Judging by the shows coming through town in October, Halloween came more than a week early this month. On Oct. 19, the same night that legendary punk outfit The Misfits played the Rocky Point Haunted House for its 25th anniversary celebration, The Horrorpops stopped by Salt Lake City at the Lo-Fi Cafe.
It was one of those weeknights where fanatics found them-selves torn between choosing the iconic veterans (sans Glenn Danzig) or the relatively un-known up-and-comers whose songs encompass an eerily sim-ilar combination of upbeat and zombie-themed music. While each show most likely featured equal amounts of B-movie im-agery fused with punk fury, The Horrorpops performance surely differed as the rockers mixed up traditionally anthe-mic punk with a refreshing sound best-described as Danish spookabilly.As part of a Hellcat Records showcase tour, the night kicked off with SoCal punkers Left Alone. With a mohawk-sporting singer named Elvis Cortez, the band cranked out about a half-hour or so of stan-dard four-chord punk rock. Throughout the band’s short set, the vocalist gave repeated shout-outs to his friends in Ogden, Utah as well as the typ-ical rants many out-of-staters have about 3.2 beer.
Next, the bill featured a hardcore icon, Roger Miret and The Disasters. With the major-ity of its members from the Bronx, the home of New York hardcore, the band has picked up where Miret’s former band Agnostic Front left off. The no-ticeable difference nowadays is that Miret and his new bud-dies have all but given up the breakdowns and sing-alongs from the old days. They now inject rhythm and melody to the songs off their new album, 1984. In addition to directing circle pits with interspersed Oi Oi Oi chants, The Disasters finished off the set with straightforward hardcore clas-sics including “Crucify” and “What Has Become of Me?”
By the time the Lo-Fi filled with Bettie Page look-alikes—some girls even dressed in poodle skirts—it was obvious the band was close to taking the stage. The Scandinavian crew came out flashing devil horns before jumping into some serious bass-slapping rockabilly. Much like The Cramps with a little Southern Culture on the Skids influence, The Horrorpops played song after song as vocalist Patricia Day kept her head down on the upright bass, sporting a grin hiding hints of excitement, inebriation or maybe a bit of both.
While The Horrorpops are on the road in support of Bring It On, the band continued with the same good old-fashioned rock and roll of its debut, Hell Yeah!. Maybe it stems from what the band members grew up listening to in Copenhagen, Denmark—including every-thing from Chuck Berry to AC/DC—but as they entertained every “freak” and “ghoulie” in the house, they proved that they like their rock and roll raw.
Unlike other modern rocka-billy outfits, Day never aimed to outshine her bandmates on stage. On “Freaks in Uniform,” guitarist Geoff Kresge had plenty of solo time on his hol-low-body Gretsch while “cheer-leaders” No-No and Kamilla gave the audience a hilarious psychobilly go-go revue. Even drummer Henrik Niedermeier got into the act, often stopping mid-song if he spotted some-one in the crowd who wasn’t at least bobbing his or her head to the music.
In the middle of the set, Day’s vocals often shifted from singing to growling when she would ask for “Hell Yeah!” chants between songs. The group threw in a few ballads here and there, including “Dotted with Hearts,” but generally kept the show high-energy with fan favorites like “Julia” or “Trapped.” If the audience wanted it fast, The Horrorpops were not going to take it down a notch—especial-ly with the amount of crowd participation that night.
After ending with “Kool Flattop,” The Horrorpops en-cored with Day on guitar duty and Kresge taking over on the bass. While Kresge introduced every band member, Day stood back for a minute to catch her breath, only to unleash the song that most people associate with the band, “Psycho Bitches From Hell.” After that, the Horropops jammed until the lights came on—and continued for five minutes longer—before saying good night.