Fast and loud
by Charmie Gholson
When I was a kid, my friends and I listened to the likes of Heart and Pat Benatar real women who wrote and performed their own music with conviction and power. I still love to see women of power on stage. Whit Hill and the Postcards is just right when I'm fully merged with my outer forty-year-old. But sometimes the rebellious youth inside of me needs some black-eyelinered, black-leather-wearing, giant-dildo-wielding, screaming, surly, Patti Smith look-alike women singing "Too Drunk to Fuck." She needs Blammo.
It was a bizarre scene at the Heidelberg the last time I saw Blammo. An entire bandwagon of WRIF people were there, and big testosterone-pumped guys in black with SECURITY across their backs lurched around, staring down the crowd as if it were a real tough one. In reality it consisted of students, scruffy old rockers, a few hippie kids, and three fleece-wearing web designers who I supposed were there for the boobs.
A gaggle of big-boobed, skinny young girls wandered around, trying to sell Miller beer. My German friend Lucas was especially amused by this scene. "Yeah," he said, "the boobs are nice, but I don't drink Miller."
The Blammo band members have day jobs, and I suspect they're ministers or feds or something, because they insist on using aliases and wouldn't tell me what they do for a living. My friend "Boris" is their drummer. He is not a fed or a man of the cloth. He does, however, exude a mysterious Superman-like aura to me now. I know him to be a most kind, gentle man. But then he got onstage behind that kit and was transformed into a maniac.
All of the Blammo men Boris and two guitarists look like smart geeks and play like madmen. The two women singing are sisters, and Claire (the one with the dildo) also plays guitar. Her sister, Jane, has found Madonna's early wardrobe but sings and growls into
the microphone in a way Madonna never could. They play originals and classic punk songs like the aforementioned "Too Drunk to Fuck" and "Blitzkrieg Bop." It's a bit hard to understand the lyrics, but my favorite original, called "Checkout," is about shopping at Meijer.
This band is tight, probably because these musicians have known each other for decades and still practice every week. They play authentic, old-school, fast and loud punk music punctuated with sassy guitar licks and relentless drumming. Think of Blammo as a graceful tool for facing down both midlife boredom and the inevitable day we find ourselves too old, rather than too drunk, to rock.
Blammo headlines the show on Friday, May 6, during the three-night Ladylike Festival at the Elbow Room.
[Originally published in May, 2005.]