with Gas Huffer at Avalon
by Paul Lee
photo by Chris Johnson
“This is rock ‘n roll with culture and class,” Lux Interior divulged loudly to the cramped crowd. The masters of the punk-a-billy thang returned to Boston pushin’ their new collection of dirty and deranged ditties called Flamejob (Medicine). This was my first experience with The Cramps live and I was ready, wild, and willin’.
The always odd Lux Interior came onto the stage wearing a tight ‘n shiny plastic top, pants, and gloves. His deathly white skin and black top made him look like a character out of an Ed Wood flick. The ever-voluptuous Poison Ivy appeared in her tight black top and pants with her curly auburn mane a-flowing and her hollow-body guitar slung over her shoulder, ready to rock. Bassist Slim Chance and the astounding (ho, ho) Harry Drumdini were more background characters for these two legendary figures, but yes, they too had plastic/nylon outfits and anorexic carcasses.
Opening with “My Daddy Drives a UFO,” the Cramps cranked out their whacky tuneage. I could see mohawks, skinheads, and others slamming around up in the pit. The Cramps attracted all sorts of freaks and normal folks to their party. Down the road a bit, The Cramps cranked out that racy tune, “Bikini Girls With Machine Guns,” and really got the joint jumpin’. Lux made weird and lewd gestures while yelling, “Let’s take some drugs!” It was amazing to see Poison Ivy crank out her Duane Eddy-influenced riffing through a simple amp that looked like a Fender Twin Reverb. No stacks for this lady, she did fine with the basics.
And thus it went. The Cramps put on a show that made the crowd bop and smile maniacally. I was reminded of yesteryear when more bands were concerned with having outrageous fun rather than raging about the ills of life. With the new song “Ultra Twist,” Lux and his crew really got the pit hoppin’, doing a bizarre twisting dance himself. All were having a blast, including me, as Lux declared to the crowd, “Thank you drug-addict-hot-rod-fiends-with-culture. Thank you!”
Who cares that The Cramps have been doing the same songs with different names for 17 years? They did it well this night and they know the essence of crazy punk ‘n roll like no one else. I will always recommend a Cramps show to anyone seeking perfectly deranged bit o’ fun. Even Flamejob isn’t half bad as an album, with some definite party classics such as, “Let’s Get Fucked Up” and “How Come You Do Me.” Remember, it’s not the quality, it’s what you do with it.