Naked Raygun – What Poor Gods We Do Make – Review

dvd-nakedraygun200Naked Raygun

What Poor Gods We Do Make (Riot Fest)
By Ewan Wadharmi

For those outside the Chicago area, Naked Raygun was an anomaly. We knew of their urgent style of punk that had its own unique flavor, but the locals knew the mythology. They knew that the infamous shows drew preps, punks, intellectuals, and roughnecks. They knew that beyond the pit lie the famed bone-breaking Wall Of Death. They knew of Naked Raygun-branded “Free Shit,” jar openers, fly swatters, and inflatable sharks. They knew of singer Jeff Pezzati’s pants. When Riot Fest facilitated a reunion, Raygun added to the legend. In preparation, they booked one of the small clubs they played in the early days, but translated their name (as best they could) into Ukrainian. One Internet ad later, several hundred savvy fans experienced a totally wild, face-smashing melee.

It’s unfortunate that guitarist Jeff Haggerty chose not to take part, though according to the documentary, he was asked. His replacement for the last album, Bill Stephenson (a fine axeman hissownself), did participate. Pierre Kezdy has aged, but his clattering bass is as cool as ever. Drummer Eric Spicer still has the biggest metal drum kit (and most motorbikes) in all off punkdom. This is hometown stuff, so the kids are helping out as best they can; they certainly know all the words. The fans contribute in spades to the manic energy, but I had to break out Jettison to get the sour notes out of my mouth. Pezatti strikes a surprisingly sedate figure, ranging from wandering cleric to lurking zombie. Archival photos show a greater range of motion, suggesting a possible latter-day spinal injury. Look for dozens of Raygun offspring dancing offstage and probably the greatest light show to ever grace a Raygun stage at the Riot Fest performance. Also of note, a thrilling guest appearance by Stiff Little Fingers’ Jake Burns. The interviews include Big Black’s Steve Albini, The Lawrence Arms, The Effegies, some kid that did merchandise, and other hangers-on. Several persons hint at a new album, and hint as though they have the goods.