WBCN X-Mas Rave: Boston

This year they must have saved the shopping until late. That or they got a sweet discount on rap/rockers in bulk...

This year, for their annual X-Mas Rave, radio station WBCN has once again stuffed and stocked eight venues across Boston with some of brightest and not-so bright acts in rock radio. This year they must have saved the shopping until late. That or they got a sweet discount on rap/rockers in bulk.

First out, and wrapped in the tell-tale Adidas tracksuit, is Shifty Shellshock of the LA band Crazy Town, with some gravelly ‘raps’ and overdone riffage. Shifty may be slim and he is certainly shady, but he’s no Eminem, despite what he may promise about “Taking hip-hop to a whole new level/808 bass over twisted metal”. The kids know what they want and this isn’t it. They want the Insane Clown Posse, and they will chant “I-C-P” between each song until they get it.

Across town, there is a different type of chanting going on. The tribal
“weehhhhhhh-eh” wail of ‘Pretty When You Cry’ is sending Jon Crosby’s band Vast into an intoxicating Eastern-influenced swirl. The swirl wears itself out pretty quick though. While ‘Free’, the alternative ‘I Will Survive’, is a sing-along anthem-and-a-half, Crosby ruins it by falling into overly dramatic posturing. No matter how hard he tries, he won’t be able to make drinking water between songs look like the meaningful gesture of a tortured artist.

Oh well, if we want real calculation and cool, there’s always the Dandy Warhols. Courtney Taylor and the band, promising that “everybody’s gonna get pregnant tonight,” are positively pulsing with psychedelic sex appeal, turning on and revving up old classics ‘Be In’ and ‘Boys Better’.

On the flip side of the Dandy’s good trip are Bristol boys Sunna, who are on a rather bad one. Not only are there just a handful of people at the show, but those that are there are keeping quite a distance. Leadman Jon Harris isn’t going to make any new friends with lines like “I don’t like you and I never will.”

Sunna’s menace is all cuddles and kittens compared to the Insane Clown Posse. It’s not so much the band, who are at least getting paid to wear clown make-up in public, but the face-painted fans (“Juggalos”) that pay ICP to do it. It’s as if the Kiss Army didn’t teach their kids anything. Violent J and Shaggy 2 Dope hit the stage with the hollow thud you would expect of another rap/rock fusion. The sheer stupidity of ‘Fuck The World’, where “Fuck” is put before a series of rhyming nouns (“Fuck gold jewelers/Fuck wine coolers”) gets old quickly. Sitting through a cartooned version of every awkward fourteen year-old’s sex’n’gangsters fantasies and social hang-ups is not a good time. Unless you happen to be fourteen, in which case the show and groping others while wearing face paint is perhaps a reprieve from everyday teen awkwardness. After an ICP cover of Sly Fox’s ’80s hit ‘Lets Go All The Way’ there is hardly any point in trekking over to see Orgy do ‘Blue Monday’.

In the end, Christmas mostly sucked this year. Maybe the new year will be better.

Benjamin Wolford