Sometime back in the early 1990s, the Holy Terrors were playing at CBGB when an earnestly keyed-up Dee Dee Ramone stuck around and told the guys he loved their music. Dee Dee's reaction seems to have been widespread among those who got to witness the Holy Terrors in the flesh — by all accounts, they were really something else, especially when playing live.
Saturday, January 10, at Churchill's was a good night to see what the fuss was all about. The Terrors reunited for one of their occasional live shows around town. And for the first time since 2000, the band's original drummer, Interpol's Sam Fogarino, joined his old mates for an extraordinary evening of raw but intense virtuosity.
The guys took to the stage around 1 a.m. while the P.A. was fittingly playing the New York Dolls classic "Trash." The substantial audience, which included local luminaries like Rat Bastard and the Postmarks' Christopher Moll, started to gather around the tiny stage anticipating that old live guitar Terrors' grind. The opener, "Mantovani," guided by Fogarino's bombastic drumming, simply rocked, and the energy just increased from there, with Dan Hosker's simmering guitar and Will Trev's ample bass making a fully realized sound collage. From the power and raw emotions of "Lisa's Last Word" to their quintessential anthem, "Shine," the Terrors made it clear that there's no nostalgia about these old songs, which sound as relevant today as they did back in 1993.
No one seemed more aware of this than frontman Rob Elba, who gleefully chatted with the audience through the set. It was refreshing to watch the usually acerbic Elba genuinely smile and, of course, tease the crowd about their true motives for showing up. "How many of you are here tonight 'cause you're Interpol fans?" Elba asked, pointing at some Interpol-looking kids standing by the front.
Happily, most of those in attendance were there for the Terrors, and by their last song, the brutally fast "Fixed," the guys left the stage with their reputations intact. Here's hoping there will be another reunion, and possibly new recordings, very soon.