Hot Snakes play their last NYC show. - Oh My Rockness

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Hot Snakes play their last NYC show.

August 4, 2005
Kevin Scanlon
Shit... shit... shit. This is the last NYC Hot Snakes show ever before the band's impending break-up (well, "ever" and "break-up" are seemingly relative these days). One of the most exciting live bands is calling it quits in the middle of their rock-me-out prime (yet Stryper still seems to be making albums... life really isn't fair). Since there is now a sense of urgency, it's everyone's duty to go to this show and see firsthand a band whose energy and tightness history shall not forget. If you don't have a ticket, sell your valuables and/or soul to procure one off of Craigslist. Seeing this show is easily worth an eternity in hell.

At the risk of falling into hyperbole, no band today inspires more kinetic energy (or potential energy? Who knows, I was sick that day in 7th grade) in the crowd than Hot Snakes. Last time they played Bowery, when the lights were turned low, the naked eye could almost make out the electric zaps shooting out from the orifices of the jaw-dropped crowd. Either Hot Snakes were riling them up, or everyone had a few too many fiber boosts from Jamba Juice before the show. The show brought back memories of my childhood trampoline (didn't really have one, creative license) as we all exuberantly jumped together in unison to their chords of power. I'm sure bar sales of Red Bull reach an all-time low when Hot Snakes play. They make that trendy taurine shit extremely antiquated.

The guys in Hot Snakes, led by Rick Froberg (Drive like Jehu) and John Reis (Jehu, Rocket from the Crypt) have been around so long and know their instruments so well that it almost looks as if they're on auto-pilot up on stage. But they're not. They aren't going through the motions or lacking interest. It's just that after all these years, they're almost automatically awesome. They can't be bothered with feigning the "it's so hard to play this" face or the "did you see what I just did" drum move. They know what to do, and do it, pretension and bullshit aside. Collectively, the complex, structured spazz of the guitar and bass, and powerfully precise percussion all work together to create a sum much greater than most any band's parts.

Hot Snakes' music is angry, it's angular, it's neurotic, and it destroys. The band bombastically rips through rapid-fire songs in which rhythm changes are fast and frequent. Their songs may have a "fuck you" vibe, but there's also a clear sense of professionalism when these guys take the stage that I admire. It'll be a shame to never be able to experience them again (but that's what people said about Dinosaur Jr, Pixies and Slint, so we aren't crying just yet). Go to this show, especially if you haven't seen Hot Snakes before. You'll be kicking yourself for not going when your kids ask you about them.

Hot Snakes play Bowery Ballroom this Tuesday, August 9th.


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