with Bonehead, Stompbox, and Tree at the Earth First! Benefit at Axis
by Scott Hefflon
photo by Chris Johnson
Strolling onstage in his patented McJob shirt, Ted always reminds me of the guy offering to make your order, please, or inquiring as to what size bowling show you require. Ted was the first to recognize the excuse for this night’s star-studded show. A benefit for Earth First! – a much-needed group of direct action environmentalists who respond to the crisis of a dying planet while the rest of us cluck our tongues, sadly shake our heads, or shake our fists at “the bastids (whomever they are)” from the comfort of our cozy living rooms.
6L6 is a band that doesn’t need group shouts to make a massive vocal impact. From outta this skinny, starvation poster boy comes a bulldozing roar of a voice. This trio link dissident power jams to morphine/euphoric groove with a spoken word mumbling storytelling over it. It’s a haunting personal story delivered with a sneer and howl that blends into the next song of roaring hardcore that got the masses flailing wildly about again. While the tempo keeps the crowd swirling, there’s something unsettling about the keening vocals. Luckily, the “twenty foot Lemmy monster” returns and drags the crowd along. Pounding out the last few tunes, I finally realize the closest comparison I can come to for Ted’s voice: Nuclear Assault. It’s most obvious on the rolling “Rock Boy’ just because of the style, but a reference is needed, it’ll do. “Rock Boy’ is a great sum-it-up rant session for the too cool Apathetic Age. Their last song of the night was the crowd pleasing, “Free.” If that wasn’t a powerful enough way to end their set, then their powergroove cover of Kiss’ ‘I Stole Your Love” at least left us with a smile.