The last time I saw Larry May on a stage was back in 1995, bleeding half to death while finishing his set with no fucks given. The man and his band were fearless. Here we are now, over two decades past. The years appear to have barely touched him -- this is a group that hasn't lost a step.
Indeed, the Candy Snatchers landed on Elevation27 last night like the missing half of Mount St. Helens, proving yet again that they are the greatest punk-rock band in the history of Hampton Roads.
While original member Matt Odietus' absence is still keenly felt due to his untimely passing back in 2008, current guitarist Johnny Yeagher (Electric Frankenstein, Ironhead, The Zodiac Panthers) is no fresh faced neophyte, holding down his end of the Snatcher's sonic barrage with style and panache. Long-time drummer Sergio Ponce brought thunder and lightning while playing double-duty in the same role for Big Bobby and the Nightcaps from behind the kit, forming a lock-tight rhythm section with bassist Goose Duncan.
I'm completely blown away by the power and fury of these songs. Current Norfolk bands should take note: There are lessons to learn here. These players are all hardcore survivors. I'd love to see these guys come out again on a bill with Demons, just as one example. It'd be great to see them play the Taphouse and throw down with the younger generation, to show them how it's done.
. . .
Somehow, I've missed Big Bobby and the Nightcaps all this time -- another group that dates back to the mid-90s. Led by front-man Rob Katherman, who held down the bottom for famed Norfolk punks, the M-80s, the band pushes out an aggressive punk-n-roll sound that the audience adored. The local scene back in the 80s/90s was incestuous as hell, with members swapping between bands left and right: All these guys have played with each other for decades and it shows in the confidence and skill displayed on stage tonight. I have no idea how I haven't heard this band play before, but I plan to make up for lost time by visiting their discography. Suffice it to say that if you have the opportunity, you should run-not-walk to any bill with them on it.
The Nerve Scheme, a Hampton punk trio that has been kicking out the jams since '07, provided the opening set. This is a high energy group that would be worth the price of admission just to watch their drummer slay in the back. They've put out at least two albums that I know of through Jailhouse Records, which tragically went under this past summer. Not sure where they've landed since or if they're just going on their own, now -- but I've caught rumors that they're back in the studio working hard on a new release. I'll keep an ear to the ground and let you know what I hear.
Nothing but good stuff from Elevation27 so far. Their security team was top-notch tonight as well, showing great patience with the old punks in the room. Kudos to them and the rest of the staff!
P.S.: I shot a couple of rolls of film as well for this -- I'll post those up when I get out of the darkroom.
The Candy Snatchers
Virginia Beach. Punk.
Big Bobby and the Nightcaps
Norfolk. Garage-Punk / Rockabilly.
The Nerve Scheme