Weird Live Review: Long Beach Zombie Walk 2013

sailor-zombie

BRRRRAAAAAIIIIINNNNSSS!

Okay, so we didn’t dress up as zombies for the 6th annual Long Beach Zombie Walk. Instead of brains, we feasted on bacon-and-gorgonzola sliders from the Me So Hungry food truck. But hey, we were there to document. I didn’t want to get zombie gore all over my camera phone. (Except that I kind of did anyway. More on that in a moment.)

Zombies are great and all, but we were mainly there to see the bands. Radioactive Chicken Heads, Rosemary’s Billygoat, Haunted Garage and Metalachi, all in one lineup? We’d eat our mothers’ brains with a spoon to check that out.

Sadly, we missed Radioactive Chicken Heads, which was extra frustrating because we got there during the last 15 minutes of their set and just couldn’t find the entrance. Event security staff were in full-on zombie mode, too. “How do we get in?” we  kept asking, at barricade after barricade. “Ugh,” they’d reply, pointing vaguely back in the direction we’d just come from. Who do we have to eat to get into this thing?

We finally figured it out just in time to have about an hour to kill before the next set, by Rosemary’s Billygoat. We passed the time watching a lame wrestling show, a slightly less lame burlesque act, having more event staff zombie conversations about how to buy beer (“Where do I go to get my ID checked?” “Ugh! Ugggghhhh!!”) and, of course, people zombie watching. Not everybody went full undead for the occasion, but among the ones who did, there were some pretty cool makeups. Here’s our personal favorite, the only one we saw from which people actually recoiled in horror.

gross-zombie

Incidentally, I’m glad to see he wore his earplugs. Just because you’re dead doesn’t mean you can’t take precautions again tinnitus.

Finally. Rosemary’s Billygoat took the stage, and they did not disappoint. Frontman Mike Odd is a serious showman, entering on stilts through the crowd and performing their first head-banger strapped to an electric chair.

rosemarys5Throughout their set, R’s BG pushed the prop-rock envelope. There were pizzas sliced up into pentagrams. There were hearses spun in circles through the audience. There was a flaming baby carriage for their cover of “Hell Is for Children” by that “horror queen” (as Mike Odd referred to her), Pat Benatar. There was a flaming guitar, which I failed to get a decent picture of, but I’m posting a picture of it anyway because I love that one of the spectators in the foreground is a giant brain. [Update: We have since received a great shot of the flaming guitar from none other than Mr. Mike Odd himself. Thanks, Mike!]

The show ended with what looked like Manute Bol in a werewolf costume stumbling through the crowd. It was all quite the rock ‘n’ roll spectacle.

rosemarys4rosemarys3rosemarys2rosemarys1

Mike Odd of Rosemary's Billygoat
Photo by Todd Sharp

Next up: Haunted Garage, the recently rebooted splatter-punk ensemble led by the inimitable Dukey Flyswatter, looking fetching in an apron made of human skin (note the screaming face visible near the hem) and ass-crack-revealing biker shorts. (I failed to get a decent photo of Dukey’s ass-crack. To all humanity, my humblest apologies.) Oh yeah, and those things on his face? Mousetraps. Even the guy with the super-gross zombie makeup was probably like, “Woah, dude. Hardcore.” hauntedgarage7

“This is our first Halloween show in 20 fuckin’ years!” Dukey proudly announced. They tore through a short but furious set of Haunted Garage classics, from “Welcome to Hell” and “Bitch Like You” to “Incredible Two-Headed Transplant” and “Brain in a Jar” (complete with, yes, a brain in a jar, like something you’d see at the checkout counter of a zombie convenience store). The stage show was stripped down compared to Rosemary’s Billygoat (“We’re building it back up,” Dukey promised), but what they lacked in flaming baby carriages they more than made up for with energy, intensity and spewage. Right after “Welcome to Hell,” Dukey scored a direct hit on me and several other folks in the front row with a well-sprayed mouthful of what looked like blood but which I believe was Jack Daniels, Coke and red food coloring. At least that’s what it tasted like. Yeah, he caught me mouth-breathing, that bastard. What can I say? I was slack-jawed with admiration at their horror-punk onslaught.

hauntedgarage6

The whole band tore it up, but special recognition has to go to guitarist Erik Erath, whose screaming leads took the whole band into Priest/Maiden territory. Not bad for a guy whose brains appeared to be leaking out of his forehead.

hauntedgarage5hauntedgarage4

Oh, did I mention the giant, demonic rabbit? That’s Peter Rotten Tail, who came out and danced around for a song or two. There was also a flying monkey and some go-go dancers called the Gore Gore Girls.  But Dukey was always the center of attention. That guy’s a true rock ‘n’ roll maniac.

