I'm confused about Counter Cosby. Are they musical geniuses or are they impaired in some way? It's hard to tell.
When I saw them perform last winter at TC's Speakeasy, they actually were impaired. They played song after furious song, interspersed with slovenly yelling and declarations of how drunk they were. Yet even with the bassist nearly falling off the stage, the band played tight, melodic, quick-stop thrash-punk-metal-jazzy funk music with surprising time changes. Drunken folks usually can't pull off this level of musicianship, and it made me wonder what they could do sober.
Let's take a walk through "Camping," a three-minute-seventeen-second song about getting pulled over by the cops-I assume during a camping trip. After a speed metal intro, they scream/sing "Oh shit. We're dead. We're fucked. We're dead. We're dead. We're dead. We're fucked." Repeat-five times, rising up the scales.
Next they describe getting pulled over and how they think they're going to get shot, and repeatedly scream, "Fuck you." Then, just as I'm thinking "I'm too old for this," they're singing in an off-key falsetto, then shifting into a funky tune. And I mean a bass-y jazz funk. It's absolutely nothing like the previous minute of speed thrash, which I must say was impressively executed: "I can't slam this forty all at once. Hey, Joel, hurry up, eat the rest of the half. I'm going to shove all this cocaine up my butt and I hope that cop don't pull a gun." After this, we return to thrash metal screaming and even more vulgar lyrics.
The rest of the show was laden with hokey singing, more announcements of how drunk the musicians were, and fantastic time stops and switches between genres. About the only thing I didn't hear was classical music and traditional Eastern Indian music. It reminded me of Frank Zappa, only cruder.
This was one of the few times I've seen a mosh pit at TC's. My friend and Observer photographer Adrian Wylie had a hilarious take on the scene: "I've been wondering what Cheech and Chong have been doing," he laughed. "Now I know."
Counter Cosby is one of the opening acts at TC's Speakeasy on Friday, October 3, and headlines a show at the Blind Pig on Thursday, October 30.
[Originally published in October, 2008.]