Monday, February 18, 2008
Better than: David Lee Roth’s solo vocal take on “Runnin’ with the Devil”
By RICHARD GINTOWT
Ever since the advent of Guitar Hero and Rock Band, I’ve had a horrible premonition that video games are going to seriously fuck things up for kids who want to be musicians. I’ve already heard stories of kids who rule at Guitar Hero but can’t play an actual lick to save their lives. Are we doomed to suffer another generation of crappy emo bands because kids spend all their time pushing buttons that mimic crapola My Chemical Romance riffs?
Last night, however, I glimpsed a ray of hope. They’re called Bang Camaro, and they’re a lot like Guitar Hero and Rock Band (the latter of which they appear on) with one notable exception: they shred real guitars. The band’s three lead guitarists are so good that they’re placed center stage in front of the group’s eight touring vocalists, who collectively mimic the hair-metal choir patented by Skid Row and so many other retroactively hilarious '80s bands.
The sheer spectacle of it all is reason enough to check out Bang Camaro, but the songs are pretty solid too. Anthemic choruses and Iron Maiden guitar leads abound; the lyrics are mostly sexual innuendo and “tonight is the night” declarations; the shirtless rhythm section is as tight as any in the biz. The beauty of it all is that the songs are secondary to the party – the same sort of M.O. that makes Andrew W.K. a thousand times more loveable than Velvet Revolver. The Boston, Mass., group’s exhilarating 90 minute set was probably best summed up by the following exchange:
Crowd guy: “You guys fuckin’ kick ass”
Band guy: “No, YOU kick ass!”
Bang Camaro’s records will probably have about the same shelf life as The Darkness or The Hellacopters – they’ll live fast and die young. That’s not necessarily a knock against them, however. Plenty of bands have tried in vain to capture a fraction of the rock n’ roll bombast we witnessed last night. Bang Camaro just figured out a way to do it way better – even if they can hardly afford a trip to the arcade with their share of the paychecks.
Personal bias: Couldn’t tell Mr. Big from Damn Yankees if my life depended on it.