The Queers – with Riverdales at the Rat – Review

The Queers

with Riverdales at the Rat
by Scott Hefflon
photo by Johnny Rosa

The show started so damn early I missed The Mr. T. Experience. The floor was packed. The air was stiflingly hot and humid. Some heavy punk rock action had transpired here. I drowned my loss in Jäger shots at the street level bar (downstairs was all ages/all water). I was introduced to Ben Foster (formerly Ben Weasel) five times. I slurred something about being a big fan. He was moved, I could tell.

Right from the “1-2-3-4,” the Ramones-style rock is written all over the Riverdales. Simple, raw, and yeah-yeah-yeah filled, Ben and the boys have duplicated that classic lobotomized sound perfectly. Right down to the tambourined hi-hat and spread-legged stances, the Riverdales are the Ramones. Ben’s gruff voice usually only graces faster punk songs, while Dan Schafer (formerly Dan Vapid) sings most of the mid-tempo boppers. On the surface, the songs are dull. They lack the slick finish of so much neo-punk. Production varnish, if you will. The Riverdales keep it simple: No excessive harmonies, no tricky time changes, and few variations in tempo, key, and beat. Yet the songs are instantly catchy and memorable. There’s, um, not much else to say about their live show ’cause they didn’t really do anything.

Local punk rock favorites The Queers kept the back to basics theme through their first few songs, but then unleashed that old mania. While much of the newer material doesn’t rock my lame ass the way their older stuff did, they still crank out energetic ditties about girls that snub them, and the bummer that it all is. While the tempo of their moron punk is up to par, it just doesn’t seem as convincing as it once was. They blast through the songs, but it seems that habit, not passion, is the driving force. Say fellas, the album’s called Moved Back Home (Lookout!), bassist B-Face is wearing a Rat t-shirt, and guess what? You are back home at the Rat! We’re the ones who bought all your fucking records in the first place. Howzabout showing a little enthusiasm? While I have loved the Queers (ahem), they didn’t seem to be putting much effort into it. Hell, the crowd was going wild, so maybe it’s just cynical ol’ me.