7 Shot Screamers, Twisted In Graves
Orlando, FL • Sept. 7, 2006
“Smells like hippies,” the rockabilly ruffian to my left grunts as flip-flopped youngsters file out of BackBooth to make room for the crowd for the late show. 20 years of Psychobilly starring The Quakes, 7 Shot Screamers, and Twisted In Graves has drawn out an impressive number for a Thursday night. Then again, a psychobilly show in Orlando is a pretty safe bet for a good-sized, and enthusiastic crowd any night of the week.
“The Quakes kept telling us ‘wait till we get to Florida!'” Deano Sabella, guitarist for 7 Shot Screamers tells me.
The trio of Twisted In Graves throws the night into gear with a high energy, colorful demonstration of modern psychobilly. Vocalist Mike Twisted’s unique, gritty growl and Maddog’s feverish bass slapping have secured this band a solid footing in the Central Florida scene and found them sharing bills with legends of the genre like Demented Are Go.
It is St. Louis’ 7 Shot Screamers that steal the audience’s attention for the night. After TIG left the stage, most everyone scattered to the bar, outside for air, or to the dark recesses of the club to wait for the headliners to play. I had seen 7SS before (the band, minus vocalist Mike Leahy, are Exene Cervenka’s new band, The Original Sinners), and knew better than to wander off.
The onslaught of Iggy Pop-ian performance is immediate with vocalist Leahy flailing about like a hellcat on a hot rod. Clad in his cut-off denim vest decorated with badges and a large Johnny Cash patch on back, Leahy is a quintessential frontman whose stage banter is a call for a good time. “Thursday’s a good night to be drinking… but then, every night is a good night to drink!” The band plays strong punk tinged rockabilly from their past and most recent releases, and even toss in a hopped-up cover of “Ballroom Blitz,” for the suddenly attentive audience and a costumed monster on stilts- whose presence comically startles the band.
The Quakes are celebrating 20 years of new wave Rockabilly-dom. The veteran trio (tonight a duo with 7SS’s drummer, Kevin O’Connor, sitting in) give a no-frills performance that starts off with a cover of the Cure’s “Boys Don’t Cry.” A band as influenced by the Stray Cats as Echo & the Bunnymen, The Quakes have established themselves as a band in love with rock ‘n’ roll as a whole- resisting the psychobilly pigeon hole some of their peers fall into. As frontman Paul Roman and the boys take the night into the wee hours, the audience is peppered with bandmembers from Twisted In Graves and 7 Shot Screamers who line up to support them.