The Cramps : London Astoria

...a welcome reminder of what real rock'n'roll is all about...

Before [a]The Raveonettes[/a], before [a]Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster[/a],, before every garage band around at the moment, there was [a]Cramps[/a],. sickoid B-movie obsessed pervs from Cleveland who bent weird old rockabilly and psychedelic records so far out of shape that they almost became avant-garde, these PVC-wrapped freaks are probably also one of the few bands to have played CBGB’s in 1978 and not OD’d. And, despite the fact that they’ve been doing this for 27 years and singer Lux Interior is rapidly approaching the age where he could get cheap bus tickets and money off meals in BHS’ restaurant, [a]Cramps[/a] are still one of the most fun, messed up, downright dangerous live acts in the world. This is not some kind of cosy Stones-style circle jerk: [a]Cramps[/a] have more energy than most bands a third their age. Plus, the audience is full of massive psychobilly girls with bright green quiffs and their drummer’s called Harry Drumdini. What more does anyone need?

Sensibly, they opt not to play many songs from so-so new album ‘Fiends Of Dope Island’, instead making like an alternate reality Happy Days jukebox with the voodoobilly schlock of ‘Human Fly’ and neanderthal stomp of ‘You Got Good Taste’. Then, during a totally feral, feedback-soaked version of The Count Five’s ’60s teen-frustration classic ‘Psychotic Reaction’ Lux rolls around on the floor, spanking himself and licking guitarist Ivy’s bondage boots, before putting one on his head and stumbling about breaking stuff with his pasty old man’s arse hanging out of his skintight trousers. As if this isn’t enough he then snatches Ivy’s curly red wig off her head and puts it on, kicking over the drumkit and howling like an ECT patient while climbing up on the speakers and smashing bottles. His behaviour is so deranged even the fans take a step backwards. [a]Cramps[/a] are a welcome reminder of what real rock’n’roll is all about.

Michael Lane