the nights when hanging at a table outside the Poor House is as sweet as a vacation in Bali.
Back in the realm of Where Are They Now? comes exDoors guitarist Robby Krieger, playing the Culture Room March 8. The composer of "Light My Fire" and "Touch Me" has taken to the road just a few months after the release of an all-star Doors tribute, Stoned Immaculate, as well as a recently unearthed cache of lost interviews and live material -- a suspicious but not terribly surprising temporal coincidence. Krieger has been releasing solo albums and making infrequent live appearances since the end of the '80s, though he's usually avoided performing Doors material.
Rather than take a chance on Cinematix, the new Krieger release he claims offers "stimulation of the visual cortex through music," you might make better use of your funds by checking him out at the Culture Room. More than half of the two-hour-plus show will be culled from the Doors vault, including "Love Her Madly," "Riders on the Storm," "The End," and "L.A. Woman."
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