hauntedgarage3hauntedgarage2hauntedgarage1

After Haunted Garage, we stumbled over to a whole second fenced-off area for the Zombie Walk, which isn’t really a walk anymore—more like an aimless milling about, which I suppose is more zombie-like, come to think of it. Anyway, the headliners in this smaller area were L.A.’s preeminent metal mariachi band, Metalachi. We’ve already described the awesomeness that is a Metalachi show, so I won’t give a full recap here; I’ll just note that I believe they rocked this poor gentleman’s fucking face off:

Metalachi-fanmetalachiSo thanks for an excellent evening, Long Beach Zombie Walk! And sorry we missed you, Radioactive Chicken Heads. I’m sure you were a huge hit with the undead crowd.

Advertisements

Rosemary’s Billygoat

Rosemary's Billygoat

So in perusing the music lineup for this Saturday’s Long Beach Zombie Walk, Andy and I realized that there are a lot of weird bands right in our own backyard that haven’t made it onto the Weird List yet. Clearly, we need to get out more. I blame my Xbox. Have you guys played GTA5 yet? Holy Christ. Shit’s basically gamer meth. Now what were we talking about?

Oh yeah: Weird L.A. bands, many of whom will be in Long Beach this weekend rockin’ out for a bunch of zombies. Including this week’s WBOTW, Rosemary’s Billygoat.

Rosemary’s Billygoat is a costumed comedy cock-rock four piece that’s been kicking around our City of Lost Angels since the early ’90s. And yes, I know “costumed comedy cock-rock” is way too much alliteration for a Wednesday, but that’s what the music of Rosemary’s Billygoat does to me. It’s like if you threw AC/DC and GWAR into a pentagram-shaped MMA cage and made them hurl gnarly riffs and hunks of animal flesh at each other until they conjured up a goat-headed demon army that then proceeded to devour both bands and absorb their power.

I won’t go into the full RB backstory here because a guy named Paul K. from the band Imperial Butt Wizards already nailed it. But here, because I’m a lazy bastard, is a brief excerpt:

The fledgling group went through a number of drummers, none of whom were truly capable of understanding Mike [Odd, lead singer] and Neal [Gargantua, guitarist]’s world view, until they happened upon a part-time motorcycle racer and demolition derby driver by the name of Paul Bearer. The only audition this Evil Knievel of the trap set needed was revealing that once, while working for a moving company, he had stolen a pair of Rod Stewart’s pants (they’re the tight leopard- skin ones; every once in a while, when he’s feeling generous towards the rest of humanity, Paul will wear them on stage). It turned out to be a fortuitous choice: pants aside, Paul proved to be one of the top drummers in Los Angeles, a serious student of percussion, something like Ginger Baker but with a personality.

I guess early Billygoat shows featured a big furry cross upon which Mike Odd would crucify himself, and something called a “flaming pizza of death” and possibly cross-dressing, although that last one is from Wikipedia and Wikipedia is often full of shit.

Eventually they decided to take their own name more literally and went for more of a Satanic goat horn motif. They built helmets with horns, hats with horns…even one of Neal Gargantua’s guitars has giant fucking goat horns on it. If they ever add a keyboard player to their lineup, you know they’ll have the poor bastard gluing goat horns onto his expensive Roland electric piano. Except that’ll never happen, because like any self-respecting Sabbath/AC/DC-influenced metal band knows, keyboards are for pussies.

Bonus fun fact: Lead singer Mike Odd is also the proprietor of the Rosemary’s Billygoat Odditorium, an online stop carrying such truly odd shit as coffin coffee tables and belt buckles shaped like Cthulhu. Apparently he actually had an Odditorium storefront in Hollywood for awhile, but like most cool things in Hollywood, it was forced out by gentrification and is now probably a Pinkberry’s or some shit. He also does what I believe is a children’s show called Dr. Odd’s Medicine Show. At least it’s the kind of show I’d take my children to see. Good thing I don’t have any.

Speaking of shows: Here’s a live clip of Rosemary’s Billygoat in action. Can’t wait to see these guys throw down at the Zombie Walk. It’s gonna be goat brains for everyone!

I’ll wrap up this post with “Hobbit Feet,” which as far as I know is Rosemary’s Billygoat’s latest audiovisual masterpiece. It’s a tender love ballad about how one little physical abnormality can ruin an otherwise perfectly good hot chick. Or maybe it’s about how that one unique attribute makes a hot chick all that much hotter. It’s an artistic meditation on beauty that raises more questions than it answers, is what I’m saying. And hey, there’s probably cosplay freaks dressed up like hobbits knockin’ big furry hobbit boots as I write this. Who are we to judge?

Links: