4 on the Floor
with Jon Cougar Concentration Camp, Pinhead Circus, Brand New Unit, and Pezz
Coney Island High, NYC • 11.3.97
Me and my partner in rock, David Lee Beowülf, are always up for a night of skull crushing punk rock, and this bill was, I think, about as punk as you can get. David and I missed Pezz because we were across the street at Dojo eating burgers and making fun of the catatonic wait staff. But we snuck in just as Brand New Unit were going on. They’re sort of your garden variety garagus punkus rawkus. Maybe I would have been more impressed if I was a 15-year-old boy, but I thought they were just OK. Up next was Pinhead Circus, and these guys really got my attention. They are truly disciples of the old school, mixing melody with lots of aggression, fast guitars and on-key screaming vocals. I love it! They did lots of songs from their record, Detailed Instructions for the Self Involved, which is great, and should be owned by any punk rock fan. My favorite song from their set has to be their cover of Night Ranger’s “Don’t Tell Me You Love Me.” Pinhead Circus kicked some serious 70’s style punk rock ass and made Green Day look like the poseurs that they are.
Between bands, Beowulf and I played this cool game he made up, where one person names two of the worst bands they can think of (examples from our actual game: Menudo and Alanis Morrisette; Deicide and The Starland Vocal Band) and the other person has to pick which of the two bands he or she would prefer to see. If you can’t chose, you get noogies or something like that. Anyway, it’s a fun game and a good way to pass time.
Finally it was time for the headliners, San Diego’s Jon Cougar Concentration Camp. You’d think this band could pack a room on the strength of their name alone, so I was surprised that there were only about 30 or so people in the non-crowd. Maybe the bad draw was due to it being a Monday, and just after a Holiday weekend. Whatever. Jon Cougar Concentration Camp are NOT TO BE MISSED when they come to your town, OK? These guys are such a perfect blend of speed metal and old school punk, that they opened their set with Mötörhead’s classic “Ace of Spades.” They also show a wild sense of fun with songs like “Idiot,” “I Wanna See Your Tattoo” and their customized version of their namesake’s “Small Town,” which finds lead singer Chris Fields pondering “I can’t understand why people even live in small towns/ You’d think they’d have the good sense to leave them.” Please remember to support these BYO bands as they represent the last bastion of non-commercial indie punk.